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Eight Semi-finalists announced for the
2nd Hong Kong International Conducting Competition

For immediate release
22 Mar 2023

Organised by Hong Kong Sinfonietta, the 2nd Hong Kong International Conducting Competition saw its Round 1 take place successfully on 22 Mar (Wed) at Hong Kong City Hall Concert Hall, where the 16 shortlisted Candidates conducted works by Stravinsky, Beethoven and Mozart. The Competition was pleased to announce on the same day the eight outstanding Candidates who have advanced to Round 2 (Semi-finals), which will take place over two days on 23 & 24 Mar (Thu & Fri). The Semi-finalists are: Rodolfo Barráez (Venezuela, 29), Linhan Cui (China, 28), Nathaniel Efthimiou (USA/Finland, 30), Roc Fargas (Spain, 26), Taichi Fukumura (USA/Japan, 30), Edmon Levon (Spain, 34), Mikhail Mering (Israel, 31) and Yao-Yu Wu (Taiwan, 33).

On Day 1 (23 Mar) of Round 2, the Semi-finalists will conduct in the morning the first movement of Sibelius’ well-loved Violin Concerto in D minor, featuring Hong Kong star violinist Fan Hiu-sing. In the afternoon, they will conduct Johann Strauss Jr’s effervescent Die Fledermaus Overture. On Day 2 (24 Mar), they will be tackling a symphony by Beethoven, Brahms or Tchaikovsky.

Every round of the Competition is livestreamed online for free at www.hkconducting.com/live. Tickets to watch the Competition live at Hong Kong City Hall Concert Hall are also available at URBTIX. Voting for the two Audience Prizes (Live & Online audience) have already begun – live audiences can vote in person at the Concert Hall, while online audiences are encouraged to vote at www.hkconducting.com/vote.

The 2nd Hong Kong International Conducting Competition provides an invaluable platform for young conductors under the age of 35 to establish a network in Asia. The 1st Prize winner of the Competition will take home HK$200,000 as well as a concert engagement with Hong Kong Sinfonietta, and mentorship opportunities with selected members of the Jury. The Jury is made up of esteemed international conductors and people shaping the music business today, including Co-chairs Yip Wing-sie (Music Director Emeritus, Hong Kong Sinfonietta) and Christoph Poppen (Music Director Designate, Hong Kong Sinfonietta), as well as members Lü Shao-Chia (Conductor Emeritus, Taiwan Philharmonic), Thierry d’Argoubet (Former General Manager, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse), Philipp Ernst (Artistic Planning & Deputy Managing Director, Munich Chamber Orchestra – Münchener Kammerorchester), Xenia Groh-Hu (Managing Director, karsten witt musik management), James Cuddeford and Laurent Perrin (Concertmaster and Assistant Principal Cello of Hong Kong Sinfonietta respectively).


More details on the Candidates: https://www.hkconducting.com/competition/2023-competition/#candidates
Online livestream: www.hkconducting.com/live
Online voting: www.hkconducting.com/vote
Competition website: www.hkconducting.com



Six prizes will be awarded at the 2nd Hong Kong International Conducting Competition:

1st Prize: HK$200,000
                      Concert engagement with Hong Kong Sinfonietta during 2023/2024 season
                      Mentorship with conductor(s) from the Jury

2nd Prize: HK$100,000

3rd Prize: HK$70,000

Orchestra Prize: HK$10,000

Audience Prizes: HK$10,000 each for Live & Online Audiences



Round 1 (a maximum of 16 candidates)

  1. Stravinsky – Concerto in D for String Orchestra: 1st movement
  2. One of the following works, determined by a draw:
    • Beethoven – Leonore Overture No 3, Op 72b
    • Mozart – Symphony No 39 in E-flat, K543: 1st movement

Round 2 – Semi-Finals (a maximum of 8 candidates)

  1. Sibelius – Violin Concerto in D minor, Op 47: 1st movement (Violin: Fan Hiu-sing)
  2. Johann Strauss Jr – Die Fledermaus Overture
  3. One of the following symphonies, determined by a draw:
    • Beethoven – Symphony No 3 in E-flat, Op 55, “Eroica”
    • Brahms – Symphony No 1 in C minor, Op 68
    • Tchaikovsky – Symphony No 6 in B minor, Op 74, “Pathétique”

