Nathanael Iselin, 2021

The Contestants (in alphabetical order)

Bénati Félix

Bénati Félix, France

Currently assistant conductor at Orchestre National de Lille and Orchestre Français des Jeunes, Félix Benati is guest conductor at Orchestre Elektra and Ensemble Multilatérale for the season of 2023‒2024. Last year he assisted Mikko Franck with Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio-France in Strauss lyrical repertoire, Benjamin Levy with Orchestre National de Cannes in Russian repertoire, and Chloé Dufresne at the Philharmonie de Paris. He was semi-finalist in the Donatella Flick Conducting Competition 2023 and

Ferenc Fricsay Conducting Competition 2023, and an active participant at the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester Workshop 2022. In France, Félix worked with Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire, Ensemble InterContemporain, Orchestre de Picardie, and Orchestre Régional de Normandie, and with great conductors such as Mikko Franck, Arie van Beek, Pascal Rophé, and Bertrand de Billy. He assisted Lucie Leguay in Johann Strauss’ “Die Fledermaus” in March 2022 at the Philharmonie de Paris.

Cagnasso Francesco

Cagnasso Francesco, Italy / Switzerland

Francesco Cagnasso is Assistant Conductor at the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester (KKL) under Chief Conductor Michael Sanderling since January 2024. Since the season of 2022‒2023, he is holding the same position at the Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz (Germany) and is working closely with Chief Conductor Micheal Francis. In 2021‒2023 he held the scholarship by the Forum Dirigieren and was a finalist of the Kritisches Orchester Berlin 2022.

He is also invited to participate in the Malko Competition for Young Conductors 2024 in Copenhagen, where he will conduct the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. Francesco Cagnasso has taken part in several masterclasses and received valuable advice from conductors including Daniele Gatti, Tomas Netopil, Ole Kristian Ruud, Johannes Schlaefli, Kirk Trevor, Nicolás Pasquet, and Pavel Baleff.

Castro Grinstein Anna

Castro Grinstein Anna, Spain

Anna Castro Grinstein will make her conducting debut in the UK at 2024’s Opera Holland Park festival, conducting performances of Rossini’s Barber of Seville within OHP’s Young Artist Programme. In 2023 she was conducting fellow for the Aix-en-Provence Festival, conducting a concert program with the Balthasar Neumann Orchestra. She is a Britten Pears Young Artist for the season of 2023‒2024, working in a joint program with the Royal Opera House’s Jette Parker Young Artist focusing on contemporary opera.

Additionally, she was a selected candidate for the German Conducting Award, conducting both the Gürzenich Orchester and the WDR Sinfonieorchester. In 2022, she served as assistant conductor for the National Symphony Orchestra of Argentina assisting Mariano Chiacchiarini and supported by Barbara Hannigan’s young artist initiative “Momentum: Our Future Now”. She has been awarded scholarships by the German Music Council and the Goethe Institute.

Dickopf Katharina

Dickopf Katharina, Germany

Katharina Dickopf is currently completing her master’s degree in orchestral conducting in Dresden and has served as a substitute for the first Kapellmeister at the Mecklenburg State Theatre Schwerin last season. She has worked as an assistant and conductor at various reputable institutions, including the Mecklenburg State Theatre Schwerin, Theater Heidelberg, Staatsoperette Dresden, and the Landesbühnen Sachsen. In these roles she has led her own productions and worked on notable operas such as “Katja Kabanowa” by Leoš Janáček, “Hänsel und Gretel” by Engelbert Humperdinck, and

“Tannhäuser” by Richard Wagner. Her experience spans across various genres, including musicals, ballet, and contemporary music. Her experience in collaborating with orchestras ranges from working with amateur ensembles to renowned professional orchestras, such as the MDR Symphony Orchestra and the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, as well as international orchestras such as the Cairo Symphony Orchestra and the Belgrade Symphony Orchestra. While she is passionate about the romantic repertoire, she also is a supporter of contemporary music and innovative concert formats.

