International Conducting Competition

Cadaqués Orchestra International Conducting Competition

25 years discovering and helping young conductors from all over the world

The aim of the Cadaqués Orchestra International Conducting Competition is to discover and promote young conductors from all over the world.

The first competition was held in 1992 and the event is essentially biennial. The latest competition was planned for 2015 but was cancelled owing to the economic crisis. Fortunately, this twelfth competition will now be held in 2017. 

The main characteristics of the competition are as follows:

  • The fact that the orchestra counts as a member of the jury (with two votes)
  • A unique first prize that consists of conducting at least twenty different orchestras over a period three years
  • The existence of a preliminary round where pre-candidates conduct the Chamber Ensemble of the Cadaqués Orchestra
  • The fact that a work has been commissioned and premiered in each competition, with contemporary music taking a prominent role in the auditions
  • The fact that during the competition, the candidates are asked to conduct chamber works, a work for string orchestra, a work accompanied by a soloist, a contemporary work, and also symphonic repertoire.

Number of rounds and conditions of entry

The competition consists of five qualifying rounds where candidates conduct the Chamber Ensemble of the Cadaqués Orchestra and the Cadaqués Orchestra. All the qualifying rounds are open to the public and the press. These will be broadcast live by streaming video.

The competition is open to conductors of all nationalities under the age of 36, i.e. born no earlier than 19 December 1981. The approximate number of candidates accepted for the first round will be sixty (50 selected directly plus 10 selected through the preliminary round).

Internationally renowned jury

Internationally renowned jury

Gennady Rozhdestvensky and Sir Neville Marriner took turns as president of the international jury until the 11th competition.

In the 12th competition in 2017, the Chairmanof the jury will be Gianandrea Noseda, current principal conductor of the Cadaqués Orchestra and winner of the fist prize in the 1994 competition.

The other members of the jury will be: Annette Mangold (Director of Artistic Planning of the Berlin Philharmoniker), Nicholas Kenyon (Managing Director, Barbican Centre), Lutz Köhler (Orchestral Conductor), Jaime Martín (Chief Conductor of the Cadaqués Orchestra), Jun-ichi Nihei (President COO Japan Arts Corporation), and the Cadaqués Orchestra itself.

"Winning the Cadaqués Barcelona Orchestra International Conducting Competition in 2004 was the definitive step forward that launched my international career, a turning point in my professional life. It saved me ten years of work.”

Vasily Petrenko, conductor

Vasily Petrenko
Vasily Petrenko

An extraordinary first prize

A three-year tour for the winner

Twenty Spanish orchestras collaborate regularly with the competition, as well as other prestigious ensembles from abroad such as the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic of Flanders, the BBC Philharmonic of Manchester, the Orchestre National de Lille, the Gävle Symphonieorkester, the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, among others. (The definitive list for the 12th Competition will be published before 23 June 2017).

Top consultancy service

The winner of the first prize will also receive advice over a period of one year from Alfonso Aijón, legendary promoter and founder of Ibermúsica, who has been bringing the finest performers and orchestras from all over the world to Spain for the last fifty years.

Committed to contemporary composition

A specially commissioned work for each competition

The competition repertoire combines famous orchestral works with lesser known pieces from the Spanish repertoire, unpublished or recovered historical music that, despite its quality, had been forgotten or had not been performed since the time of its premiere.

By way of proof of the Cadaqués Orchestra and the competition’s deep commitment to contemporary composition, a work by a Spanish composer has been commissioned for the final of all the competitions since the first one. To date, the guest composers have been the following: Héctor Parra, Ramón Lazkano, Jesús Torres, Jesús Rueda, Xavier Montsalvatge, Cristóbal Halffter, Luis de Pablo, Joan Guinjoan, Lleonard Balada, David del Puerto and José María Sánchez Verdú. The commissioned composer for the 12th competition is Gabriel Erkoreka, who has written the work “Tramuntana”.

Sponsored by

Diputació de Girona
Generalitat de Catalunya
Gobierno de España
Institut Ramón Llull