Round 3 – Finals (a maximum of 3 finalists)

  1. Charles Kwong (HKS Artist Associate 2020-2022) – Infinity in the palm for Orchestra
    (world première; commissioned by Hong Kong Sinfonietta)
  2. One of the following works, chosen by the candidate:
    • Beethoven – Symphony No 4 in B-flat, Op 60
    • Mendelssohn – Symphony No 4 in A, Op 90, “Italian”
    • Schumann – Symphony No 4 in D minor, Op 120
  3. The finalists will also be invited to make a short presentation to the audience


Brief biographies of the Semi-finalists

  • Rodolfo BARRÁEZ (Venezuela, 29)
    • Associate Conductor, Singapore Symphony Orchestra
    • Dudamel Conducting Fellow 2022/2023, Los Angeles Philharmonic
    • 2nd Prize, Siemens-Hallé International Conductors Competition 2020
    • 1st Prize, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México International Conducting Competition 2018
    • Conducting Fellow, Verbier Festival 2022
  • Linhan CUI (China, 28)
    • Dudamel Conducting Fellow 2022/2023, Los Angeles Philharmonic
    • 2nd Prize, Malko International Conducting Competition 2021
    • 3rd Prize, KSO Conducting Competition 2021
    • Conducting Fellow 2019/2020, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
  • Nathaniel EFTHIMIOU (USA/Finland, 30)
    • Assistant Conductor, Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra
    • Assistant Professor of Music, Berklee College of Music
    • Founding Music Director, Orchestra Contempo
    • Two-time recipient of the Solti Foundation US Career Assistance Award (2021 & 2022)
    • James Conlon Conducting Prize, Aspen Music Festival and School 2016
  • Roc FARGAS (Spain, 26)
    • Assisted Mark Elder, Gianandrea Noseda, Jac van Steen, Ludovic Morlot, Edward Gardner, Robert Treviño, John Wilson, Laurence Cummings, Juanjo Mena etc
    • Conducted the Jenaer Philharmonie, Thüringen Philharmonie, Staatskapelle Weimar, Hradec Králové Philharmonic, Cardiff Sinfonietta, Sofia Philharmonic, Orquestra Vigo 430 etc
    • Enlightenment Full Scholarship, Royal Academy of Music (2018)
    • Studied Music at Cambridge University and holds a Masters in Historical Performance at the Royal Academy of Music
  • Taichi FUKUMURA (USA/Japan, 30)
    • Assistant Conductor, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra
    • Two-time recipient of the Solti Foundation US Career Assistance Award (2021 & 2022)
    • Assistant Conductor & Freeman Conducting Fellow, Chicago Sinfonietta (2019-2022)
    • Selected by the Berlin Philharmonic as one of the 10 Assistant Conductor Candidates
  • Edmon LEVON (Spain, 34)
    • Principal Conductor, Ceuta International Symphony Orchestra
    • Principal Conductor, Granada Youth Symphony Orchestra
    • 3rd Prize, International Conducting Competition “Llíria City of Music” 2021
    • Semi-finalist, International Conductors’ Competition Sir Georg Solti & Antal Doráti International Conducting Competition
  • Mikhail MERING (Israel, 31)
    • Conductor, Bolshoi Theatre Chamber Orchestra & Bolshoi Theatre Wind Scene Orchestra
    • Semi-finalist, Tokyo International Music Competition for Conducting 2021
    • Assistant Conductor, Kostroma Symphony Orchestra (2014/2015)
    • Clarinettist, Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra
  • Yao-Yu WU (Taiwan, 33)
    • Associate Conductor, Taiwan Philharmonic
    • Music Director, Taipei Philharmonic Youth Orchestra
    • 1st Prize, Orchestra Award & Audience Award, Besançon International Conducting Competition for Young Conductors 2013
    • Conducted the St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, Orchester National des Pays de la Loire, Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lorraine, Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine, National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra etc
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Amanda Mok
Senior Marketing & Development Manager, Hong Kong Sinfonietta
Email: amanda.mok@hksinfonietta.org
Direct Line: +852 3607 2328