Gwizdalla Mateusz

Gwizdalla Mateusz, Poland

Besides his conducting activities Mateusz Gwizdałła is an accomplished composer, singer and trumpetist. His studies include 2021–2024 MA Orchestral Conducting (Prof. Sakari Oramo Sibelius Academy, Uniarts Helsinki, Finland), 2016–2019 MA Symphonic and Operatic Conducting (Prof. UMFC dr hab. Monika Wolińska, Fryderyk Chopin University of Music, Warsaw, Poland), 2012–2015 Double degree BMus (Jazz Composition) & BPA (Performing Arts/Theatre Making, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia).
He has experience conducting academy-related performances with Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra,

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Tapiola Sinfonietta, Tampere Philharmonic, Oulu Symphony Orchestra, Joensuu City Orchestra, Jyväskylä Sinfonia, and Vaasa City Orchestra, as well as Sibelius Academy ensembles including contemporary ensemble NYKY. In 2023 he assisted Nicholas Collon with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra at Helsinki Concert Hall testing rehearsals for the new organ. He has also had the opportunity to work as guest conductor for Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra and as assistant to Sakari Oramo, Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, and Oulu Symphony Orchestra.

Haugli Guro

Haugli Guro, Norway

Guro Ansteensen Haugli is a Norwegian conductor educated at the University of Stavanger and Musikene, San Sebastian. In 2023 she was selected as assistant conductor of the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra. Guro was a participant of the Norwegian conductor’s program Dirigentforum during a period of 4 years, 2018‒2022. In May 2021, she was one of four conductors at the concert Let’s Play with Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra during Bergen International Festival.
As assistant conductor of the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, she regularly works with chief conductor Andris Poga, as well as visiting conductors. In addition to the assistant position in Stavanger, Guro is working as freelance conductor of different ensembles and orchestras.

She has conducted several of the Norwegian military bands and will have her debut with the Norwegian Army Band in May 2024.
Haugli has participated in masterclasses with renowned conductors including Ed Gardner, Johannes Schlaefli, Mark Stringer, Sascha Goetzel, Anna Maria Helsing, Nicolás Pasquet, Jorma Panula, and Eivind Gullberg Jensen. This includes working with several of Norway’s professional orchestras such as Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, as well as the Budafok Dohnanyi Orchestra and the Südwestdeutsche Filharmoni Konstanz.

Malek Anna

Malek Anna, Germany

Anna Malek gave her conducting debut with W. A. Mozart’s Magic Flute at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin. She currently works as second Kapellmeister and répétiteur at the Staatstheater Augsburg.
Her professional experience includes solo répétiteur and maestra suggeritrice with conducting duties (Staatstheater Darmstadt, Nationaltheater Mannheim (guest)) and chorus master with conducting duties (Theater Lüneburg, Stadttheater Bremerhaven).

She has also conducted several performances in Lüneburg and Bremerhaven and held an honorary professorship for orchestral conducting at Leuphana University Lüneburg.
Anna has completed an additional postgraduate diploma for advanced conductors at the International Conducting Academy of the UdK Berlin (professors: Harry Curtis and Steven Sloane). Her experience is focused on the music of the classical and romantic period, the 20th century, and especially on contemporary music.

Müller-Monod Louise

Müller-Monod Louise, Switzerland

Louise Müller-Monod has recently worked as a ceremony conductor of the l'Oréal-Unesco Prize for Women in Science, in concert with the Orchestre Colonne (Festival Chant de la Terre), the Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège, the Orchestre Pasdeloup, and soloist Guillaume Leroy. She has participated in masterclasses with Johannes Schlaefli ‒ Kammerorchesters Basel 2023, Jorma Panula ‒ Kecskemét Symphony Orchestra (Hungary) in 2023, Oksana Lyniv ‒ solo singers and Orchestra of the Odessa Opera House (Ukraine) in 2021, Jean-François Verdier ‒ Orchestre Victor Hugo Franche Comté

in 2019, and in the public masterclass at the Philharmonie de Paris. In 2021 she graduated as master in orchestral conducting with distinction, class of Robin Engelen at Conservatoire Royal de Bruxelles, Orchestral conducting Diploma with high honours, class of Adrian McDonnell at Schola Cantorum de Paris. Louise currently has positions among others as Musical director of Symphonic orchestra and conservatory of Paris and Musical director of Youth string orchestra in Paris and Melun conservatory.

