Music and Vision homepage

 

<<  -- 2 --  Keith Bramich    A TOUGH TASK

-------------------------------

Most recently, on 1 October 2002, the longest established of the three (inaugurated in 1990), the seventh Donatella Flick Conducting Competition, was won by French conductor Christophe Mangou in Barbican Hall, London. Since 1998, the (now) biennial Flick competition has run in association with the London Symphony Orchestra, providing the unique and enviable prize of a year's assistant conductorship with the LSO.

Christophe Mangou, winner of the 2002 Donatella Flick Conducting Competition
Christophe Mangou, winner of the 2002 Donatella Flick Conducting Competition

The audience in London's Barbican Hall for the competition's final concert heard three interpretations of Mozart's overture The Marriage of Figaro -- an experience fascinating in itself, and giving the audience a quick introduction to each of the three finalists. (A friend at the final concert wondered if the orchestra shouldn't perhaps first play the overture without a conductor, to help clarify and quantify each entrant's contribution?) Each of them -- Christophe Mangou, followed by Finnish conductor Dmitri Slobodeniouk and finally Ivan Mehlmans (joint winner of the competition in Kharkov -- see above) gave a kind of mini-concert in which the Mozart was followed by an orchestral showpiece -- Stravinsky's Symphony in three movements (Mangou), Janácek's Taras Bulba (Slobodeniouk) and Bartók's Miraculous Mandarin (Meylemans).

The three finalists await the result - left to right: Ivan Meylemans, Dmitri Slobodeniouk and Christophe Mangou. Photo: Keith Bramich
The three finalists await the result - left to right: Ivan Meylemans, Dmitri Slobodeniouk and Christophe Mangou. Photo: Keith Bramich

The audience's money seemed to be on the oldest of the three finalists -- plump, curly haired Maylemans. Arguably, his gestures had more weight than the other finalists, and he was more flambuoyant, more charismatic. His position as the last finalist to conduct may also have helped psychologically. But (as with the 2000 competition, when, after a considerable and inexplicable delay, the surprising announcement of two winners was made) the jury (Jane Glover, Mauro Bucarelli, Andrew Marriner, Leif Segerstam and Vassily Sinaisky), who had seen these three and seventeen others in action over the three day competition, decided otherwise, and so it was Christophe Mangou who received the 15,000 pound prize (about 22,000 US dollars) from the Duke of Kent, and who will take up residency as assistant conductor to the LSO.

Lord Birkett (left), announcing the winner of the 2002 Donatella Flick Conducting Competition with, from left to right, Mauro Bucarelli, Leif Segerstam, Vassily Sinaisky, Jane Glover, Andrew Marriner, The Duke of Kent and Donatella Flick. Photo: Keith Bramich
Lord Birkett (left), announcing the winner of the 2002 Donatella Flick Conducting Competition with, from left to right, Mauro Bucarelli, Leif Segerstam, Vassily Sinaisky, Jane Glover, Andrew Marriner, The Duke of Kent and Donatella Flick. Photo: Keith Bramich

The jury's non-voting chairman, Lord Birkett, as compere for the evening, explained that he had asked the jury to choose 'the most promising young conductor. The one most likely to inspire orchestras and therefore audiences, The one most likely to understand composers, and therefore innovation, The one most likely to have an individual voice, and personality, and the charisma that nobody can describe but nobody can deny'. A tough task, huh?

Applauding the winner: Christophe Mangou (right). Photo: Keith Bramich
Applauding the winner: Christophe Mangou (right). Photo: Keith Bramich

 

Copyright © 10 October 2002 Keith Bramich, Arthog, Wales, UK

-------

A REVIEW OF THE DONATELLA FLICK COMPETITION IN 'THE INDEPENDENT'

THE DONATELLA FLICK CONDUCTING COMPETITION

THE MAAZEL/VILAR CONDUCTORS' COMPETITION

THE VAKHTANG JORDANIA INTERNATIONAL CONDUCTING COMPETITION

'THE ART OF CONDUCTING' BY JEAN PECCEI

 << Music & Vision home                  Enoch Arden >>