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.

3 scoring rounds

The candidates will work on symphonic repertoire, opera repertoire and works of the 20th and 21st centuries in three rounds.

All info about the competition


Two outstanding orchestras, an excellent ensemble of singers and a first-class concert hall will be available during the competition.

Renowned partners

Kölner Philharmonie, Oper Köln, Gürzenich-Orchester Köln and WDR Sinfonieorchester

All partners and sponsors

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.

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.

Schedule and repertoire 2023

12 candidates
Opera repertoire with Gürzenich-Orchester, Ensemble and International Opernstudio of the Oper Köln
Symphonic repertoire with WDR Sinfonieorchester


6 candidates
Contemporary symphonic repertoire with WDR Sinfonieorchester


3 candidates
Opera repertoire with Gürzenich-Orchester, Ensemble and International Opernstudio of the Oper Köln
Symphonic repertoire with WDR Sinfonieorchester


Saturday, 7th October 2023 8 p.m. in the Kölner Philharmonie (Philharmonic Concert Hall Cologne)

Tickets for the final concert may be obtained as from 25th May 2023 at 12:00 here: - € 29,- | Students under 29 years: € 12,-

Candidates 2023

Carlos Agreda

Carlos Agreda, Copyright: Abigel Kralik

Luis Castillo-Briceño
Costa Rica

Luis Castillo-Briceño, Copyright: Akvilė Šileikaitė

Anna Castro Grinstein

Anna Castro Grinstein, Copyright: Tamara Pawluk

Yury Demidovich

Yury Demidovich, Copyright: Privat

Simon Edelmann

Simon Edelmann, Copyright: Andrej Grilc

Hermes Helfricht

Hermes Helfricht, Copyright: Neda Navaee

Nathanaël Iselin

Nathanaël Iselin, Copyright: Nikolaj Lund

Liubov Nosova

Liubov Nosova, Copyright: Tom Schandrikov

Claudio Novati

Claudio Novati, Copyright: Reinhard Winkler

Friedrich Praetorius

Friedrich Praetorius, Copryright: Karima Albrecht

Matthew Rhodes
Great Britain

Matthew Rhodes, Copyright: Erle Kont

Dayner Tafur-Díaz

Dayner Tafur-Diaz, Copyright: Privat

Participate in the German Conducting Award

All info about the application

Impressions of the German Conducting Award 2023

Jury 2023

Enrico Delamboye

Enrico Delamboye, Copyright: Claus Langer

Stefan Englert
Managing Director Gürzenich-Orchester Köln

Stefan Englert, Copyright: Julia Sellmann

Prof. Dr. Hartmut Haenchen
(Chairman) Conductor

Hartmut Haenchen, Copyright: Accademia di Santa Cecilia ph Musacchio, Ianniello & Pasqualini

Torsten Janicke
1st Concertmaster, Gürzenich Orchester Köln

Sebastian König
Manager and producer of the WDR Sinfonieorchesters

Sebastian König, Copyright: WDR, Ben Knabe

Louwrens Langevoort
Director of Kölner Philharmonie, Managing Director of KölnMusik GmbH

Louwrens Langevoort, Copyright: KölnMusik, Matthias Baus

Karl-Heinz Lehner
Member of the Ensemble of Oper Köln

Karl-Heinz Lehner, Copyright: Christof Fein

Hein Mulders
Director of Oper Köln

Hein Mulders, Copryright: Oper Köln, Felix Broede

Anna Skryleva

Anna Skryleva, Copyright: Thomas Leidig

Michael Wendeberg

Michael Wendeberg, Copyright: Magdalena Höfner

Ye Wu
2nd Concertmaster, WDR Sinfonieorchester

Ye Wu, Copyright: Daniel Haeker


Kulturpartner WDR 3

Sponsors of the German Conducting Award 2023

Award winners of 2023

Dayner Tafur-Díaz
1st Prize, Audience Award

Claudio Novati
3rd Prize

Award winners of the past years

Martijn Dendievel | 2021
1st Prize

Julio García Vico | 2019
1st Prize, Award of the Bonn Opera Friends, Audience Award

Hossein Pishkar | 2017
1st Prize


1st Prize:

15.000 €

founded by the City of Cologne (10 000 €) and the Oscar und Vera Ritter-Stiftung (5 000 €)

2nd Prize:

10.000 €

3rd Prize:

5.000 €

founded by the Ursula-Lübbe-Stiftung et al.

Kurt Masur Audience Award:

3.000 €

founded by the International Kurt Masur Institute

Special Award for the Best Interpretation of a 20th/21st Century Work

500 €


The 1st prize includes a personalized baton from Rohema and a tailor made mandarin jacket from Woolwind.

The award winners can expect

concerts, assistances or productions with the following partners

Would you like to support the German Conducting Award?

Your donation will enhance the excellence among upcoming conductors.

If you wish, your commitment will be honored publicly, and we will inform you regularly about the latest news concerning the German Conducting Award.

For amounts from 100€ on you will get a tax deductible donation receipt. Please note your address on the remittance slip, so we can send you the donation receipt.


Bank account:

Deutscher Musikrat gGmbH
IBAN: DE60 4401 0046 0753 9324 65
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Intended use: Spende German Conducting Award