The 2016 Winner is Aziz Shokhakimov

During the Award Concert Weekend 2016, the 27 year old Aziz Shokhakimov from Uzbekistan convinced the international jury chaired by Dennis Russell Davies in a concert with soloist Mingjie Lei and the Camerata Salzburg at the Mozarteum Foundation.

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Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Helga Rabl-Stadler, Aziz Shokhakimov, Dennis Russell Davies and Markus Hinterhäuser, foto SF/wildbild

 “We had three very good concerts from three gifted young conductors this week. All three have a promising future ahead of them. The feeling of the jury is that the winner – Aziz Shokhakimov – is at this moment in his development ahead of the others in being ready to launch what we all feel it is going to be an important career,” said Jury Chairman Dennis Russell Davies, announcing the 2016 winner.


“I am very excited and it is a great privilege. I am very grateful to the jury and the Camerata Salzburg Orchestra. They were very supportive to all of us. I fell in love with Salzburg and am happy to return in the future“, this year’s winner, Aziz Shokhakimov, said.

The „Nestlé and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award“ was presented for the seventh time. There were 65 applicants in total. The prize carries a value of € 15,000 and is presented annually to a young conductor under the age of 35. Furthermore, the winner conducts the RSO Vienna on August 5, 2017 at a Festival concert at the Felsenreitschule.


Aziz Shokhakimov, foto Salzburger Festspiele / Marco Borrelli

The careers of the prize-winners of the past years, Lorenzo Viotti (2015), Maxime Pascal (2014), Ben Gernon (2013), Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla (2012), Ainārs Rubikis (2011) and David Afkham (2010) demonstrate the international relevance of this award.

Nestlé’s Chairman of the Board, Peter Brabeck-Latmathe, noted: “In its sixth year, the ‘Nestlé and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award’ shows once again how meaningful it is to give young conductors the opportunity to present their talent as part of a festival as renowned as the Salzburg Festival. We are happy to support this initiative, unique throughout the world in its kind, and thereby boost the careers of these young talents, introducing them to a broad public through the Award.”


Alexander Prior, Aziz Shokhakimov and  Ciaran Mcauley, foto Salzburger Festspiele / Marco Borrelli

“The ‘Nestlé and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award’, awarded for the seventh time in 2016, is one of the most important awards of its kind in the world, helping young conductors launch their international careers. It is wonderful to see how the winners so far have made their way in the business. And I am absolutely convinced that Aziz Shokhakimov will also use the Festival as a launch-pad,” Helga Rabl-Stadler, President of the Salzburg Festival, added.


Aziz Shokhakimov, foto Salzburger Festspiele / Marco Borrelli

Biography of Aziz Shokhakimov

Aziz Shokhakimov was born in Tashkent in 1988 and began studying at the Uspensky Music School for musically gifted children at the age of six. He first studied the violin and the viola, followed by conducting with Vladimir Neymer. He made his debut conducting the National Symphony Orchestra of Uzbekistan in Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and Liszt’s First Piano Concerto at the age of 13 and a year later made his debut at the Uzbek National Opera with Carmen. Following his appointment as assistant conductor in 2001, Aziz Shokhakimov was appointed chief conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra of Uzbekistan in 2006, a post he held until the end of 2012. In 2010, aged just 21, he won second prize at the prestigious Mahler Competition of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra. Aziz Shokhakimov has since made his widely acclaimed debuts with renowned orchestras such as the Staatskapelle Dresden, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, the Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra, the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Dresden Philharmonic, the Tonkünstler Orchestra of Lower Austria, the Orchestra Philharmonique de Strasbourg, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Filarmonica del Teatro Comunale di Bologna, the Orchestra Filarmonica della Fenice, the Sinfonia Varsovia, the Houston Symphony Orchestra and the Pacific Symphony Orchestra.


Aziz Shokhakimov and Peter Brabeck – Lemathe, foto Salzburger Festspiele / Marco Borrelli

In addition to his concert schedule, Aziz Shokhakimov is an active opera conductor. In 2014 he conducted a highly acclaimed new production of Eugene Onegin in Bologna and a revival of Carmen at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, where he became Kapellmeister at the beginning of the 2015/16 season. Aziz Shokhakimov has received invitations to return to conduct many orchestras in the near future, including in Stuttgart, Strasbourg, Frankfurt and Dresden. His debuts during the 2015/16 season include the North German Radio Symphony Orchestra and the German Symphony Orchestra Berlin.

(Press Release of the Salzburg Festival)

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