Presented by Hong Kong Sinfonietta, the 1st Hong Kong International Conducting Competition held its finals at the Hong Kong City Hall Concert Hall on 14 January 2018. The three finalists, representatives from Hungary, Poland and France competed for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. With all 16 candidates further competing for the Orchestra and Audience Prizes, it made for a tense atmosphere throughout the competition! As the finals concluded its run, an international panel of jury members comprising of renowned professionals in the industry, selected the prizewinners – hailing from Hungary, Gabor Kali (age: 35) took home the First Prize, followed by Antoine Glatard (age: 33) and the youngest competitor in the competition, Dawid Runtz (age: 25) as Second and Third prizewinners respectively. Voted by the musicians of Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Gabor Kali also became the Orchestra Prizewinner while Dawid Runtz and Anton Torbeev (age: 32) each took home the Audience Prize, voted by the public.
After an intensive three days from Round 1 held on 10 January to the Semi-Finals held on 11 and 12 January 2018, three finalists were chosen from a pool of 16 candidates. On the final day, the programme consisted of a new work, November Leonids – for Orchestra, composed by local composer Chan Hing-yan followed by a symphony of the finalist’s choice (Beethoven’s Symphony No 5 or Brahms’ Symphony No 3). With a live audience in the auditorium and through livestreaming, the award presentation was then held in the foyer of the Hong Kong City Hall to mark the end of the competition. Impressed by the quality of the candidates, co-chair of the jury and Music Director of Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Yip Wing-sie, said “it was a great pleasure to have watched the candidates and the orchestra to make music under such demanding circumstances and situation,” and that “whoever has been selected to come to Hong Kong is already a winner.”
Christoph Poppen, co-chair and Principal Guest Conductor, further added, on Hong Kong Sinfonietta and competition, “We tried to build up the 1st Hong Kong International Conducting Competition in a way that it was attractive for every young conductor, and I think we succeeded. More than 300 applications and conductors who only had happy faces the whole time as they made their way to Hong Kong, show that we did right. All jurors and contestants were absolutely thrilled about the quality of Hong Kong Sinfonietta. I hope the next competition will be planned soon, and then we will be able to build up already on the experience and reputation of this one.”