September 4-10, 2006
For the first time, the entire competition - preliminary
rounds and finale - was held throughout one single week
in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. This has been made possible
by the newly agreed cooperation with Hessischer Rundfunk,
whose Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, together with
the Frankfurter Museumsorchester, will be participating
in the rounds of the competition. The two renowned Frankfurt
orchestras will alternate in playing in the preliminary
and end rounds: this year, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony
will handle the preliminary decision and the Museumsorchester
will participate in the final rounds. In 2008, the Museumsorchester
will take the preliminary rounds, the Frankfurt Radio
Symphony the finale. With this orchestral support, the
Georg Solti Conductors’ Competition is the only
one of its kind in the world.
Also new this year: there were no application fees,
and the invited candidates did not have to pay any costs
for accommodations, but only their travel expenses.
As a result, thanks to the generous support form the
Deutsche Bank Foundation, young conductors from financially
disadvantaged regions and backgrounds were also able
With more than 500 applications from 72 countries
around the world, the competition strengthened its position
as an institution in the international classical music
scene. The youngest applicant this time around was 19
and the oldest 35. Most of the applications came from
the US (61), followed by Russia (41), Germany (38),
Japan (36) and Korea (31). The number of women has risen
compared to 2004 by 10, to 32 female applicants this
24 candidates from 14 countries were selected to be
invited to the competition based on the documents received.
The first two days, each of them conducted the Frankfurt
Radio Symphony for half an hour in the Great Broadcasting
Hall of Hessischer Rundfunk. 10 of them were chosen
for the second round, in which they had 45 minutes to
work with the orchestra.
The jury of the preliminary rounds chose the three
candidates fort he final: the Australian Matthew Coorey
(32), the US citizen Shizuo Kuwahara (30), and 31-years-old
Korean Shi-Yeon Sung had three rehearsals and the public
final concert in the Alte Oper to convince the jury.
The following works had to be prepared: The Miraculous
Mandarin by Béla Bartók (Matthew Coorey),
Death and Transfiguration by Richard Strauss (Shizuo
Kuwahara) and Peter Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet
(Shi-Yeon Sung). To form the jury’s opinion, the
rehearsals were as important as the concert.
The Jury did not need much time to decide: Winner
of the 1st prize was Shi-Yeon Sung. 2nd prize goes to
Shizuo Kuwahara; Matthew Coorey has been awarded 3rd
prize. For the very first time, the competition was
won by a woman.
The jury for the final rounds was chaired by Dr. Rolf-E.
Breuer and comprised the following members: Lady Valerie
Solti, Paolo Carignani (General Music Director of the
Frankfurt Opera), Paavo Järvi (designated Music
Director of the hr-Sinfonieorchester, Music Director
of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Artistic Director
of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen), Peter Ruzicka
(Director of the Salzburg Festival, Artistic Director
of the Munich Biennale, composer and conductor), Ulrich
Edelmann (Concertmaster of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony)
and Wolfgang Sandner (music critic with the Frankfurter
Allgemeine Zeitung and Professor at Frankfurt College
of Music and Performing Arts).
For the third time, the Deutsche Bank Foundation,
through its generous financial commitment, has made
the competition possible. The Foundation is continuing
its support and partnership as the principal sponsor.
Furthermore, it will again be providing the prize money.
Matthew Coorey, born 1974 in Sydney, presently
is Conductor in Residence with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic
Orchestra. In 1999, after only 6 months of studying,
he became fellow in Tanglewood with Maestro Seiji Ozawa.
He also worked with renowned conductors like André
Previn, Jorma Panula, Edo de Waart, Peter Eötvös,
Ton Koopman and Lorin Maazel. Matthew Coorey, currently
living in England, worked with many well-known Symphony
Orchestras like the ones from Sydney, Melbourne and
Moscow. Recently, he gave his debut with the London
Mozart Players, the Hallé Orchestra and the Seattle
Young American conductor Shizuo Kuwahara was
born in Tokyo in 1976. He studied at Yale University
and at the Eastman School of Music, where he was awarded
with several prizes, and finished his studies with famous
conductors like David Zinman and Leonard Slatkin. At
present, Shizuo Kuwahara is assistant to Christoph Eschenbach
with the Philadelphia Orchestra as a fellow of the American
Symphony Orchestra League. Moreover, he was named Assistant
Conductor of the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo and
Music Director of the IPPO Philharmonic.
31-years-old Korean Shi-Yeon Sung started her
musical career at the age of 4 with piano lessons and
gave her first recital 9 years later. In 2001, she began
to study conducting at Hanns Eisler School of Music
in Berlin, where she premiered Mozart’s Magic
Flute only one year later. As an assistant, she worked
at the opera houses of Görlitz and Potsdam, both
in Germany. In January, 2004, Shi-Yeon Sung became fellow
of the conducting programme of the German Council for
Music and won the 3rd Solingen Conducting Competition
for women in the same year. The Berlin-based young conductor
worked with several German orchestras, including the
Berliner Sinfonie-Orchester, the Berliner and the Nürnberger