bamberger symphoniker

extraordinary city.
extraordinary orchestra.

In preparation for the Mahler Competition 2020, the Bamberg Symphony, together with both the regional and state authorities responsible, have developed a concept for how the competition can take place in compliance with all current guidelines. The basis for this concept is the framework issued by the Bavarian State Ministry for Health and the Ministry for Science and Art. Hygiene measures include distancing regulations, regulating the number of visitors, introducing a guidance system for audiences and backstage, and creating specifications for contactless interaction and hygiene stations. They will also include travel regulations concerning the countries our international participants will arriving from. Fortunately, the majority of our candidates and jury members will have been in Germany or the EU for some time. This will mean that the journey to Bamberg is possible due to the currently applicable regulations.
Due to these fortunate circumstances, it will be possible for us to conduct the competition in an artistically meaningful way with international participation and thus make a contribution to the revival of cultural life. All of us, our participants and jurors, are aware of the special responsibilities in these difficult times. For us, this also means looking for ways in which we can conduct cultural encounters responsibly, with a focus on the health of all. As only a limited audience can be present within the concert hall, we will broadcast a live stream for all of the competition rounds, which will be available worldwide and free of charge.
We are in contact with the responsible authorities for candidates and jurors arriving from Non-EU countries to clarify whether or not, and under which conditions, travel can be possible. All measures can be adapted at any time and participants will only be able to come to Bamberg with the approval of the authorities.

Remember: Venezuelan Gustavo Dudamel was the winner of our new competition in 2004, and the other, Lahav Shani of Israel, followed nine years later. But also a whole series of other competition and award winners have taken considerable careers from Bamberg and achieved significant positions. All this proves why ‘The Mahler Competition’ was immediately ranked among the most important conductor competitions internationally. We also expect about 500 applications from all over the world for the upcoming sixth edition of the competition. We offer conditions that no other competition can match: participation is free and all travel and subsistence expenses are covered. Our orchestra is available to everyone from the first round to longer than anywhere else - and in full cast!

Even those who cannot make it to the finals are invited to stay until the final concert and to take individual advice and lasting experiences from Bamberg through discussions with members of the jury and the orchestra. The winner will also enjoy multi-year career coaching. All this is possible only thanks to generous financial support, which we were allowed to experience from the beginning, especially from the Friends of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, Brose Fahrzeugteile GmbH & Co. Kommanditgesellschaft in Hallstadt and the Oberfrankenstiftung.

29 June - 5 July 2020


Marina Mahler (Patronesse of the Competition and Honorary Member of the Jury), Jakub Hrůša (Principal Conductor of the Bamberg Symphony and President of the Jury), Barbara Hannigan (Conductor and Singer), Juanjo Mena (Principal Conductor of the Cincinnati May Festival and Associate Conductor of the Spanish National Orchestra), Lahav Shani (Chief Conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and Music Director Designate of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra), John Carewe (Conductor), Mark Stringer (Professor for Orchestra Conducting at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna), Miroslav Srnka (Composer), Pamela Rosenberg (former Managing Director and CEO of the Berlin Philharmonic) Martin Campbell-White (Consultant and Founder of Askonas Holt and President of the Mahler Foundation Santa Cruz USA), Ara Guzelimian (Provost and Dean, The Juilliard School, and Artistic Director of the Ojai Music Festival), Marcus Rudolf Axt (Managing Director and CEO of the Bamberg Symphony), Martin Timphus (Member of the Orchestral Board of Bamberg Symphony)


  • Gustav Mahler
    Symphony No. 4 G Major for soprano and orchestra 
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Symphony No. 26 in E flat Major K. 184
  • Anton Webern
    Variations for Orchestra op. 30
  • Helmut Lachenmann
  • Miroslav Srnka
    move 04 «Memory Full» (Premiere)


  • 1st Price € 30.000,-
  • 2nd Price € 20.000,-
  • 3rd Price € 10.000,-

Price winners and jury members since 2004