German Conductor's Award 2021

18 - 23 October

From October 18 to 23, Cologne will once again host the international competition Deutscher Dirigentenpreis, or German Conductors’ Award. It is organized by the German Music Council in partnership with the Cologne Philharmonie, the Cologne Opera, the Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne and the WDR Symphony Orchestra. Both the opera and concert genres are the focus of the award, which thereby encourages its candidates to work across genres. The competition offers its candidates two outstanding ensembles, the Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne and the WDR Symphony Orchestra, an excellent ensemble of singers from the Cologne Opera, and a first-rate concert hall, the Philharmonie. Its cash prizes and further incentives make the German Conductors’ Award one of the most lucrative awards for conductors in Europe.

Twelve candidates have qualified for this year’s competition, held from October 18 to 23, 2021: Hangyul Chung (South Korea), Martijn Dendievel (Belgium), Barbara Dragan (Poland), Valentin Egel (Germany), Aivis Greters (Latvia), Oren Gross-Thaler (Israel), Paul Marsovszky (Germany), Abner Padrino (Venezuela), Yifan Sun (China), José Ángel Salazar-Marín (Venezuela), Gabriel Venzago (Germany) and Hankyeol Yoon (South Korea).

The following prizes will be awarded: First Prize: 15.000 € sponsored by the City of Cologne and others, Second Prize: 10.000 €, Third Prize: 5.000 € and Audience Prize: 1.000 €. Concerts, assistant positions and productions with numerous orchestra and opera houses are also associated with the various prizes.

This year’s jury includes the following members:
•    Markus Stenz (conductor, jury chairman)
•    Marc Albrecht (conductor)
•    Martin Griebl (principal trumpet, WDR Symphony Orchestra)
•    Prof. Dr. Hartmut Haenchen (conductor)
•    Torsten Janicke (principal concertmaster, Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne)
•    Louwrens Langevoort (artistic director of Cologne’s Philharmonie, managing director of KölnMusik GmbH)
•    Cristian Măcelaru (chief conductor, WDR Symphony Orchestra)
•    Dr. Birgit Meyer (artistic director, Cologne Opera)
•    Nora Pötter-Grabko (managing director, artist agency Dr. Raab & Dr. Böhm)
•    Kristiina Poska (conductor)
•    Lucas Singer (bass, ensemble member at the Cologne Opera)

»I am particularly honoured to take on the chairmanship of this renowned jury as part of the German Conductors’ Award,« says the jury chairman and former Gürzenich Kapellmeister Markus Stenz. »This international competition is distinguished by the fact that the participants have two top orchestras and an outstanding ensemble of singers to work and perform with on the wonderful stage of the Philharmonie in Cologne. These are unique conditions and a great opportunity for each participant.«


The German Conductors‘ Award is supported financially by the City of Cologne, the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Federal Commissioner for Culture and Media.

Cooperating Partners

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