Danish-Australian Alexander Colding Smith is one of the 20 young conductors selected from across Europe to take part in the 15th Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition. The winner will receive a cash prize of £15,000 (approximately $AU 28,000) for career development and will also become an Assistant Conductor at the London Symphony Orchestra for at least a year.
Open to conductors aged under 30, who are citizens of the 28 countries having full membership of the European Union, plus those from Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Switzerland, the competition will take place in London from November 20 to 22.
After two days of preliminary rounds, in which the 20 participants will conduct the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra in front of the judging panel, three finalists will conduct the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican in front of a live audience. The concert will also be live-streamed on Medici TV.
The judges for this year’s competition are conductors Sian Edwards, Tadaaki Otaka and Yan Pascal Tortelier, violinist Vadim Repin, LSO Principal Cor Anglais Christine Pendrill, and violinist Lennox Mackenzie, the LSO’s Sub-Leader. Sir Antonio Pappano, Music Director of the Royal Opera House, and François-Xavier Roth, the winner of the Competition in 2000 and now the LSO’s Principal Guest Conductor, will join the judging panel for the final round.
Repin will be the Competition’s first soloist-judge. The finalists will conduct him and the LSO in one movement each of Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No 2. They will also conduct Wagner’s Meistersinger Overture and Kodály’s Dances of Galánta.
Colding Smith is a graduate of the College Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati, USA, where he studied conducting with Mark Gibson as a graduate assistant. He undertook a Masters Degree in Conducting at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 2013, and is a fellow of the 2018 TSO Australian Conducting Academy. In 2011 and 2012, he was a participant in the Symphony Services International Conductor Development Program, during which time he conducted the Adelaide, Melbourne, Queensland Symphony and Auckland Philharmonia Orchestras, studying with teachers including Johannes Fritzsch and Bernard Labadie. He was a member of the Australian Youth Orchestra as a violist in the 2008 and 2010 seasons, touring China and Europe, and participated in the Australian Youth Orchestra – Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra (AYO-TSO) in Concert.
The Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition takes place in London, November 20 – 22