15 Nations from 4 continents are represented

Gianluca Piombo’s Variazioni Sinfoniche is the winning piece of the Call for Composers

Preliminary phase and semi-finals: Milan, Cariplo Foundation Auditorium, 3-5 October 2024

Finals: Novara, Coccia Theatre, 6 October 2024

On World Music Day, 21 June, the “Guido Cantelli” International Conducting Award in Novara looks to the future by announcing the 18 finalists, selected from among the 241 candidates (the highest number in the Award’s history) who submitted applications from all over the world. The selected conductors come from four continents and represent 15 different countries: Italy, Russia, Colombia, Great Britain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Spain, Brazil, the United States, Israel, South Korea, Peru and Australia.

The finalists of the 13th edition, all aged between 25 and 35, were chosen on the basis of video-recorded performances by conductor Riccardo Frizza, Artistic Advisor of the Cantelli Award, and Didier De Cottignies, Artistic Director of the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra. All of them already have significant work experience and career debuts with international orchestras and conductors to their credit.

«The “Guido Cantelli” Award», declares Corinne Baroni, Director of the Award, «aims to go beyond more traditional understandings of conducting competitions, which mainly focus on competition and technique. On the contrary, it aspires to become a manifesto of values capable of inspiring new generations of young people, who embrace concepts such as passion, determination and tolerance. With candidates coming from more than thirty-five nations – among whom the eighteen presented today have been selected – the 13th edition of the Cantelli Award proves to be an exceptionally relevant international showcase where young talents can express themselves and become an inspiration, thus contributing to enriching global cultural heritage. The Cantelli Award is a source of beauty and harmony, a place where men and women from all over the world can nurture that virtuous spiral that elevates art and culture for the benefit of all».

This autumn will see the next steps towards choosing the winner of the Cantelli Award, a competition that ranks as one of the most authoritative for orchestra conducting, with a total prize fund of €33,000. More specifically, the preliminary phase and semi-finals will be held in Milan from 3 to 5 October at the Cariplo Foundation Auditorium, home of the Giuseppe Verdi Milan Symphony Orchestra Foundation, a partner of the Cantelli Award. The candidates will take the podium of this very ensemble, which will also be the protagonist of the final concert scheduled on Sunday, 6 October at 6 p.m. at the Coccia Theatre in Novara (ticket sales already open on the Coccia Theatre Foundation website at https://www.fondazioneteatrococcia.it/stagione-2024-concerto-finale-cantelli.html).

«Our Foundation has always had a special focus on young people and excellence», says Ambra Redaelli, President of the Giuseppe Verdi Symphony Orchestra and Chorus of Milan Foundation, «given the frontline role it has always played in cultivating and discovering talent. Being part of the excellent “Cantelli Award” project underlines the importance our Foundation attaches to strengthening ties with other institutions and the territory. Given the deep convergence of values between the Milan Symphony Orchestra and the Cantelli Award, it is a great honour for us to be the “sound” of this competition».

During the 13th edition of the Cantelli Award, a new initiative has taken shape in support of the Award, which aims to carry the Award forward over time and raise the standard of artistic excellence. The Cantelli Award Patrons’ Group is formed of patrons who not only finance the Award, but also actively preserve its cultural heritage. Their mission is to promote art and culture as vital elements of society and to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Award. Each Patron will receive tangible recognition with a plaque in the Foyer of the Coccia Theatre, symbolising their fundamental role in the history of the Award and the city of Novara. The Patrons undertake to keep Guido Cantelli's memory alive, contributing significantly to the cultural and artistic growth of the community.

«The Cantelli Award is one of the most prestigious projects of our Coccia Theatre», says Fabio Ravanelli, President of the Foundation and Patron of the Cantelli Award. «We are deeply proud that this award not only honours the memory of one of Italy’s most distinguished conductors but also promotes our Novara in the world. The Cantelli Award supports and promotes excellence in conducting, preserving a cultural legacy that inspires and nurtures future generations of musical talents. As a member of the Cantelli Award Patrons’ Group, I share the collective vision that identifies art and culture as vital elements for social progress and the enrichment of human life in general. We are proud that the Cantelli Award is an ideal bridge between our city and the international art world, as well as a prestigious showcase supporting new generations of musicians».

Over the past few days, the winning piece of the Call for Composers of the 2024 Cantelli Award was also selected: the technical committee – chaired by director Corinne Baroni and composed of composers Federico Biscione, Alberto Cara, Cristian Carrara, Marco Taralli and conductor Alessandro Calcagnile – examined the 66 scores (also a record number for 2024) received from all over the world and unanimously chose the winning piece: Variazioni Sinfoniche by Gianluca Piombo, a composer born in 1995 in Adria, Italy. Here is the statement of the committee: «Gianluca Piombo’s piece was selected in consideration of the technical and aesthetic peculiarities displayed in its score, but even more so in consideration of the fact that it best corresponded to the type of symphonic work that the Coccia Theatre in Novara wished to commission to be included in the selection programme of a Conducting Competition». The piece will be part of the programme of the concert on 6 October, which will also include performances of Symphony No. 3 in F major op. 90 by Johannes Brahms, the symphonic poem Don Juan by Richard Strauss, and the Overture from I vespri siciliani by Giuseppe Verdi. The call for composers is supported by the Rotary Club Novara and Itof.

