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Julio G. Vico wins the German Conductors’ Award of 2019

On 18th October 2019, the jury reached a decision in the final concert of the German Conductors’ Award (DDP), in the Cologne Philharmonic Hall: Julio García Vico (*1992, Spain) has won the German Conductors’ Award of 2019!

The award is endowed with a prize money of EUR 15,000 and was donated by the City of Cologne (EUR 10,000) and the private Cologne-based benefactors Sybil and Kaspar Kraemer, as well as Kit and Dr. Klaus Piehler. Among the 12 candidates from all over the world, Gábor Hontvári (*1993, Hungary) and Chloé van Soeterstède (*1988, France) managed to enter the final round of concerts.
Gábor Hontvári won the Second Prize, which is endowed with EUR 10,000 and was donated by the Ernsting Foundation Alter Hof Herding. The Third Prize, endowed with EUR 5,000, went to Chloé van Soeterstède, donated by the International Kurt Masur Institute.

There was also the Bärenreiter Special Prize, awarded for the best interpretation of a work composed in the 20th/21st century, endowed with EUR 500: it went to Chloé van Soeterstède. In the Second Round, she convinced at the conductor’s desk of the Symphonic Orchestra of the WDR with Anton von Webern’s “Six pieces for orchestra”, op. 6, and with Rebecca Saunders‘s “Traces”.

The Oscar and Vera Ritter Foundation donated the Audience’s Prize, endowed with EUR 2,500, which went also to Julio García Vico. Furthermore, the Friends of the Opera in Bonn donated a prize in the form of a salary grant of EUR 1,000 for an engagement with the Opera in Bonn. This prize went to Julio García Vico, too.

Among the orchestras and opera houses that have already promised to engage a prize winner are the Beethoven Orchestra in Bonn, the Gürzenich-Orchestra of Cologne, the Hof Symphonic Orchestra, the Munich Symphonic Orchestra, the Nuremberg Symphonic Orchestra, the Cologne Opera, the German State Philharmonic Orchestra of Rhineland-Palatinate and the Symphonic Orchestra of the WDR.
The German Conductors' Award (DDP) is an international competition for young conductors organised by the German Music Council (Deutscher Musikrat) in partnership with the Cologne Philharmonic Orchestra (Kölner Philharmonie), the Cologne Opera (Oper Köln), the Gürzenich Orchestra of Cologne (Gürzenich-Orchester Köln) and the Symphonic Orchestra of broadcasting station WDR (WDR Sinfonieorchester). From 11th to 18th October 2019, it has been held for the second time in Cologne. The prestigious award goes back to the Award of the Conductors' Forum, which was for the first time awarded in 1995 to an outstanding scholarship holder of the funding programme. For the first time in 2017, the competition was held internationally, attracting great media attention. In 2019, the DDP was also accompanied in the media by the WDR broadcasting station – with its channel WDR 3 being the award’s cultural partner. The concert was broadcast live on WDR 3.

The DDP is unique in its requirements, because it takes the genres of opera and concert equally into consideration in the repertoire and thus demands cross-genre skills from the candidates. With a prize money of EUR 34,000 and other extensive support measures, it is considered one of the most highly endowed awards for conductors in Europe.

This year, the jury was composed of these members: Lothar Zagrosek (jury chair), Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Peter Gülke (honorary chair), Prof. Lioba Braun, Siegwald Bütow, Louwrens Langevoort, Dr. Birgit Meyer and Prof. Dr. Stephan Mösch. Another vote went jointly to the Gürzenich-Orchestra of Cologne, the Ensemble and International Opera Studio of the Cologne Opera and to the Symphonic Orchestra of the WDR, with whom the young conductors performed during the contest and also in the final concert.

During its long history, the Gürzenich Orchestra has always offered a podium for young conductors. Artists such as Gustavo Dudamel, music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, or Lahav Shani, chief conductor of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, enchanted audiences in Cologne even before their international breakthrough. Thus, it was a matter of course for the Gürzenich Orchestra to join the German Music Council, Cologne’s Philharmonie, the Cologne Opera and the WDR Symphony Orchestra in 2017 in launching the German Conductors’ Award: an international competition enabling twelve young conductors to demonstrate their abilities in working with leading orchestras and renowned singers in the opera and concert genres. This year, the competition took place for the second time.

The German Conductors’ Award is unique in its requirements, because it takes both the genres of opera and concert into consideration in the repertoire. Furthermore, the orchestra musicians contribute their vote to the jury’s decision. With these unique features, the German Conductors‘ Award sets new standards; taking place every two years, it helps to launch great conducting careers.

The Prizes

In addition to cash prizes of up to 30,000 €, awards also include concert engagements and assistant positions with German orchestras and opera houses. As a special award, the Gürzenich Orchestra offers an assistant position for the seasons 2020/21 and 2021/22 to the winner of the First Prize.

The Jury

Lothar Zagrosek Chairman of the jury, conductor
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Peter Gülke Honorary chairman of the jury, conductor and musicologist
Prof. Lioba Braun Mezzo-soprano
Siegwald Bütow Manager and producer of the WDR Symphony Orchestra
Louwrens Langevoort Artistic director of Cologne’s Philharmonie, managing director of KölnMusik GmbH
Dr. Birgit Meyer Artistic director of the Cologne Opera
Prof. Dr. Stephan Mösch Musicologist and theatre scholar, journalist


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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