Young Taiwanese man wins top prize in world conductors competition

05/02/2015 12:38 PM
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Berlin, May 1 (CNA) Taiwanese conductor Chuang Tung-chieh (莊東杰) won the first prize at the Malko International Conductors Competition, the world's largest conductors race, on Friday in Denmark's capital Copenhagen.

The 32-year-old Chuang, who is currently studying at Musikhochschule Weimar, a widely recognized music school in Germany, took the top spot in the final round of the competition, after beating two other finalists from Germany.

According to Taiwan's representative office in Denmark, 317 young conductors came from all over the world to compete in the event.

The jury selected 24 out of the 317 to compete in the four rounds of the competition, and Chuang and his two German rivals -- David Niemann and Jesko Sirvend -- advanced to the finals.

In the final round, Chuang conducted a symphony orchestra to perform the first movement of Brahms' Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68, and a musical selection from Masquerade, a comic opera of Danish composer Carl August Nielsen, impressing the jury and winning the competition.

Chuang was awarded 20,000 euros (US$22,400). In addition, the Taiwanese musician has jury president Sakari Oramo as his mentor for the next three years.

The champion title has also brought Chuang engagements with 27 leading orchestras in Europe, including the Stockholm Philharmonic, the Oslo Philharmonic, the Munich Philharmonic and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra.

The second prize winner Niemann was awarded 10,000 euros ahead of Sirvend, who was awarded 7,000 euros.

President Ma Ying-jeou has sent a congratulatory message to Chuang.

Before the Malko Competition, Chuang had already shone in several international competitions, such as the Mahler Competition and the Solti Competition, making a name for himself in the world music stage.

Chuang told the press that he was glad to perform with great orchestras in the Malko Competition, and is looking forward to working with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra in the future.

Chuang, one of only a few conductors from Asia participating in the competition, told Danmarks Radio that he believes he has something different to offer because of his culture.

"My experience of life is different, and so I can bring something special to the music," Chuang said in the report.

Chuang has worked with several symphony orchestras. Among them are the 12 Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic, the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre de Besancon, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Taiwan's National Symphony Orchestra, and the Taipei Symphony Orchestra.

In 2012, he organized the first-ever orchestra-flashmob performance in Taiwan. In 2013, German conductor Kurt Masur invited Chuang to perform with him at a concert in New York.

(By Lillian Lin and Frances Huang)


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