German Conducting Award
The German Conducting Award (GCA) is an international competition for young conductors organised by the German Music Council (Deutscher Musikrat) in partnership with the Cologne Philharmonic Concert Hall (Kölner Philharmonie), the Cologne Opera (Oper Köln), the Gürzenich Orchestra of Cologne (Gürzenich Orchester Köln) and the Symphonic Orchestra of broadcasting station WDR (WDR Sinfonieorchester). The City of Cologne has supported the competition for many years. It is accompanied by West German Broadcasting - WDR 3 as a cultural partner.
The prestigious award was first presented in 1995 as the "Award of the Conductors' Forum" („Preis des Dirigentenforums“) and from 2006 as the "German Conductors‘ Award“ („Deutscher Dirigentenpreis") to an outstanding scholarship holder of the Conductors Forum (Forum Dirigieren) and goes back to an initiative of the Conductors Forum, the Bad Homburger castle concerts and the BHF-Bank-Stiftung.
In 2017, the competition took place for the first time internationally and with great media attention in Cologne. Since 2023, it has been operating under the English name "German Conducting Award" in order to do justice to aspects such as internationality, gender and diversity in the title.
The German Conducting Award takes the genres of opera and concert equally into account in the repertoire and thus challenges the cross-genre skills of the candidates. Two outstanding orchestras, an excellent ensemble of singers and a first-class concert hall are at their disposal throughout the competition. With its prize money, extensive support measures and renowned partners, the German Conducting Award supports young conductors on their path to professional careers.