Måseidvåg Nils Erik

Måseidvåg Nils Erik, Norway

Nils Erik Måseidvåg has already worked repeatedly with many of the top Norwegian orchestras, such as the Oslo Philharmonic, Bergen Philharmonic, Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra, Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, Arctic Philharmonic, Kristiansund Opera, and The Norwegian Radio Orchestra. He also enjoys a close relationship with the professional Norwegian military bands. Based in Copenhagen, he has worked with Odense Symphony Orchestra, The Royal Danish Life Guard’s Wind Band, and Aarhus Symphony Orchestra with whom he had his debut from The Royal Danish Academy of Music in 2020. Here he studied under Giordano Bellincampi and Michael Schønwandt and during his studies also conducted orchestras such as The Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Aalborg Symphony Orchestra, and

Sønderjylland Symphony Orchestra. Prior to his studies at the RDAM he completed a master’s in conducting at the Norwegian Academy of Music under Ole Kristian Ruud. During 2018 and 2019 he performed as Assistant conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, working closely with Chief Conductor Ed Gardner and Juanjo Mena. During this time, he won third price at the Princess Astrid International Music Competition and became a recipient of the Leonie Sonning Talent Prize in 2020. Attending international masterclasses such as The Gstaad Menuhin Conducting Academy and the Järvi Academy, Nils Erik has had the opportunity to learn from conductors such as Mariss Jansons, Manfred Honeck, Johannes Schlaefli, Neeme Järvi, Paavo Järvi, Vasily Petrenko, and Jukka-Pekka Saraste.

Pasquina Serra Noemi

Pasquina Serra Noemi, Spain

Noemí Pasquina is a Catalan cellist and has performed for many years with several orchestras around Spain. She studied orchestra conducting with Andrés Salado and Miguel Romea Academy in Madrid.

She currently works as assistant conductor of Symphonic Orchestra of Valles and the Youth Orchestra of Extremadura. She has also been invited as a guest conductor for different Spanish orchestras.

Petrenko Konstantins

Petrenko Konstantins, Latvia

Konstantins Petrenko is currently a master’s degree conducting student at Jazeps Vitols Latvian academy of music where he studies with Prof. Imants Resnis. He has just returned from his Erasmus exchange program in Royal College of Music in Stockholm where he studied with Prof. B. Tommy Andersson and David Björkman as a substitute teacher.
As a conductor he has experience from working with several professional orchestras in his home country and abroad: Gävle Symphony orchestra (Sweden), Latvian National Symphony orchestra,

Liepaja Symphony orchestra (Latvia), and Symphonic band “Riga” (Latvia).
Konstantins has participated in several conducting competitions; the latest two are Ferenc Fricsay Conducting Competition 2023 and Kodály Competition Debrecen 2023, which were held in Hungary. One of the memorable masterclasses was with Daniel Oren and Filharmonia Śląska in 2022 with focus on opera conducting. He also has experience as an assistant conductor, one of the most important in staging of Berlioz’s “La damnation de Faust” with Liepaja Symphony orchestra.

Sauer Benedikt

Sauer Benedikt, Germany

Benedikt Sauer is a German-Italian conductor. Beside symphonic works, his repertoire includes a huge range of different operas with special focus on Verdi, Belcanto, and Mozart, but also rarities such as Schubert’s operas.
Benedikt has conducted various symphonic concerts in the Czech Republic, Italy, Germany, and Hungary; among others at the Festival Valle d’Itria (July 2023), Smetana Hall (August 2018), the State Theatre Usti Nad Labem (October 2018, April 2019), and the Teatro Nazionale Milano (December 2016) as well as several concerts of sacred music, paying particular attention to historically informed performance.

In 2023, he founded the Neapolitan chamber orchestra Ensemble Mercadante, which, after initial concert successes, is now preparing new recordings of repertoire of the Neapolitan School.
He regularly works as assistant with conductors such as Riccardo Minasi, Gianluca Capuano, and Oleg Caetani. He has also collaborated with Rinaldo Alessandrini and Mikhail Jurowski. As assistant he worked i.a. at Mariinsky Theatre St. Petersburg, Salzburger Festspiele, and Teatro dell’Opera di Roma. His next engagements include concerts at the Teatro Olimpico Vicenza, the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano, and several performances in Romania.

