Min-On Holds 16th Tokyo International Conducting Competition
The 16th Tokyo International Music Competition for Conducting organized by the Min-On Concert Association was held from October 29 to November 4 at the Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall. A total of 180 applicants from 29 countries had submitted documents and videos of their conducting, and 24 outstanding candidates (17 male and 7 female) from Austria, Israel, Japan, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, South Korea, Taiwan and the USA were invited to compete in the two preliminary rounds and the finals.
Required pieces for all candidates in the first preliminary round consisted of two movements of Beethoven's Symphony No. 1 in C major. In the second preliminary round, pieces by Stravinsky, Chopin and Sibelius were required, and in the finals, one required piece by Weber was combined with a composition of the candidates' choice. For the preliminary rounds, the candidates conducted the New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, and for the finals, the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra.
A panel of nine judges composed of preeminent conductors and academics from six countries assessed the various entrants, and three finalists were selected: Mayana Ishizaki and Yuki Tanaka of Japan, and Maja Metelska of Poland. All finalists were female for the first time in the competition's history. The Encouragement Award and Honorable Mention title were awarded to all three, although no one took first, second or third prizes in the competition due to extremely rigorous judging criteria. The special Hideo Saito Award went to Maja Metelska, and an Audience Prize, introduced for the first time this year, was presented to Mayana Ishizaki.
At a press conference on November 5, Saito Award winner Maja Metelska, who is a conductor with the Warsaw Chamber Opera, commented, "It was a rare and valuable experience to be able to conduct these internationally acclaimed orchestras. I am very grateful to the jury for giving me this opportunity and for awarding me the special prize of the late maestro Hideo Saito, a conductor I hold in the highest regard. I hope that this competition will open up future possibilities in my conducting career."
Gala concerts will be held in Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka in March 2013, to showcase the winners of the competition.
The Tokyo International Music Competition for Conducting was supported by the Foreign Ministry of Japan, the Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan, Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK), in cooperation with the Association of Japanese Symphony Orchestras and Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall. It was sponsored by Asahi Breweries.
[Adapted from an article in the November 5, 2012, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan and an article from the Min-On Concert Association Website, dated November 30, 2012; photos courtesy of Min-On]