November 3-9, 2008
The 4th International Conductors’ Competition Sir Georg Solti has a winner: the 32 year old American Shizuo Kuwahara picked up first prize. Eugene Tzigane (26, also from the USA) received second prize, and Andreas Hotz (27) from Germany came in third place. He was the first German candidate to reach the final round of the International Conductors’ Competition Sir Georg Solti. In 2006 Shizuo took second place in the Solti Competition.
The public finale concert in Frankfurt’s Alter Oper saw three finalists at the conductor’s stand of the hr Symphony Orchestra performing the following works (selected by drawing lots): Gioacchino Rossini’s “William Tell” overture (Andreas Hotz), Carl Maria von Weber’s “Oberon” overture (Shizuo Kuwahara) and Giuseppe Verdi’s “The Force of Destiny” overture (Eugene Tzigane). Then all three candidates each had to conduct Igor Stravinsky’s “Firebird Suite” (from No. 4 to the end).
After a short break to discuss the winner, the jury chairman Rolf-E. Breuer announced the decision, unanimously agreed by the members of the jury after evaluating the two rehearsal days, Friday and Saturday, and the public finale today, Sunday. To conclude the morning’s thrilling events there was a performance of Michael Glinka’s “Ruslan and Ludmilla”, conducted by Shizuo Kuwahara, the first prize winner.
The members of the jury for the final round, as chaired by Rolf-E. Breuer, were: Lady Valerie Solti (Patroness of the Competition and widow of the legendary conductor Sir Georg Solti), Ulrich Edelmann (First Concertmaster of the hr Symphony Orchestra), Zdenek Mácal (Head Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic), Andreas Mölich-Zebhauser (Director of the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden), Matthias Pintscher (composer and conductor), Sebastian Weigle (General Music Director for the City of Frankfurt am Main, Head Conductor of the Frankfurt Museum Orchestra) and Lothar Zagrosek (Head Conductor of the Konzerthaus Orchestra in Berlin).
540 young conductors aged 19 to 35, from 70 countries applied to participate in this year’s competition. 24 of them were invited to perform in Frankfurt with the Museum Orchestra (from November 3 to November 6 in the orchestra’s rehearsal room in Frankfurt’s Opera) and 3 finalists were selected from the group.
1st Prize Winner: Shizuo Kuwahara
The audience in Frankfurt will still remember Shizuo Kuwahara well as the second prize winner of the last Solti Competition. Since then he (32) has been invited to be a guest conductor by numerous orchestras, such as the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie (German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra) as well as the Polish Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra, which he conducted at the Weilburger Schloss concerts. He received his training at Yale University and the Eastman School of Music, where he graduated with distinction. His first positions were as Associate Conductor of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and the Philadelphia Orchestra under Christoph Eschenbach, before he was appointed Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the IPPO Philharmonic in Tokyo.
2nd Prize Winner: Eugene Tzigane
The 26 year old has already won second prize at the 4th International Lovro von Matacic Competition and first prize at the 8th Gregorz Fitelberg Competition in Katowice. Currently, he is Alan Gilbert’s assistant at the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic. The young American received his training at the Julliard School and New York University as well as the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. He has studied under Jorma Panula and David Zinman, and he has already conducted numerous orchestras, including the Cracow and Zagreb Philharmonics as well as the Orquesta Sinfónica de Chile.
3rd Prize Winner: Andreas Hotz
After his initial musical training at Dr. Hoch’schen Konservatorium, the 27-year old from Hesse completed several courses of studies at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst (College of Music and Performing Arts) in Frankfurt am Main. Piano, correpetition and organ studies were followed by conducting studies with Wojciech Rajski, which Andreas Hotz completed with distinction. He has attended master courses, for example, with Pierre Boulez, Kurt Masur, Marc Albrecht and Reinhard Goebel, and was awarded several scholarships, including from the Dirigentenforum des Deutschen Musikrats (Conductors’ Forum of the German Council for Music) and the Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes (German National Academic Foundation). Since 2005 Andreas Hotz has held a lectureship in orchestral conducting at the College of Music and Performing Arts in Frankfurt, and for the last two years he has also acted as the Deputy Music Director (Erster koordinierter Kapellmeister) at the Pfalztheater in Kaiserslautern. In terms of symphonies, he recently conducted the Nuremburg Symphony Orchestra and the Hofkapelle (Court Orchestra) of Meiningen.