Ryan Bancroft from Los Angeles took both the coveted First Prize and the Audience Prize in the 2018 Malko Competition for Young Conductors.
After a week of hard-fought elimination rounds, 28-year-old Ryan Bancroft from Los Angeles raised the trophy as winner of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra's International Malko Competition – also known as the ‘World Cup for Conductors’ – on Friday night 27th April.
It was not just the professional Jury who had fallen for the young Angeleno, who has been conducting the competition without the traditional conductor's baton. The audience at DR Concert Hall also chose Ryan Bancroft as their favorite in this year's Malko Competition, and he could thus add 1,500 euros to the main prize, which is 20,000 euros.
The Danish National Symphony Orchestra’s principal conductor Fabio Luisi presented the prize to a clearly-moved Ryan Bancroft, who can now look forward to several reunions with the Danish orchestra, which toured California in the spring of 2017.
Debut at father’s funeral
28-year-old Ryan Bancroft remembers very clearly the day he conducted the first time. It was at his father's funeral in 2010, where he gathered a bunch of singers and musicians to perform his father's favorite work, Mozart's Requiem. "That day, I felt that conducting is 100% me," says Ryan Bancroft, who has a broad musical background. Not only has he studied both flute, harp and trumpet; he has also worked professionally in classical ballet and Ghanian dance.
Today, Ryan Bancroft lives in Amsterdam, where he is engaged in a promising conducting career. He has directed the Dutch Philharmonic Orchestra, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Prague Symphonic Orchestra and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Ryan is a passionate interpreter of new music, and has assisted the legendary French conductor and composer Pierre Boulez in a performance of his sur Incises with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Highly coveted First Prize
Winning the first prize in the International Malko Competition is a dream for young conductors around the world. On top of the considerable prizemoney, the victor wins concert engagements with 25 European symphony orchestras - thus giving a flying start to an international conductor career.
This year, 566 hopeful conductors from 78 countries applied to participate in the Malko Competition, and the 24 selected candidates were cut down to just three finalists in an internationally broadcast final concert from DR Concert Hall on Friday night.
The Children voted for Anna
In addition to her official 2nd prize in the Malko Competition, the only female participant, 28-year-old Russian Anna Rakitina, could walk on stage to receive a special award from this year's Children’s Jury. The whole of this year's Malko Competition has been followed intensely by a large group of schoolchildren from all over Denmark who, up to the final, have been able to vote electronically on their favorite conductor. A total of 800 children have followed the competition live in DR Concert Hall or online via livestream, and on Friday evening two of the children, Solvej and Oliver, could award the special Children's Jury Prize to the final female female participant.