an blog | AJBlog Central | Contact me | Advertise | Follow me:

Young Brit wins Salzburg baton shootout on penalties

Jamie Phillips, 20, was one of three finalists in the 2012 Nestlé and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award. The judges split 5:5 between him and the Lithuanian, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, 26.

It came down to casting vote by chairman Ingo Metzmacher, and he went for the Lithuanian on grounds of ‘greater determination and clarity’ (whatever that is supposed to mean).

No sooner was the verdict announced than Salzburg boss Alexander Pereira came bouncing up to Jamie and awarded him a concert with Camerata Salzburg at the 2013 summer festival. Consolation prize? No way. Grazynte gets to conduct a youth orchestra as her reward. Jamie gets a major festival grown-up debut. Result!

Watch our boy go. Press release below.

Press Release


Nestlé and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award 2012

The 2012 Winner Is Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla


SF, April 30, 2012. The winner of the 2012 “Nestlé and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award”, held this year for the third time, is a young woman from Lithuania: Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla.


26-year-old Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla from Lithuania convinced the international jury chaired by Ingo Metzmacher at the Award Concert Weekend, when she performed at the Felsenreitschule with the Camerata Salzburg.
“It was a very close call. In the end, greater determination and clarity was the crucial factor,” said Metzmacher.

The idea of the Festival’s Artistic Director – introducing the three final candidates to the Salzburg audience in one concert weekend – met with widespread acclaim.

On the whole, there were 91 applicants. The prize carries a cash value of 15,000 Euros and is awarded every year to a young conductor under the age of 35. In addition, the winner will conduct the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra on August 12, 2012 at a Festival concert at the Felsenreitschule.

Spontaneously, Artistic Director Alexander Pereira declared that the decision had been so close that 20-year-old Jamie Phillips from Great Britain would have the opportunity to conduct Camerata Salzburg at the Salzburg Festival in 2013.

Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, President on the Nestlé Board, was deeply impressed with the abilities of the young Lithuanian conductor: “Once again, the initiative of the ‘Nestlé and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award’ shows how important it is to give young talents such a renowned platform for presentation as the Salzburg Festival. It is not only an honorable task to support international, young talent, but it also is important for society as a whole. This weekend has once again brought home to me the shared vision of Nestlé and the Salzburg Festival: a passion for extraordinary quality.”

“Discovering and supporting young talents is one of the most fascinating and pleasant tasks of any cultural institution. Of course, young conductors have a particularly hard time finding a platform and thus, being heard. The Nestlé and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award wishes to improve this situation. The gratifyingly high number of applicants shows how attractive this opportunity is for rising young conductors. We are looking forward very much to giving Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla the chance to conduct the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra,” Artistic Director Alexander Pereira said.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Well done to Jamie!

    I’ve heard him conduct his own Orchestra twice (Birmingham Festival Orchestra) and have been very impressed with him indeed, never mind his young age.

    He is certainly going places.


  2. Maestro Flash Montoya says:

    With all respect to the winners, I must say that having Ingo Metzmacher chair a conducting competition is only slightly better than having a dolphin preside over a spelling bee. I’ve experienced some of the worst and most careless interpretations under his baton. As for his technique, it’s deplorable.

  3. dobardan says:

    Dear Mr Lebrecht,

    It is great to have more than one young conductor that seem to have a promising mix of talent, determination and authority (well, I’m sure there are even more who just did not enter the contest). And I understand that you are happy for “your boy”. But is that reason enough to belittle an excellent orchestra?

    Your words: “Consolation prize? No way. Grazynte gets to conduct a youth orchestra as her reward. Jamie gets a major festival grown-up debut. Result!”

    I hope that the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra is not just an insignificant “youth orchestra” for you … It will perform at the Salzburg Festival 2012 like all the other “grown-ups”!

  4. He is good at acting out role of conductor ,sort of restrained English Dudamel -one has suspicion he
    absorbed all listening to records reminds one of those children whose parents post their conducting
    abilities on you tube .

an ArtsJournal blog