Samuel Lee wins Malko Competition 2024

Samuel Lee wins Malko Competition 2024

The 34-year-old South Korean Samuel Lee has had a meteoric career as both conductor and soloist in Europe, the USA and Asia. Now he can also call himself the winner of the Malko Competition 2024.

He has won several international conducting competitions. He has been a professor at the conservatory in Leipzig. He has a permanent position with one of America's well-known symphony orchestras. And he has appeared in concert halls all over the world, both as conductor and soloist.

The 34-year-old winner of this year's Malko Competition, South Korean Samuel Lee, already has a flying career in the world of classical music. But there is no doubt that the victory in the Danish National Symphony Orchestra's international Malko Competition will take his musical career to new heights.

It was the Danish National Symphony Orchestra's chief conductor and Malko Competition jury chairman, Fabio Luisi, who presented the first prize with words of praise about the young winner: – Samuel has a fantastic way of phrasing the music, and he worked with the orchestra's sound in a very special way throughout the competition. That is why he wins the Malko Competition 2024.

Richard Krug, who is solo cellist in the DR Symphony Orchestra and a member of the international jury in the Malko Competition, also has words of praise for Samuel Lee.

– Samuel Lee has incredible energy when he conducts. He has impressed the jury and the orchestra throughout the competition with his musicality and his seriousness, and his extensive experience as both musician and conductor is expressed in the most beautiful way when he conducts.

With the victory in the Malko Competition, 34-year-old Samuel Lee has not only won the coveted prize money of 20,000 euros. He has also won conducting contracts with 24 leading international symphony orchestras and a three-year period with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra's chief conductor Fabio Luisi as a personal mentor.

Risky start
In this year's Malko Competition, Samuel Lee distinguished himself already in the first round compared to the other candidates. He chose to perform the Haydn symphony La passione in a special baroque version, which i.a. included harpsichord accompaniment.

– It was a risky choice for me to set out in that way, but I believed in it, and I am glad that the jury and the orchestra understood the idea, says Samuel Lee. He continues:

– Although I have conducted many good orchestras, it has been very special to work with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra for a whole week. All in all, it's a fantastic experience to stand on the podium and shape the music with my hands while I communicate with the musicians, he says.

Three awards for Colombian conductor
Although the coveted first prize in the Malko Competition is the main attraction among the 24 young conductors who come through the eye of the needle to the competition, it is not the only prize they can win.

This year, the 28-year-old Colombian Ana Maria Patiño-Osorio won 2nd prize in the competition, and at the same time she ran with as many as two other prizes. The audience and viewers of the competition chose her as their favorite during the semi-final, and thus she won this year's audience prize of 1500 Euro.

Ana Maria Patiño-Osorio also won the special youth jury prize, which was presented on stage in the Concert Hall by students from Viborg Cathedral School. They have been following the competition live from Viborg all week, but in connection with the final concert, two of them had traveled to Copenhagen to present the award to their favorite conductor, on behalf of the whole class.

Surprise on stage
According to tradition, the winner of the Malko Competition must conduct H.C. Lumbye's Champagne Gallop as the end of the final concert and award ceremony in DR Koncerthuset.

However, that tradition was a surprise for Samuel Lee, who was presented with sheet music and baton by jury president Fabio Luisi on stage shortly after being presented with the Malko trophy.

After some persuasion, however, he went on the podium to conduct the Danish National Symphony Orchestra in the festive orchestral piece, which is also a fixture at the orchestra's New Year's concerts in DR Koncerthuset.

Cecilie Rosenmeier, DR Koncerthuset - Choirs & Orchestras