Euan Shields from the U.S. has won the Siemens Hallé International Conductors Competition 2023. The 24-year-old emerging conductor demonstrated his talent to the seven-strong jury at yesterday’s final held at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, United Kingdom. At the three-day competition, Shields came out on top among a pool of more than 200 conductors from six continents. The international conducting competition sponsored by Siemens and the Hallé Orchestra took place for the first time in 2020 and was held for the second time in March 2023.
“It was a wonderful experience to participate in this competition, and I am honored to receive the opportunity to work with Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra in the future,” says Euan Shields. “Over the three days of intense music making, I was able to bond with and learn from so many fantastic musicians from the Hallé Orchestra and Hallé Youth Orchestra, as well as the seven other candidates from across the globe. I’m very grateful to Siemens and the Hallé Orchestra for creating such a supportive atmosphere which empowered every candidate to be able to fully express themselves personally and musically.”
Euan Shields grew up in Osaka (Japan) and San Francisco (U.S.). He completed his master’s degree in orchestral conducting at the Juilliard School in New York, U.S. and has worked with the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra in Monaco, the Sønderjylland Symphony Orchestra of Denmark and the Juilliard Lab Orchestra in New York, U.S.
Eight semifinalists were shortlisted from more than 200 applications. Three of these candidates then made it to the final, where they conducted the Hallé Orchestra to perform four pieces by Mozart, Elgar, Sibelius and Stravinsky. For the first time, the final was a public event at which the finalists were put through their paces in front of an international audience. In a live voting session, the audience members chose their favorites for recommendation to the jury.
“It has been an enthralling three days and a privilege to observe such wonderful talent,” said Sir Mark Elder, the Hallé Orchestra’s Music Director. “Choosing the winner was very difficult, but I’m delighted to welcome Euan Shields as the new Assistant Conductor of the Hallé Orchestra and look forward to working with him.”
The first prize of the Conductors Competition consists of a two-year engagement as Assistant Conductor to Sir Mark Elder, the Hallé Orchestra’s Music Director. In addition, the winner will take over the directorship of the Hallé Youth Orchestra and will have the opportunity to become established on the world stage through numerous guest appearances. Shields will take up his new position with the Hallé Orchestra in September 2023.
Euan Shields,the winner of the Siemens – Hallé International Conductors Competition 2023 and Delyana Lazarova, the winner of the Siemens – Hallé International Conductors Competition 2020 (from left to right), Photo: Alex Burns, The Hallé
“The Hallé Orchestra is a long-standing cultural institution that has a major influence on the music scene,” said Stephan Frucht, Artistic Director of the Siemens Arts Program. “For this reason, the Conductors Competition of the Siemens Arts Program, especially in association with the Hallé Orchestra, offers young talented musicians the ideal start to a promising career. For Delyana Lazarova, the first prize winner of the Siemens Hallé International Conductors Competition, the win has brought her a real career leap and she has since conducted orchestras all over the world.”
Alongside Stephan Frucht and Sir Mark Elder, the competition jury comprises further prestigious, internationally established experts from the music world: David Butcher (Chief Executive of the Hallé), Anna Hirst (Head of Artistic Planning for the Hallé), Angela Dixon (Chief Executive of Saffron Hall), Sergey Smbatyan (Principal Conductor of the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra and the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra) and Carola Reul (Managing Director of the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie).
The competition builds on a long-standing partnership between the Hallé Orchestra and Siemens AG. As well as fostering excellence among talented young musicians as part of the Siemens Arts Program, the two organizations collaborate closely on delivering a variety of educational and community outreach projects.
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