In Thursday’s (5/26) Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tennessee), Jon W. Sparks writes, “Ten competitors from around the world are bringing their podium skills to the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts today for the Memphis International Conducting Competition. The incentives: $11,500 in prize money, a chance to conduct the Memphis Symphony Orchestra in October, and a possible boost to their careers in a highly competitive field. Such competitions are common in Europe and Asia, but rare in the United States. Ryan Fleur, president and CEO of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra that is hosting the event, said American conductors generally enter the market by auditioning for assistant-level positions, but in Europe, competitions such as this are the way to get noticed. … ‘We want this to be a destination,’ Fleur said, ‘and to build relationships with conductors who might not have us on their radar any other way.’ … There are three rounds in the contest, with two being held today and the finals on Friday. … The contestants are Mihaela Cesa-Goje of Romania; Ken Lam of Hong-Kong-The United Kingdom; Tae Jung Klee, South Korea; Andrew Franco of Colombia; Mikhail Agrest, Russian-American; Stefano Sarzani of Italy; and Americans Aram Demijrian, Sarah Kidd, Robert Trevino and Roger Kalia.”

Posted May 26, 2011