Sieber Joseph

Sieber Joseph, Switzerland

Joseph Sieber is a Swiss pianist and conductor currently living in Paris. This season he has performed with the Lucerne Festival Contemporary Orchestra, the DenverPhilharmonic, the Südwestdeutsche Philharmonie Konstanz, and the Plovdiv Opera Orchestra, among others, and has been invited to the Lovro von Matacic and Fitelberg competitions. He has studied composition, music theory, piano and conducting in Switzerland, England, and the USA, and received the highest distinction for conducting his final recital with the BBC Philharmonic. As assistant he has worked with conductors such

as Marin Alsop and orchestras such as the Philharmonia Orchestra in London. A selection of the most recent masterclasses and assistantships includes: Feb 2024 Denver Philharmonic Orchestra with Prof. Robert Spano & Prof. Lawrence Golan, Sept 2023 Suedwestdeutsche Philharmonie Konstanz – Radolfzell (DE) with Prof. Johannes Schlaefli, Sept 2023 Lucerne Festival Academy – Lucerne (CH) conducting fellow with Baldur Brönnimann & Matthias Pintscher, Aug 2023 Cabrillo Festival – Santa Cruz CA (USA) conducting fellow with Cristian Măcelaru & Octavio Más-Arocas.

Siret Vincent

Siret Vincent, France

Vincent Siret is currently studying Orchestral Conducting at the Sibelius Academy and at the newly created Malko Academy for Young Conductors in Copenhagen. He has previously studied piano, recording, musicology and “pastiche composition” in Paris.
He is also particularly attracted to ballet and contemporary creation but feels familiar and emotionally close to a wide range of musical genres and languages. He completed his Bachelor of Arts, Orchestral Conducting at the Sibelius Academy, and graduated as master of arts,

Musicology at the Conservatoire National De Musique De Paris.
During 2023 he had the opportunity to work as Assistant Conductor with Orchestre Note et Bien, Paris, Principal Conductor with Paris de Vents (Wind Ensemble), and Principal Conductor with Pop Orchestra, Rouen, France, among others. In the last few years, he has taken part in conducting masterclasses with professional orchestras such as Paris Mozart Orchestra, Orchestres Prométhée Colonne, Lamoureux, Pasdeloup, and Jyväskylä Sinfonia.

Sorokine Nikita

Sorokine Nikita, France

In the season of 2023‒2024, Nikita Sorokin assisted Alain Altinoglu with the Frankfurt Radio Orchestra for Shostakovich’s Fourth Symphony. He also assisted Gergely Madaras in staging Shostakovich’s opera The Nose at the Brussels Opera. Other recent conducting engagements include performances with the Orchestre de Picardie, the Miskolc Orchestra, the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra, and the I. Yaushev State Opera and Ballet Theater in Saransk. In the season of 2022‒2023, Nikita assisted Alain Altinoglu with the Frankfurt Radio Orchestra on their tour to the Vienna Musikverein. Other recent

invitations include serving as an assistant to Paul Daniel and the National Bordeaux Orchestra (Rachmaninoff’s Third Symphony), Valentin Uryupin and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra at the Bregenz Festival (U. Giordano’s Siberia), Sebastian Lang-Lessing at the Seoul Opera (G. Verdi’s La Traviata), and Leonard Slatkin with the National Orchestra of Lyon.
Nikita has participated actively at the Tugan Sokhiev Conducting Academy and the National Capitol Orchestra of Toulouse and in annual rehearsal sessions with the Ensemble Intercontemporain.

Staiger Eric

Staiger Eric, Germany

Eric Staiger recently performed Mahler’s Third Symphony with his student orchestra in Freiburg with over 200 participants at the Konzerthaus Freiburg. This season he’s making his debut at the Musikalische Komödie der Oper Leipzig with the operetta “Die Fledermaus”, and at the Deutsche Oper Berlin he will be engaged as musical assistant to Nicholas Carter and GMD Donald Runnicles for the RING cycle.
He is completing studies with a master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting at the Franz Liszt School of Music under Prof. Nicolás Pasquet and Prof. Ekhart Wycik.

Parts of his training in Oslo he spent with Prof. Ole Kristian Ruud, and in Zürich with Prof. Johannes Schlaefli.
In 2023 as a scholarship holder of the Fiskars Summer Festival he was able to work with Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Esa-Pekka Salonen, James Gaffigan, Dalia Stasevska, and Magnus Lindberg. At the Kodály Competition in Debrecen, Hungary, he was honoured as the youngest finalist among the 308 international applicants with the 4th prize (given as no 1st prize was awarded), and the “Filharmonia Hungary” concert prize.

Tibone Federico

Tibone Federico, Italy

Federico Tibone is an Italian conductor, pianist and vocal coach. He is since 2022 associate conductor in Opéra de Marseille and Orchestre Philharmonique de Marseille (music director Michele Spotti), and associate professor of the Conducting Department at the Conservatoire de Lille.
Federico is from Turin, where he studied piano. After graduating the Conservatory, he collaborated with Teatro Regio di Torino as a vocal coach for many operaproductions. In 2015 he moved to Paris, where he studied conducting with Nicolas Brochot and becomes a member of the Académie de l’Opéra National de Paris as a vocal coach.

