The 10th Grzegorz Fitelberg International Competition for Conductors



 Su-Han Yang (Taiwan)

 - K. Szymanowski – Violin Concerto No. 2 Op. 61 (feat. Jakub Jakowicz),
 - J. Brahms – Symphony No. 4 in E minor Op. 98



An incredibly sensitive, well-mannered, charming young man. Everything began very beautifully, nearly right from the start – this sensual music by Maestro Szymanowski must have become particularly close to the conductor’s sensitivity. One thing that his rendition lacked was perhaps a more balanced proportion between the violin and the orchestra (in this difficult oeuvre in this respect). He comes from Taiwan, but was trained also in Europe. He has an incredible joy and authenticity of reaction, features typical for a very young man, open to the world. He is a type of a very emotional conductor, who does not leave anybody impartial towards what he does. We worked excellently in the symphony, finding many interesting ideas, parts nicely modelled by him, implemented immediately by the orchestra musicians. He has nice, broad arm movements, he is able to increase the tension, obtaining interesting colours. He conducted the second movement with elegance and refinement. The finale was impressive, confident, and full of bravado.



 Iaroslav Zaboiarkin (Russia)

 - A. Dvořák – Cello Concerto in B minor Op. 104 (feat. Marcin Zdunik),
 - A. Dvořák – Symphony No. 9 “The New World Symphony” in E-minor Op. 95



He impressed me even more than in the 1st stage – an incredibly vibrant musician, reacting well to the expression, character, and internal richness of the compositions presented. His symphony was excellent. It was a briskly running and incredibly fruitful rehearsal. The specific magic of the conductor worked particularly clearly in the second movement, when he suggested the soloist playing the English horn, as well as other musicians, thinking about longing for home, about some beautiful memories, and this solo (by Jacek Gaudyn) suddenly became so wonderfully warm – it was very moving. This solo was different than the one played before, quite well, by the way. It is great evidence that a good conductor can influence the colour, mood, and form of music. His engagement was constantly present and strong – you could hear that Slavs were playing beautiful music by a Slavic composer, close to their hearts. The scherzo was so sharp, played with teeth, with character. He has some kind of familiarity in him, something we probably don’t expect in art, but I think everyone felt good with him and everybody understood one another. It was one of the most fruitful competition performances.


 Bar Avni (Israel)

 - K. Szymanowski – Violin Concerto No. 2 Op. 61 (feat. Piotr Pławner),
 - A. Dvořák – Symphony No. 9 “The New World Symphony” in E-minor Op. 95



My favourite from the 1st stage… True enough, she did conduct Szymanowski watchfully, keeping her ear to the ground, but she was not able to control the sound. It resulted in such a tumult, as if kept by her at one, high level, that you couldn’t really hear the violin at all. It was a real sound melting pot. In Dvořák’ symphony everybody noticed she was grasping her left ear. Everyone understood this gesture differently. For me, it was quite clear, as I thought she was doing it only when the woodwinds were playing… Perhaps it was unbecoming to reprimand her? I didn’t hear most intonation-related issues, but we all know that there are people who can hear better than anybody else. Most probably she is such a person, it is quite possible. But let’s get to the point: she worked a lot and in an interesting way. She conducted the renditions vibrantly and with great precision. Here the horn solo was even more beautiful (the previous vision of the Russian must have been so inspiring). I was delighted with her electrifying scherzo. To conclude, I must admit that I liked her in the 1st stage much more!


 Modestas Barkauskas (Lithuania)

 - K. Szymanowski – Violin Concerto No. 2 Op. 61 (feat.  Jakub Jakowicz),
 - J. Brahms – Symphony No. 4 in E minor  Op. 98 



Although he is not one of my favourites, I do respect what he does. He was able to balance the dynamics in the concerto, thanks to which the violin was able to play a bigger colour-related role than before (he did this by the simplest method possible, showing the musicians to listen to the violin…). He seems to be a conductor who imposes discipline on the entire performance. Symphony No. 4 by Brahms turned out to be a great choice for him. When I was listening to this rendition, it seemed to me that perhaps it was the most interesting one, judging by the excellent attitude and playing of the orchestra. He was very effective, reliable, and sure of what he was doing. His 2nd stage went almost like clockwork.


 Aleš Kománek (Czech Republic)

 - K. Szymanowski – Violin Concerto No. 2 Op. 61 (feat.  Jakub Jakowicz),
 - J. Brahms – Symphony No. 4 in E minor  Op. 98 



And finally, something about the conductor who was not supposed to be here… Yesterday in the Programme 2 of Radio Poland we mentioned a situation from previous Competitions, a bit different, but how much different, we will find out tonight (the “lucky loser” admitted  in the last moment had become… the winner of the Competition). Will we have such a “re-run”? Perhaps not, although they say everything is possible in art, and in the art of conducting as well. It is a very modest, but extremely professional musician, proficient in the conducting skills, which he had demonstrated already in the 1st stage. He divided and ruled, efficiently and calmly (with his low, always controlled voice), supported by his perfect knowledge of the scores. It was a very good and balanced concerto. He showed the musicians all the necessary details. His symphony was very stable and predictable, i.e. there weren’t any exciting frills,  but all the goals set were accomplished. He also impressed me with his very nocturnal narration of the slow movement, which he conducted with great internal passion. In the third movement he worked a lot, likewise effectively. The finale was very successful! Let us wait and see…