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Guide to the Besançon International Competition for Young Conductors


Established in 1951 by the Besançon International Music Festival, the Besançon International Competition for Young Conductors soon became the most prestigious event of its kind. It took place every year until 1992, and thereafter every twoyears.
With a repertoire which spans classical, Romantic, 20th century and contemporary music, as well as oratorio and opera, the Besançon Conducting Competition is the most complete competition in the world. 

The Competition is open to all artists under 35 who wish to become professional conductors, whatever their training or their experience ; no previous diploma is required. After the preliminaries, which will be held in various locations around the world (Beijing, Montreal, Berlin and Besançon), only 20 candidates will be entered into the orchestra rounds to be held in Besançon in September.

Only one person can win the Grand Prix.

Alexander Gibson, Sergiu Comissiona, Gerd Albrecht (Grand Prix 1957), Seiji Ozawa (Grand Prix 1959), Michel Plasson (Grand Prix 1962), Zdenek Macal, Jesus Lopez Cobos, Hubert Soudant, Sylvain Cambreling and Yutaka Sado are among the most prestigious winners of this Conducting Competition.

The Grand Prix of the 55th Competition (2017) was awarded to the English, Ben Glassberg.

Opening of the registration: Monday 3 December 2018 on this page

  • Age restriction: candidates of any nationality born between 1984 and 2001
  • Registration fees: € 250.

Application deadline: Friday 18 January 2019 – noon (subject to availability)

More competitor and application information here.

Fact file
Deadline03 Dec 2018
Finals21 Sep 2019
WhereBesançon, France
Age groupsBorn between 1984 and 2001

Grand Prix:

- € 12,000

- Engagements with the Competition’s partner orchestras

- Three-month period of artistic guidance (advice and coaching)

Watch the previous edition