Hankyeol Yoon is the 2023 Winner of the Herbert von Karajan Young Conductors Award

Hankyeol Yoon convinced the international jury chaired by Manfred Honeck during the 2023 YCA Award Concert Weekend, taking the prize after leading a concert with the Camerata Salzburg at the Main Auditorium of the Mozarteum Foundation.

Jury chairman Manfred Honeck with the winner Hankyeol Yoon, photo SF/Jan Friese

“323 candidates from 54 nations applied to compete in the Herbert von Karajan Young Conductors Award. The three finalists chose the programme themselves, demonstrating their talent in no less than three rehearsals plus the concert. Therefore, the jury had the opportunity to observe the candidates extensively and gain a comprehensive picture of their work. I would like to thank Markus Hinterhäuser, Florian Wiegand and the entire organization team for this important event supporting young musicians. It is abundantly clear that encouraging young artists is very important to the Salzburg Festival.
On behalf of the jury, I would also like to thank the outstanding Camerata Salzburg. It was fascinating to observe how patiently, attentively, sensitively, even lovingly these wonderful musicians accompanied the candidates. That is not to be taken for granted. Finally, I would like to thank my colleagues on the jury, some of whom travelled far to attend this event. The decision was not easy. Each in their own and very different way, the candidates delivered outstanding work. One important aspect they all share is that they put themselves at the service of music,” said the Jury Chairman Manfred Honeck when announcing the 2023 winner.

“Quite apart from the prize, even performing on this august stage of the renowned Salzburg Festival during the Herbert von Karajan Young Conductors Award is an extremely great honour and joy. To give a concert for some of the people who have been most important for my musical development, such a distinguished jury and this wonderful audience with such a great orchestra is an incredibly joy,” said this year’s award winner Hankyeol Yoon.

The Young Conductors Award was presented for the eleventh time. It carries a cash value of 15,000 € and takes place every two years. Furthermore, the prize entails conducting a Festival concert with the ORF Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna. This concert is recorded and released on CD as part of the series Salzburg Festival Documents.

The successful further careers enjoyed by past winners, Joel Sandelson (2021), Gábor Káli (2018), Kerem Hasan (2017), Aziz Shokhakimov (2016), Lorenzo Viotti (2015), Maxime Pascal (2014), Ben Gernon (2013), Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla (2012), Ainārs Rubikis (2011) and David Afkham (2010), demonstrate the Award’s international relevance.

Hankyeol Yoon during the YCA Award Concert Weekend, photo SF/Marco Borrelli

Artistic Director Markus Hinterhäuser is convinced that “the Young Conductors Award shows once again how essential it is to give young talents the opportunity to present their abilities as part of the Salzburg Festival. Once again, the entire Award Concert Weekend reverberated with the extremely high musicality of the three candidates.”

The Festival wishes to thank Rolex, one of the great enablers of the arts world. Thanks to Rolex, the Salzburg Festival is able to financially implement artistically important projects. Rolex is a main sponsor; Rolex supports the Salzburg Whitsun Festival and, since 2021, the Herbert von Karajan Young Conductors Award.

Hankyeol Yoon, photo SF/Jan Friese

Biography Hankyeol Yoon:

The South Korean conductor Hankyeol Yoon was the youngest winner of the Neeme Järvi Prize at the 2019 Gstaad Menuhin Festival; this was followed by invitations to the Basel Chamber Orchestra and the Basel and Bern Symphony Orchestras. Among the highlights of the 2022/23 season were his debuts with the Bern Symphony Orchestra and the Busan Philharmonic Orchestra and assisting Simon Rattle during a European tour of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. He has conducted the Munich Symphony Orchestra, the Northern German Philharmonic in Rostock and the Korean National Symphony Orchestra, among others. From 2019 to 2021 he was kapellmeister at the Theatre and Orchestra in Neubrandenburg / Neustrelitz. He worked as an assistant conductor at the Nürnberg State Theatre, the Grand Théâtre de Genève and the Heidenheim Opera Festival; as part of a fellowship, he worked under Daniel Harding and Thomas Adès.

Manfred Honeck with Hankyeol Yoon

He won a Third Prize at Campus Dirigieren in Nürnberg. He was among the finalists for the 2020 Sir Georg Solti International Conducting Competition and the 2021 German Conductors Award. Hankyeol Yoon has also received accolades as a composer. He was a fellow in the mentoring programme of the Eötvös Foundation for Contemporary Music in Budapest, where George Benjamin was his mentor, while Peter Eötvös himself performed his compositions. He made his debut as a conductor and composer at the Tongyeong International Music Festival under Unsuk Chin’s leadership. In 2021 his most recent work, Grande Hipab, was given its world premiere by Ensemble Modern.

With Lilit Davtyan (Soprano)

Hankyeol Yoon, born in Daegu, South Korea, studied conducting, composition and piano at the Munich Academy of Music and Theatre. (After Press materials)

Marijan Zlobec



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