Awards Ceremony/Press Conference
AWARDS PRESENTATION CEREMONY
We would like to thank all the guests here today for taking time out of their busy schedules to join us. Thanks to your support, this marks the 16th Tokyo International Music Competition for Conducting, 45 years since its inception in 1967.
The judges of this competition are master conductors in Japan, in the conducting world, and representatives of the world of music. It is an unexpected joy that this contest has become such a significant international competition as a gateway to success for conductors across the globe, both in name and in substance.
I would like to give my heartfelt thanks for the efforts and services of Mr. Toyama, Chairperson of the Panel of Judges, and all of the members of the nominating and executive committees; the sponsorship of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Agency for Cultural Affairs, Tokyo Metropolitan Government, NHK, and ASAHI Breweries, LTD; and the cooperation of Association of Japanese Orchestras and Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall.
And above all, I would like to thank everyone from the New Japan Philharmonic and Tokyo Symphony Orchestra from the bottom of my heart for their continuous performances during judging. I would also like to say a word of appreciation to everyone who attended.
180 hopefuls from 29 countries and regions applied to this year's competition. From these, 24 applicants from nine countries were chosen through the screening of documents and video footage in June to take part in the first preliminary round. Following the second preliminary round, just three elite individuals representing two countries remained to give full rein to their exceptional talent in today's finals.
Mr. Toyama, Chairperson of the Panel, will present the results shortly, so I will make my speech brief. No matter the results, it is my sincere wish that each individual who participated in this year's competition make the most of their results as a sure step towards their future.
Press Conference to Announce the Winners
(Executive Representative, Min-On Concert Association)
Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to join us here today. I'd like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for your deep understanding and warm support for Min-On's activities.
First, I would like to express my deep gratitude to Mr. Yuzo Toyama and the others on the panel of judges for their fair and impartial judging, and to all the members of the orchestras who performed for our participants.
Let me explain a little bit about the judging process. This year's competition had 180 applicants from 29 countries and regions. Through impartial screening of documents and video footage, 24 applicants from nine countries and one region qualified for the first preliminary round.
Seven conductors representing five countries passed the first preliminary round. Just three individuals from two countries made it past the second preliminary round to the finals.
The results of yesterday's finals (November 4) did not yield a first, second, or third prize winner. Our three finalists--Yuko Tanaka, Maja Metelska, and Mayana Ishizaki--were each awarded an honorable mention and an incentive award.
Maja Metelska was also awarded the special Hideo Saito Award. Mayana Ishizaki was awarded the "Audience Award", an award introduced this year in which a poll of the audience was taken and given to the participant with the most votes from the audience. Ms. Ishizaki also received a gift of one hundred thousand yen from the Min-On Concert Association.
The 1st Tokyo International Music Competition for Conducting was held in 1967 and turns 45 this year. Thanks to the efforts of many conducting maestros such as the first Nominating Committee Chairperson Hideo Saito, his successor Takashi Asahina, and presently Yuzo Toyama, the Tokyo International Music Competition for Conducting has built a proud history and tradition which is held in high esteem as an international competition representative of Asia.
As you know, the competition acts as a gateway to success for young conductors. To date, there have been 39 winners and more than 37 individuals who have gained honorable mentions for a total of 76 individuals from 16 different countries. As I'm sure you're all aware, many of our finalists have gone on to astonishingly success in their careers.
As an organizer of the competition, I am overjoyed to contribute to the musical activities and further success of the outstanding talent I have mentioned above.
A new chapter in the competition's history was written this year as all of our finalists were women. I have great hopes for the future endeavors of our finalists. Our participants could be seen at the reception venue after the awards ceremony listening intently to what the judges had to say. I look forward to the future growth of our teenage, twenty-something, and female participants.
I will continue to work in cooperation with our judges to support world-leading musical talent through this competition so that it may continue to be a gateway to success for young conductors.
I would also like to express my sincere thanks to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Tokyo Metropolitan Government, NHK, and the Association of Japanese Symphony Orchestras for their cooperation, and to Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall for the use of this fabulous venue. I would also like to thank Asahi Breweries, Ltd. for its support, and to express my deepest gratitude to the organizing committee, executive committee, panel of judges, and everyone who had a hand in this competition.
Let me again express my gratitude to everyone who made time to attend today, and it is my hope that you will continue to lend your understanding and support to the Tokyo International Music Competition for Conducting.
Message from the Chairman of the Panel of Judges
I have judged the Tokyo International Music Competition for Conducting since its inception, sitting next to such virtuosos as Hideo Saito, the competition's first chairperson, and his successor Takashi Asahina. The judges of this year's panel had an especially international outlook and sensitivity. I spent some time together with the judges, but they paid no particular attention to any participant's nationality, ethnicity, or sex. Each individual gave their opinions freely. When the time came to make a decision on our finalists, there were points of contention between judges, but there was hardly any conflict. There was no forced judging at all this time.
It is a very difficult thing for young conductors to make their way into the musical world. In fact, it can be very desperate. If this competition is one opportunity for young conductors to achieve success in the world, we are extremely happy for them and will continue to offer our support in any capacity possible.
From the Judges
I would like to express my gratitude for the invitation to judge such a wonderful competition.
My first experience with Min-On Concert Association was in 1980 when the Vienna State Opera came to perform in Japan. That contact with Min-on left a fantastic lasting impression on me, which I have confirmed in my experiences this time around. There are many competitions around the world, but I am deeply impressed and grateful for how smoothly this marvelous competition was organized and managed.
The two orchestras, New Japan Philharmonic and Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, during the preliminaries and finals enhanced our contestants' performances tremendously. It couldn't have been easy to accommodate the nervous contestants. Unfortunately there were no winners this year, but I believe that it had meaning for the future growth of each contestant.
First of all, Chairman Hiroyasu Kobayashi's management of the competition was phenomenal. Chairman Toyama led the judging as if an extremely wise navy captain.
The fact that the competition has finished means that it has become history. That women have made it to the finals is one step in the development of its history. There aren't many female conductors to begin with, and there aren't as many men as in other genres. There are statues of famous composers, but there are none of conductors. I hope that our participants will become conductors worthy of becoming the first.
I am thankful for the organizers of the competition and wish them success for the future.
I had the opportunity to judge this competition three years ago. Learning to conduct is very difficult and much different than practicing piano. You need to have opportunities to actually conduct an orchestra. I believe that providing an opportunity to practice is wonderful, no matter the size of the orchestra.
I have been a judge for many years at a variety of competitions. This competition was organized wonderfully, and I feel that each of the contestants was able to perform in good condition.
A conductor's future potential can only be seen in adulthood.
A young Japanese once won a competition in France. He was young and unknown at the time, but the judges bet on his future potential. That was Seiji Ozawa. I anticipate the future potential of the contestants of this year's competition.
Remarks from the Finalists
Maja Metelska (Poland)
This competition is renowned around the world, and I am grateful to have had the privilege to conduct two wonderful orchestras during it.
I am also honored to have received the Hideo Saito Award. I will use my participation in this competition to work harder than ever.
Mayana Ishizaki (Japan)
Thank you to everyone in the orchestras and to all the judges. I was able to conduct two wonderful orchestras, and now I see what it is I have to learn from now on. I would like to express my gratitude.
Yuko Tanaka (Japan)
By conducting two different orchestras in the preliminaries and finals, I was able to intimately feel the differences in conducting each in a short period of time. I would like to thank this competition for giving an inexperienced conductor such as myself the opportunity to conduct in such a great atmosphere.