by RUDOLPH TANG posted on DECEMBER 23, 2013

Press Release




Salzburg, December 22, 2013. – The Nestlé and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award, which has become one of the most coveted prizes for young conductors, goes into its fifth round.

In its fifth year, candidates from four continents showed interest in this international award for young conductors. Altogether, 82 persons applied.

The jury chose seven candidates from the applications; these were then invited to conduct works by Schoenberg, Varèse, Dalbavie and Ligeti live at the Haus für Mozart.

Thus, the selection process focused more strongly on contemporary music and made the choice of finalists more transparent. Following the rehearsal day with the “oesterreichisches ensemble für neue musik” (oenm, or austrian ensemble for new music), which was closed to the public, the jury chaired by Ingo Metzmacher selected the following three finalists.  

 Victor Aviat (31) from France

Leo McFall (32) from Great Britain

Maxime Pascal (28) from France

The audience participates fully in the Award Concert Weekend (February 28, March 1 and 2, 2014), when the recipient of the award – a cash value of € 15,000 – is chosen, who also conducts a Festival concert on August 17, 2014.

Award Concert Weekend – February 28, March 1 and 2, 2014

For the third time, the three finalists will be invited to conduct one concert each at the Felsenreitschule with one of the partner orchestras as part of the “Award Concert Weekend”.

Concert Dates:


Friday, February 28, 2014, 7:30 pm, Felsenreitschule
Conductor: Maxime Pascal
Camerata Salzburg
Soloist: Ramón Ortega Quero, Oboe

Saturday, March 1, 2014, 7:30 pm, Felsenreitschule
Conductor: Leo McFall
|Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg
Soloist: Jan Lisiecki, Piano

Sunday, March 2, 2014, 3:00 pm, Felsenreitschule
Conductor: Victor Aviat
Vorarlberg Symphony Orchestra
Soloist: Veronika Eberle, Violin

The programmes will be chosen by the nominated conductors and publicized at a later date.

After the three concerts, the jury chaired by Ingo Metzmacher will determine the prize winner of the “2014 Nestlé and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award”. The winner will conduct the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra on August 17, 2014 at 11:00 am at the Felsenreitschule.


Finalist Biographies:

Victor Aviat (31)

Victor Aviat was born in Montpellier in 1982. He studied oboe, organ, piano and orchestral conducting in Paris, Geneva and Zurich and has won numerous oboe competitions (e.g. Karuizawa, Petritoli, Kiwanis). Victor Aviat was a member of the Berlin Philharmonic’s Karajan Academy and has performed as a principal oboist with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, the Orchestra Mozart, the Ensemble of the Berlin Philharmonic, the CBSO, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Budapest Festival Orchestra; he held the same position at the Zurich Opera, where he was principal English horn player. In 2010 he resigned from this position in order to concentrate on conducting. That same year, he was a semi-finalist at the Concours International de Direction d’Orchestre Evgeny Svetlanov and founded ORCHESTRA zurich together with musicians of the Tonhalle Orchestra, Zurich Opera Orchestra and Zurich Chamber Orchestra. In 2011 he made his debut with the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg and in 2012 with the Orchestre National de Montpellier. Since 2011 he has assisted Iván Fischer regularly at the Budapest Festival Orchestra, including a production of Le Nozze di Figaro in 2013. Victor Aviat has participated in master classes with Bernard Haitink and David Zinman.

Leo McFall (32)
Aged 32, the British conductor Leo McFall studied with Leif Segerstam and Jorma Panula at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki; he completed his master’s degree in conducting with Johannes Schlaefli at the Zurich Academy of the Arts. He has been invited as a guest conductor to the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the Chicago Civic Orchestra, the Oulu Sinfonia, the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, the Kymi Sinfonietta, the Bergische Symphoniker, the North-West German Philharmonic, the Nürnberg Symphony Orchestra, the Bremen Philharmonic and the Göttingen Symphony Orchestra. From 2007 to 2010 Leo McFall was assistant conductor at the Glyndebourne Festival, working with Edward Gardner, Jiří Bělohlávek and Harry Bicket. Leo McFall enjoys a particularly close cooperation with Bernard Haitink, whom he has assisted at concerts with the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the European Union Youth Orchestra. In 2009 he substituted for Bernard Haitink on the podium of the Chicago Civic Orchestra with great success. He has received scholarships from the German Music Council, among others, and attended courses with Herbert Blomstedt, Bernhard Kontarsky, Jun Märkl and Markus Poschner.

Since 2012 Leo McFall has been First Kapellmeister at the Meiningen Theatre and since 2013 assistant conductor of the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra. The young conductor’s future schedule includes his debuts with the Spanish RTVE Orchestra, the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra Ohio, the Janáček Philharmonic of Ostrava and various opera productions at the Meiningen Theatre.

Maxime Pascal (28)
Aged 28, the Frenchman Maxime Pascal studied conducting with François-Xavier Roth at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique et de Danse in Paris. In 2011 he won the Simone and Cino del Duca Prize of the Academie des Beaux-Arts.

Since 2008 he has been music director of the orchestra Le Balcon and the Impromptu Orchestra, appearing at major festivals such as the IRCAM Festival, the Berlioz Festival and the Paris Summer Festival. He has gathered international experience in Belgium, for example, where he conducted the Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra, at the Australian BIFEM Festival in Melbourne and in the Ukraine. In 2012 he participated in a master class with George Benjamin as part of the International Ensemble Modern Academy; in 2013 this was followed by the Stockhausen Summer Course with Kathinka Pasveer and Suzanne Stephens, where he performed a Stockhausen concert with his Le Balcon ensemble. 2014 appearances will take Maxime Pascal to France, Australia and Kazakhstan.


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