The Len van Zyl Conductors’ Competition takes place from 8 to 10 February 2013 in Cape Town. The final concert with three finalists conducting the CPO will be held on Sunday 10 February at 20:00 in the Cape Town City Hall. Watch the press for details.
It runs in conjunction with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO) as an initiative to support and develop classical music talent in South Africa. A financial trust was created by Mr Len van Zyl for this purpose, who believes that the development of young talent is a vital part of keeping classical music alive and well.
“It is very rewarding to be part of a process that ensures that we discover and nurture the talent of young conductors in our country. The first competition showed that there is indeed a great deal of talent, and I am glad to be able to provide the financial backing for such an important undertaking,” says Mr van Zyl.
Brandon Phillips, winner of the first Len van Zyl Conductors’ Competition says: “The whole experience has been exceptional. I learnt a lot during the process of going through the various rounds of the competition and the master classes. Having been up against some very talented musicians, I was delighted to win. It gave my career a huge boost.”
Louis Heyneman, CEO of the CPO, says the orchestra is proud to be associated with the competition: “Opportunities for a talented young trainee-conductor in South Africa virtually do not exist. Without proper training and experience, no orchestra will give a young conductor an opportunity. This unique competition that includes a year of master classes and training, is aimed to develop young South African conductors by providing them with opportunities to work with a professional symphony orchestra – indeed a rare opportunity to polish their craft and be seen and heard.”
The master classes are lead by visiting international conductors and adjudicators for the prize will consist of a panel of leading music experts.
Who may participate?
The second Len van Zyl Conductor’s Competition is open to South African nationals who were under the age of 33 on 1 January 2012 and who have undergone at least part of their music training in South Africa.
What is the prize?
Participants will compete for a single prize: a trip to the United States which includes a month's internship with the Philadelphia Orchestra and a semester in Chicago with Prof. Victor Yampolsky and the Northwestern Orchestra. All travel and accommodation expenses for this trip will be paid by the Len van Zyl Conductors' Competition together with Rand Merchant Bank. The winner will also be given the opportunity to conduct the CPO.
Want to enter?
Len van Zyl: "Classical music is a very important pillar in the cultural life of any civilised community. It is alive in South Africa but certainly needs all the support it can muster in order to ensure its continued success and growth.”
Louis Heyneman, CEO of the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra:
“The CPO is again proud to be part of the second Len van Zyl conducting Competition. Without this important pioneer project, we will never develop young professional orchestral conductors in South Africa.”
Brandon Phillips, winner of the first Len van Zyl Conductors’ Competition:
“Since winning, I have had many opportunities to conduct a number of orchestras, including the CPO and CPYO, the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra, the Free State Symphony Orchestra, the New Apostolic Church Orchestra, and the Unisa Music Foundation Symphony Orchestra. Some of the highlights have been conducting a choral performance of Haydn's The Creation with the New Apostolic Church Choir, a performance of Handel’s Messiah with the Cape Town Philharmonia Choir, conducting the CPO at the Klein Karoo Klassique festival, and working with the young soloists during the 2011 Artscape/Cape Philharmonic Orchestra Youth Music Festival.”
Richard Cock (conductor): "I won a SAMRO prize for conducting in the early 1980s and it was a huge inspiration to me - it really got me hooked on conducting. My hope is that young conductors will feel that here is the opportunity they have been waiting for to show what they can do."
Len van Zyl had a successful international career in the fields of advertising and marketing, has also had a passionate interest in music throughout his life.
His career included among others the chairmanship of South Africa's biggest advertising agency (Lindsay Smithers-FCB) and President/CEO of Foote Cone & Belding, the largest advertising agency in Philadelphia, USA. From 1992 to 1995, Mr Van Zyl was also chief executive of the South African Foreign Trade Organization (SAFTO). Van Zyl and his wife now split their residence between Cape Town and Philadelphia, USA. During his years in the United States he served on the development committee of the famous Philadelphia Orchestra and was also a member of the Metropolitan Opera Guild.