Round 3 - Nowhere to Hide

Angélica Negrón

Round 3 - Nowhere to Hide

Six conductors have made it through to Round 3 of the Malko Competition - where even bigger challenges await

Fabio Luisi has revealed which six conductors will head through to Round 3 of the Malko Competition. ‘We made it hard for you today - on purpose,’ the jury chairman said from the stage.

Luisi was referring to Wednesday’s big challenge: rehearsing three huge chunks of Romantic orchestral music in just 18 minutes.

On Thursday, things get a whole lot more complicated.

For the first time in the competition, our contestants will have to perform with no rehearsal at all - including the entire first movement of Carl Nielsen’s treacherously complex Flute Concerto, in which they’ll need to maintain lines of communication between soloist and orchestra.

Before that, the candidates will perform excerpts from Debussy’s La mer, Ravel’s La Valse and Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra - also with no rehearsal. The one piece they will get to rehearse, they have never heard before: Angélica Negrón’s Campos Flotantes will get its world premiere tomorrow.

Who will be doing it? First up is Miguel Sepúlveda, who started to enjoy himself on Wednesday, conducting Mahler. He has always proved interested in the acoustics of the concert hall, so can he make these more elusive works resonate in it?

After Miguel, it’s Samuel Lee’s turn. He loves working on detail, but in Ravel’s La Valse, he’ll have to get what he wants immediately, with just his hands.

Next we’ll hear from Ana María Patiño-Osorio, who’ll need to combine her rhythmic and expressive sides for the Debussy’s La Mer while also - like everyone else - proving she can handle the complex dynamics of a concerto.

After the break, it’s Jakub Przybycień. He used some vivid imagery on Wednesday - ‘imagine the police accusing you, but you didn’t do it’ - but there won’t be room for much of that in Round 3, where actions count far more than words.

Dong Chao, who comes next, has got some impressively broad, deep sounds from the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. Can he combine them with the colours Bartók asks for in his Concerto for Orchestra?

And finally, the left-hander from Italy, Sieva Borzak. He has proved he can show a lot with his hands and body, but conducting Debussy’s La Mer on no rehearsal will demand even more.

It will be fascinating. It might well be compelling. And for three of the above, the Grand Final awaits.

Andrew Mellor