He conducted Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte and Puccini’s Madama Butterfly in Orvieto (2017, 2020), Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera in Abay National Opera (Kazakhstan, 2018) and Offenbach’s La Perichole in Paris (2021).
The 23/24 Federico conducts Paganini by Franz Léhar at Théâtre de l’Odéon in Marseille, two symphonic concerts in Opéra de Marseille and pedagogical performances with Orchestre Philarmonique de Marseille. In 2025 he will make his debut in Opéra de Québec in Verdi’s masterpiece Il Trovatore.

Toikka Erno

Toikka Erno, Finland

Eero Toikka is a Finnish conductor and a French horn player, who actively performs as a freelancer in Finnish professional orchestras. He has recent years worked as a horn player in numerous orchestras, including the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Finnish National Opera Orchestra. Despite his young age, he has gained experience as principal horn with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra and the Jyväskylä City Orchestra among others.

As a conductor he has worked with conducting orchestras in different masterclasses, including the Sønderjyllands Symfoniorkester, Vaasa City Orchestra, Kirkkonummi Chamber Orchestra, Mikkeli City Orchestra, and all the Finnish professional wind orchestras. In June 2024 he will conduct the Dresden Sinfonietta under the guidance of British conductor Neil Thomson.

Uusitupa Kasmir

Uusitupa Kasmir, Finland

Kasmir Uusitupa, starting on the violin, progressed through East-Helsinki Music Institute, Sibelius Academy’s Youth Department, to professional studies at University of the Arts Helsinki’s Sibelius Academy, Paris Conservatory, and Menuhin Academy. His key violin mentors include Kaija Saarikettu, Lauri Untamala, Paavo Pohjola, Antti Tikkanen, Olivier Charlier, Oleg Kaskiv, and Maxim Vengerov.
Kasmir has made appearances in nearly every leading Finnish

orchestra, whether as a conductor, soloist, or concertmaster. Regularly performing as a chamber musician at festivals across Finland and Europe, he currently holds the position of 2nd concertmaster at the Finnish National Opera and serves as the conductor of the Helsinki Junior Strings. His conducting studies began at the Jorma Panula Academy in 2016 and continued in Sakari Oramo’s conducting class at the Sibelius Academy from the fall of 2023.

Zinca Sebastian

Zinca Sebastian, Romaina

Sebastian Zinca is currently assistant conductor of the Real Filharmonía de Galicia, where he conducted around nine programs per season until January 2024.
His experience in repertoire ranges from conducting Händel opera on period instruments to several world premieres. Last year he worked with a lot of new music, most notably at the Lucerne Festival, where in the academy he was reinvited to conduct a workshop and concert in the summers of 2024 and 2025 respectively.
Sebastian is an accomplished conductor for opera and he is experienced with singers.

He conducted four productions and assisted at the Teatro Real Madrid on a production of Shostakovich’s The Nose. He has worked with productions and orchestras all over Europe, most recently with Komische Oper Berlin, Kammerakademie Potsdam, Magdeburgische Philharmonie, Göttinger Symphonieorchester, Staatstheater Cottbus, Brandenburger Symphoniker, Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester, Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria, PKF – Prague Philharmonia, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic, and several Finnish Symphony Orchestras.

The orchestras of 2024

Vaasa City Orchestra

Regular orchestral concerts in Vaasa date back to 1930, when an Orchestra Society was founded in the town. In 1974, the orchestra became part of the City of Vaasa. Vaasa City Orchestra comprises 31 musicians. Tomas Djupsjöbacka has been the...

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Jyväskylä Sinfonia

Jyväskylä Sinfonia is a classical music gem in Central Finland, whose heart beats in Jyväskylä and plays throughout the region. The orchestra's nearly 120 events reach more than 35 000 listeners every year, from symphony concerts to genre-bending...

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The soloists of 2024

Soprano, Iris Candelaria
Baritone, Luke Terence Scott
Violin, Tami Pohjola

Guest composer

Jukka Tiensuu, Finland

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Monica Johnson
+358 (0)50 911 33 49

The Competition Office is located at Vaasa City Hall during the competition.
Street address: Senaatinkatu 1, 65100 Vaasa
Postal address: PO Box 3, FI-65101 VAASA