<< -- 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
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
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
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
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