Back to all news stories

Performing Arts

U-M student wins 2014 Donatella Flick LSO conducting competition

The Prince of Wales presents Elim Chan with her prize at the Barbican on 8 December 2014. Photograph by Clive Totman/LSO.

Elim Chan, 28, a DMA conducting student at the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, was named the winner of the 2014 Donatella Flick London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) Conducting Competition. Chan, who studies with Professor Kenneth Kiesler at U-M, is the first woman to win the prestigious competition.

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, Patron of the Competition, presented Chan with the winner’s award following a public concert conducted by the three finalists on Monday, December 8 at the Barbican in London. Chan conducted the LSO in a program of Beethoven’s Egmont Overture, Stravinsky’s Symphony in Three Movements, and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade. The other finalists were Jiří Rožeň from the Czech Republic and Mihhail Gerts from Estonia.

Chan receives a prize of £15,000 donated by Donatella Flick to support a period of specialist study and concert engagements, and she will work as assistant conductor with the London Symphony Orchestra for one year. During this period, she will work with the LSO and Principal Conductor Valery Gergiev, Principal Guest Conductors Michael Tilson Thomas and Daniel Harding, and with eminent visiting conductors, in the preparation of concerts and the assessment of new scores. She will also take part in events for LSO Discovery, the Orchestra’s award-winning music education and community program, and could conduct the LSO in concert.

Inaugurated by Donatella Flick in 1990 under the patronage of HRH The Prince of Wales, the biennial Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition aims to advance the careers of young conductors and help the winner to establish an international conducting career. The competition is open to candidates up to the age of 35 who are citizens of the 28 member countries of the European Union. (Chan is a citizen of the United Kingdom).

The competition’s distinguished international jury in 2014 consisted of LSO Chairman Lennox Mackenzie (Chairman of the Jury), LSO Principal Guest Conductor Daniel Harding, conductor Xian Zhang, conductor  Vladimir Spivakov, conductor Bertrand de Billy, Mauro Bucarelli of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and LSO Principal Tuba, Patrick Harrild.

During the course of the Competition, 20 conductors were short-listed from over 200 applicants by an independent selection panel. During the first two days of the competition, the short-listed candidates conducted the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra before the jury selected three finalists.

Born in Hong Kong, Elim Chan is the music director of the University of Michigan Campus Symphony Orchestra. As a recipient of the 2013 Bruno Walter Conducting Scholarship, Chan made her debut with Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra and the Orchestre de la Francophonie as part of the Summer Music Institute with Kenneth Kiesler and Pinchas Zukerman. She has led performances in workshops with the Cabrillo Festival and Baltimore Symphony Orchestras working with Marin Alsop, Gerard Schwarz, and Gustav Meier. Chan previously served as music director of the Michigan Pops Orchestra and as assistant conductor of the U-M Opera Theatre, leading a performance of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. She has worked with the Toledo Symphony, Youth Orchestras of Curanilahue, and the Orchestra of Universidad de Talca in Chile. Chan holds degrees from Smith College and the University of Michigan, where she currently studies with Kenneth Kiesler.

Story via the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance.

Continue Reading