12 BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE Thefullscore Our pick of the month’s news, views and interviews Hallé launches competition to find baton talent Manchester-based orchestra searches for its next assistant conductor From Sir Charles ★allé himself in the 19th century to Sir Mark Elder in the present day, and including the likes ★ans Richter, John Barbirolli and Stanislaw Skrowaczewski along the way, the ★allé orchestra has enjoyed its fair share of great conductors over the years. And now, for the first time ever, the Manchester-based ensemble is holding a competition to discover its next brilliant young maestro. Taking place over three days in February 2020, the Siemens ★allé International Conductors Competition will put young baton wielders through their paces in a series of tests. The prize is a substantial one – a two-year appointment as assistant conductor to Sir Mark that, as well as extensive rehearsal duties, will include Secret’s out: Mark Elder keeps mum; (right and below) former Hallé assistants Ewa Strusin´ska and Edward Gardner performing with the orchestra in at least five concerts per year. As Elder himself has previously told BBC Music Magazine, the role is all about ‘being part of the nuts and bolts of running an orchestra’. Elder will, unsurprisingly, be one of the panel of judges of the competition which, intriguingly, will break new ground by including a ‘digital challenge’ to keep competitors who reach the semi-final stage on their toes. Though exact details of the challenge have yet to be revealed, it will, we are told, involve ‘a task that integrates motion technology into the conducting process. The exercise will test how each candidate adapts to unusual situations, and the technology developed will have lasting benefits for the ★allé’s education and outreach initiatives.’ Sir Mark Elder, who has been the ★allé’s music director since 2000, took on his first assistant conductor in 2002 and the post has proved a significant leg-up to the big time for a number of those who have filled it. Among them is Edward Gardner, who went on to become music director of English National Opera (2007-15) and principal conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic (2015 – present) and, in September 2011, conducted the Last Night of the Proms. Other former assistants now enjoying the limelight include Ewa Strusi ska and Andrew Gourlay, while the position is currently held by Jonathon ★eyward. As well as the appointment, the winner of the competition will receive £15,000, while two runners-up will take home £3,000 and £2,000 respectively.
© PressReader. All rights reserved.