The 10th Grzegorz Fitelberg International Competition for Conductors



 Boon Hua Lien (Singapore)

 - D. Shostakovich – Symphony No. 5 in D minor Op. 47,
 - K. Penderecki – Symphony No. 2 “Christmas Symphony”



A good final! He started with Shostakovich, and, incidentally, all the oeuvres he chose were gloomy and dark. They started rather poorly, it took several minutes to wake up, and then the conductor got to work. He was modelling many different details. Having listened to his comments and observed his cooperation with the band, I conclude that at this stage his knowledge of the scores was excellent, too, because he was reaching quite deep into the matter of both pieces, especially the one by Shostakovich. It seemed to me he was interested in the colours of this darkness, but he was also taking care of the sound balance between individual groups of instruments. The orchestra played very well for him. It was interesting. When he asked the Jury whether he could finish this part, the chairman refused and told him to go on playing this movement, whereafter … he ordered to move on to Penderecki. It wasn’t really nice, especially that according to the competition rules he wasn’t obliged to ask for permission at all. Anyway, the darkness conjured by Master Penderecki took over then. Right from the start I had the impression that he didn’t feel very comfortable with this music (despite very similar aesthetics of the previous piece), as if it wasn’t his cup of tea, as if he felt like a fish out of water. When the action of the piece, however, was accelerating, the conductor gathered strength, awakening to an active life. The rehearsal ran deftly, and then… as if as a punishment (which definitely was not the case) the Jury asked for the mysterious (for the profane) No. 10 of the score. And here - alas! This was only the beginning because this music is peppered with vicious traps. The atmosphere became nervous, I noticed some empty movements, but most of all everything started to come apart. Fortunately, all bad things must come to an end, and finally everything became more sensible. In my opinion he left us with very good impressions.


 Su-Han Yang (Taiwan)

 - K. Szymanowski – Symphony No. 5 “Symphonie concertante” Op. 60 (feat. Piotr Sałajczyk),
 - B. Bartók – Concerto for Orchestra



My favourite! I appreciate his passion and determination, his manners, and his incredible cheerful conducting competence. He began with Szymanowski, so close to him, where, however, he had problems with controlling the sound balance (I couldn’t hear the piano at all). But apart from that the first movement was played with confidence, effectively and together – the soloist impressed us with his bravado right away. It was nice to hear them play the slow movement, where the conductor was modelling the expression from his own perspective. There were deficiencies, there were instant interruptions, corrections, and the remaining part of the movement was perfect in terms of narration and expression. The last movement went smoothly too – it was balanced and attractive. The introduction in Bartók’s Concerto started with entering totally different matter, but it was controlled quickly and successfully. Su-Han knew perfectly well what to do with it, and there was much to be done. The Taiwanese conductor proposed a serious, but still musical, play in the difficult Intermezzo interrotto, but it needs to be added here that the soloists of the Silesian Philharmonic (oboist, flutist, and clarinettist) were “playing with” music here, too. And traditionally, all the fun was suddenly interrupted by the chairman of the Jury, who ordered to move on to the fifth movement. The finale! The conductors seemed to know all the secrets of this movements like the palm of his hand. There are many difficult spots there, but he was managing perfectly well. He was excellently prepared to the Competition, he conducted at the same high level throughout all three stages. It was definitely the most colourful and interesting personality!