The 26-year-old German conductor Niklas Benjamin Hoffmann has won the 2016 Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition. He received his award from the Duke of Kent at London's Barbican Centre last night at the end of a closely-contested final, in which each of the three finalists conducted the LSO in Verdi’s The Force of Destiny Overture, five movements from Elgar’s Enigma Variations and a movement each from Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances.
The competition jury included Sir Antonio Pappano, Carlo Rizzi, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Yuri Temirkanov and the soprano Dame Felicity Lott. For his prize, Hoffmann will receive £15,000 to support an area of specialist study and will become the LSO's Assistant Conductor for a year.
Hoffmann studied conducting at the Franz Liszt University of Music, Weimar, and is chief conductor of the academic orchestra in Göttingen. He is also a composer.
The Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition is a biennial competition, the previous winner was Elim Chan, who will become Chief Conductor of NorrlandsOperan, Sweden, in 2017. Other previous winners of the competition include David Afkham (2008), who is now Principal Conductor of the Spanish National Orchestra and Chorus, and François-Xavier Roth (a joint-winner in 2000), who is currently General Music Director of the City of Cologne, leading both the Gürzenich Orchestra and the Opera.