Clemens Schuldt wins Donatella Flick Conducting Competition

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27-year-old conductor takes top prize

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German conductor and violinist Clemens Schuldt has won this year’s Donatella Flick Conducting Competition. His sparkling performance of Strauss’s Overture to Die Fledermaus and assured account of Wagner’s Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde won over the jury in the final in London’s Barbican Hall.

The 27 year-old, who currently conducts ensembles around Europe including the Schumann Camerata and has played as a violinist with the German Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra Bremen, saw off competition from Ken-David Masur, 33, from Germany and Kristiina Poska, 32, from Estonia.

As well as a £15,000 prize to support conducting studies, Schuldt will take up the baton as assistant conductor with the London Symphony Orchestra for a year. The 2008 winner David Afkham described the opportunity to work with a world-class orchestra as ‘a wonderful gift’.

Entrants for the prestigious biennial competition, all under the age of 35, are whittled down to a shortlist of 20 candidates who then have 15 minutes on the conducting podium to fight for their place in the concerto semi-final. Of the ten hopefuls who reach this stage, just three go through to the final.

This year’s jury, chaired by Martin Cotton, included conductors Paul Daniel and Gabor Ötvös, and LSO principal bassoonist Rachel Gough.

Rebecca Franks