Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO) music director and principal conductor of the Maestro Olivier Ochanine won the first prize in the recently concluded first edition of the Antal Dorati International Conducting Competition held in Budapest, Hungary on November 28.
Maestro Ochanine shared the first prize with Azerbaijan conductor Orkahn Hashimov. The second prize was won by Joost Smeets from The Netherlands.
The three conductors went through three gruelling competition rounds before they reached the final round. These were the eliminations on November 23, which saw the participation of 120 conductors from different parts of the world; the 2nd round on November 25 wherein the competitors were narrowed down to 30; and the semi-finals on November 26 wherein the competitors were narrowed down to 10. The conductors were down to three on the final round.
During the finals, Maestro Ochanine, while suffering from the pain of post-surgery for a fractured fifth metacarpal on his right hand, conducted two pieces: the first movement of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 “Pathetique”, and the competition piece “Cyclos,” a new work by Italian composer Andrea Portera. His performance greatly impressed the jury led by renowned Hungarian pianist and conductor Tamás Vásáry.
As part of his prize, Maestro Ochanine will have the opportunity to conduct the Budapest Symphony Orchestra MAV, the “I virtuosi italiani” Orchestra in Verona, Italy, and the “F. Chopin” Philharmonic Orchestra in Danzic, Poland on its 2016/2017 season.
He will also have the chance to participate in the 2016/2017 season of the Eszterházy Vigasságok (Festival) in the Hungarian Esterházy Castle. A contract proposal with Contempoars International Artists Agency is also in the offing.
Ochanine began his music studies in France. He went on to take studies in the United States, then expanding to orchestral conducting and taking graduate studies while attending master classes with some of the best mentors in the US. He obtained his master’s degree in Conducting from the University of Southern California (USC) and began his doctoral studies in Orchestral Conducting at the Cincinatti College-Conservatory of Music under Mark Gibson. He is on his sixth and last season as music director and principal conductor of PPO.
The competition is named after Antal Dorati, the late world renowned Hungarian conductor and composer who died in 1988.