The prizes that will be awarded during the finals on 6 October will be: First prize, 12,000 euros offered by CM – We design Experience; Second prize, 8,000 euros offered by Techbau; Third prize, 5,000 euros offered by Fondazione Banca Popolare di Novara; Jury of Critics Prize, 2.000 euros sponsored by Stangalino Costruzioni; Jury of Agents – Managers Prize, 2,000 euros sponsored by Righetti Mobili; Jury of the City Prize, 1,500 euros sponsored by the Municipality of Novara; Friends of the Coccia Theatre Jury Prize, 1,500 euros sponsored by the Friends of Coccia Theatre; Young – Empathy Jury Prize, 1,000 euros sponsored by Itof. Finally, the Orchestra Prize will be awarded with which the professors of the Milan Symphony Orchestra will select the most deserving candidate.

The main Jury of the award is chaired by Günter Neuhold, internationally renowned conductor, doyen of the Austro-German school. He will work alongside two Italian protagonists of the opera and concert scene, such as Riccardo Frizza (Artistic Advisor of the Cantelli Award, Music Director of the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Art Group - HRSO; Music Director of the Donizetti Opera Festival in Bergamo) and Corrado Rovaris (Jack Mulroney Music Director of the Philadelphia Opera Company), and some representatives of prestigious concert institutions such as Numa Bischof Ullmann (Superintendent of the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester; Superintendent and Artistic Director of Lucerne’s “Le Piano Symphonique” Festival with Martha Argerich, “pianiste associée”), Mauro Bucarelli (Artistic Secretary of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia), Didier de Cottignies (Artistic Director of the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra) and Cristina Rocca (Vice-President The Richard and Mary L. Gray Chair of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association – artistic administration).

Guido Cantelli was a podium meteor, who shone a light on the world’s most important concert halls and theatres with his smile, professionalism and genius qualities for just over ten years. Born in Novara on 27 April 1920, he made his debut at the Coccia Theatre in his hometown in 1943: and it was in the same theatre, on 17 November 1956, that he conducted his last concert, with the Orchestra of the Teatro alla Scala of which he had been appointed permanent conductor the previous day. A week later, on 23 November, the plane that should have taken him to New York once again, crashed to the ground immediately after take-off from Paris’s Orly Airport. Acknowledged by Arturo Toscanini as his most authentic heir, Cantelli represented for Italy the link between the late Romantic school of conducting and a modern conductor, whose repertoire also ranged from early music to contemporary. To honour his memory, in 1961 the Provincial Tourism Board of Novara established the “Guido Cantelli” International Award for young conductors. After a 40-year hiatus, thanks to the efforts of Corinne Baroni, then appointed director of the Coccia Theatre in Novara, in 2020 the Cantelli Award resumed its path. The last two editions (in 2020 with Donato Renzetti Jury President and in 2022 with Sebastian Schwarz as Jury President) confirmed the award’s history by presenting among selected participants several talents who are now pursuing a rising career such as Tianyi Lu (winner of the 11th edition), Bertie Baigent, Diego Ceretta, Dmitry Matvienko, Cristian Spătaru and Toby Thatcher.

The 13th edition of the Guido Cantelli International Conducting Award is organised by the Carlo Coccia Theatre Foundation in Novara in collaboration with the City of Novara and the Milan Symphony Orchestra, with the contribution of the Ministry of Culture, under the auspices of the Piedmont Region, and with the support of Fondazione Banca Popolare di Novara, CM – We Design Experience, Camera di Commercio Monte Rosa, Laghi e Alto Piemonte, Techbau, Fondazione Comunità Novarese Onlus, L’Angolo delle Ore, Itof, Righetti Mobili, Stangalino Costruzioni, Amici del Teatro Coccia, Rotary Club Novara. The partners of the Cantelli Award are “Guido Cantelli” Conservatory of Novara, Agenzia Turistica per la Promozione Locale, Sconfinarte, Giovani dietro le quinte.

Coccia Theatre Foundation in Novara
Via Fratelli Rosselli 47 - 28100 Novara
Tel. +39 0321 233200


Press Office of the 13th edition of the “Guido Cantelli” International Conducting Award
Esserci Lab srl
Floriana Tessitore | Walter Vitale +39 3335243419 press@premiocantelli.it

Milano, 21 June 2024 (w.v.)