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Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Deadline: March 15, 2015

The 3rd Len van Zyl Conductors’ Competition, South Africa’s only competition for young conductors, will take place in 2015/2016.

Entry forms are now available. The competition is open to South Africans not older than 33 on January 1, 2016.

The competition offers performance opportunity and master classes with international conductors; the semi-finalists and finalists perform with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, and the overall winner receives an all-expenses paid one-month internship with the famed Philadelphia Orchestra in America and two months of study at Northwestern University in Chicago with maestro Victor Yampolsky. The overall winner is also invited to conduct the CPO at a suitable time.

Len van Zyl, former advertising luminary and board member of the Philadelphia Orchestra, became aware that while instrumental players, singers and dancers had access to many good teachers at a several music education facilities, the same could not be said for the advanced training of conductors.

“There is clearly a gap for training and performance experience for this most specialised and vitally important function of music making, which is essential to ensure that ensemble playing is achieved to maximise the quality and co-ordination of the orchestra, in particular.”

In 2008, his dream was realised and the Len van Zyl Conductors' Competition was established in partnership with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra. Two competitions have been held: in 2009/10 and 2012/2013.

“Those competitions attracted dozens of aspirant conductors, of which 36 were chosen to go further, some of whom benefited from the first competition and returned for the second,” he says. “We have been fortunate to have had the participation of Victor Yampolsky of Northwestern University, Chicago, who gives the master classes as well, and have had other international conductors on the panels then and now.”

Entry forms can be downloaded from the CPO website at The closing date is March 15, 2015, after which a preliminary selection will be made. Those chosen will participate in the preliminary round in June 2015 in Cape Town, with the semi-finals and finals in February, 2016.

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