Dmitry Matvienko wins the Malko contest
Dmitry Matvienko was crowned winner of the Malko Conducting Competition 2021. The 30-year-old Belarusian went through three intense trials, which started in Copenhagen on June 7, to reach the final on June 12. One of the three finalists, he conducted the Danish National Symphony Orchestra in the masquerade Overture and first movement of Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony. Subsequently, the jury of the triennial competition – chaired this year by the conductor of the Danish national OS, Fabio Luisi – awarded him the first prize. As a result, Matvienko will conduct concerts with 24 international orchestras, including 13 in the Nordic region, and will receive 20,000 euros in prize money. He also received the Audience Award, worth an additional 1,500 euros, as well as three years of mentoring from Luisi.
Matvienko first trained as a chorister and choirmaster. He studied conducting at the Moscow Conservatory and in 2017 joined the conductor internship program of the Russian National Philharmonic Orchestra. OS Svetlanov hired him to assist conductor Vladimir Jurowski (among others); for the world premiere of Vustin The devil in love at the Stanislavski Theater in February 2019, he was Jurowski’s assistant and then directed his own performances. Since April 2020, he is an affiliated conductor of the Belarusian National Opera and Ballet Theater.
One of the first 24 contestants, all born after June 12, 1986, Matvienko conducted Mozart’s Overture Cosí fan tutte in the first round, an extract from Brahms’ Third Symphony in the second, and, in the semi-final, the Fire Bird and Britta Byström A drama in the air, specially written for the occasion – plus the first movement from Sibelius’ Violin Concerto with soloist Johannes Søe Hansen. He was, said contest commentator Andrew Mellor, “an obvious candidate to go all the way.”
Chinese Linhan Cui, 27, finished in second place and received a prize of 15,000 euros (“She comes to life on the podium”, according to Mellor); in third place and receiving 12,000 euros, was the French conductor Chloé Dufresne, 29, whose performance of Debussy’s piece Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun in the semi-finals was a highlight. The three finalists in this year’s competition, which has attracted conductors from around the world since 1965, will also benefit from the guidance and support of career consultant and liaison artist Jessica Ford.
Asked immediately after his success, Matvienko was clearly at a loss for words. “I’m just really happy,” he said. “Today we played with our hearts. He then revealed that being able to lead the Danish National OS had been a fantastic experience: “I am very happy that part of the first prize is to have the opportunity to conduct other excellent orchestras during the coming year, ”he said.