Danish-Australian conductor Alexander Colding Smith is one of three finalists at this year’s 15th Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition. He’s in the running to receive a cash prize of £15,000 (approximately $AU 26,000) and the coveted opportunity of becoming Assistant Conductor of the acclaimed London Symphony Orchestra for up to one year. Previous competition winners include François-Xavier Roth, now the LSO’s Principal Guest Conductor.
Alexander Colding Smith
Colding Smith and his fellow finalists Felix Mildenberger (Germany) and Harry Ogg (UK) will draw lots for the grand final in order to determine running order and repertoire. Pieces on the bill are the Prelude to Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Kodály’s Dances of Galánta, and Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto. Jury member Vadim Repin will be the soloist for the Prokofiev, the first time in the competition’s history that a finalist will conductor a work that features a soloist. To take place at the Barbican, the final is open to the public and will be live streamed worldwide on Medici TV.
As well as Repin, the judging panel includes conductors Sian Edwards, Tadaaki Otaka and Yan Pascal Tortelier, as well as LSO Principal Cor Anglais Christine Pendrill and violinist Lennox Mackenzie, the LSO’s Sub-Leader as well as the panel’s chair. They will be joined by Sir Antonio Pappano, Music Director of the Royal Opera House and François-Xavier Roth for the final round.
The competition is open to conductors under the age of 30, who are citizens of the 28 countries having full membership of the European Union, as well as those from Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Switzerland. The three finalists have been through two days of preliminary rounds, which saw them conduct the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra in works by Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Mendelssohn and James Macmillan.
Colding Smith is a graduate of the College Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati, 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, which saw him lead the the Adelaide, Melbourne, Queensland Symphony and Auckland Philharmonia Orchestras, as well as study with conductors Johannes Fritzsch and Bernard Labadie. Colding Smith was a member of the Australian Youth Orchestra as a violist in its 2008 and 2010 seasons, touring China and Europe, and participated in the Australian Youth Orchestra – Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra (AYO-TSO) in Concert.
The 15th Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition final will be live streamed worldwide by Medici TV at 5:40 AM AEDT tomorrow