Presentation of the competition

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 2 years.
With a repertoire which spans classical, Romantic, 20th century, and contemporary music, as well as oratorio, oper, the Besançon Conducting Competition is the most complete competition in the world. A real marathon, not only for the candidates but also for the public.

Alexander Gibson, Sergiu Comissiona, Gerd Albrecht, Seiji Ozawa, Michel Plasson, Zdenek Macal, Jiri Kout, 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.

Download the list of the laureats of the Competition since the first edition.

Specificities of the Besançon Competition

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 !

Grand Prix : €12,000. The laureate may also be offered engagements with the Competition’s partner orchestras, as well a three-month period of artistic guidance (advice and coaching) by Aimée Paret. The jury can award a Special Mention.

Partners of the Competition

The Competition is made possible thanks to the collaboration of :

  • Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication
  • Ville de Besançon
  • Conseil Régional Bourgogne – Franche-Comté
  • Conseil Départemental du Doubs
  • Conservatoire central de Beijing
  • Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler Berlin
  • Faculté de Musique de l’Université de Montréal
    In association with the Faculty of Music of the University of Montreal and the Conducting Research Program led by professor Paolo Bellomia, financed by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation and the Culture and Society Research Foundation (Quebec)
  • With the support of Caisse des Dépôts, patron of the Competition


Previous editions

Click on the picture


The Competition in videos

Four minutes to discover the Besançon Competition

26 minutes TV Report by France 3 Bourgogne-Franche-Comté

Some previous winners