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Lady Valerie Solti

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Frankfurter Opern- und Museumsorchester

Frankfurt Radio Symphony
3 rd  International  
Conductors’ Competition
Sir Georg Solti 2006

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 to participate.


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 year.

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.


3rd Prize
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 Symphony Orchestra.

2nd Prize
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.

1st Prize
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 Symphoniker.

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