The jury, headed by Günter Neuhold, includes representatives from prestigious institutions such as the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra

A call for composers is also under way for a piece to be performed during the final stages of the competition

Candidates will compete by conducting the Milan Symphony Orchestra

Applications: from 26 February to 15 April 2024

Preliminary phase and semi-finals: Milan, Cariplo Foundation Auditorium, 3-5 October 2024

Finals: Novara, Coccia Theatre, 6 October 2024

Everything is ready for the new edition of the “Guido Cantelli” International Conducting Award in Novara, one of the most prestigious international competitions that awarded, in its “historic” phase from 1961 to 1980, young conductors who then became famous and even celebrated worldwide, such as Riccardo Muti, Eliahu Inbal, Ádám Fischer, Hubert Soudant and Donato Renzetti.

From 26 February to 15 April 2024, conductors of all nationalities, aged 18 to 35, will be able to apply for the 13th edition of the Cantelli Award, the preliminary phase and semi-finals of which will take place in Milan (from 3 to 5 October, Cariplo Foundation Auditorium), followed by the finals at the Coccia Theatre in Novara on Sunday 6 October, also open to the public. For the first time in 2024, the ensemble with which the candidates will measure themselves will be the Milan Symphony Orchestra. The First Prize will be 12,000 euros, the Second Prize 8,000 euros and the Third Prize 5,000 euros.

«Each new edition of the Cantelli Award, where I act as the organisational and artistic director of the competition, is an exciting moment», says Corinne Baroni, director of the Coccia Theatre. «Every year the challenges are more and more demanding and the organisation more and more complex, yet the joy and sense of responsibility grow proportionately. The reason for such enthusiasm exuding from the walls of our theatre», Baroni continues, «is to be found, I believe, in the idea that music, with its intrinsic beauty, possesses the power to transform the world, and here lies the most authentic vocation of the Cantelli Award. It is important that the silence that has marked forty years of the Award’s history remains forever a memory so that the Cantelli Award can continue to be a beacon of inspiration for the younger generations and a catalyst of motivation for those whose task it is to keep the flame alive».

The 13th edition, which is expected to surpass the 2022 candidates in number (around 350) boasts remarkable judges, who are representatives of institutions, genres and moments of conducting history of incalculable artistic value. The President of the jury is Günter Neuhold, internationally renowned conductor, doyen of the Austro-German school. He will work alongside two Italian protagonists of the opera and concert scene, such as Riccardo Frizza (Artistic Advisor Premio Cantelli, Music Director of the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Art Group - HRSO; Music Director of the Donizetti Opera Festival in Bergamo) and Corrado Rovaris (Jack Mulroney Music Director of the Philadelphia Opera Company), and some representatives of prestigious concert institutions such as Numa Bischof Ullmann (Superintendent of the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester; Superintendent and Artistic Director of Lucerne’s “Le Piano Symphonique” Festival with Martha Argerich, “pianiste associée”), Mauro Bucarelli (Artistic Secretary of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia), Didier de Cottignies (Artistic Director of the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra) and Cristina Rocca (Vice-President The Richard and Mary L. Gray Chair of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association – artistic administration).

In addition to the main jury, two technical juries have also been formed, each of which will award a prize of 2,000 euros: the Jury of Critics will be composed of the journalists Andrea Estero (editor of the monthly magazine “Classic Voice” and President of the National Association of Music Critics), Nicola Cattò (editor of the monthly magazine “Musica” and Secretary General of the ICMA-International Classical Music Awards) and Pablo L. Rodríguez (music critic for the Spanish newspaper “El País”), who will award a prize also assessing the communicative side of the performance; the Jury of Agents – Managers, formed by the three agents Mark Hildrew (Askonas Holt), Teodora Masi (Harrison Parrott) and Nicholas Mathias (IMG Artists), will also assess the young conductors by observing their potential to enter the music “market”.

We also wanted to emphasise the inclusive value of the Cantelli Prize by creating two juries linked to the territory: the Jury of the City will include representatives of three Novara institutions namely Luca Piantanida, Councillor for Cultural and Tourist Policies of the Municipality, Alessandra Aina, Director of the “Guido Cantelli” Conservatory, and Ettore Borri, President of the “Vittorio Cocito” Friends of Music Association; the “Friends of the Coccia Theatre” Jury will instead be formed by Cinzia Fenini, Alessandro Mormile, Stefano Rabozzi, members of the Friends of the Coccia Theatre Association, established in 2024 and formed by people close to the Theatre. Both juries will award a prize of 1,500 euros. Finally, a prize worth 1,000 euros will be awarded by the Young Jury: as a bridge between past, present and future, it will be composed of two distinct groups of young people sharing a passion for theatre and music: the “Guido Cantelli” Conservatory Students, i.e., musicians in training, and the “Young Behind the Scenes” group, a diverse group of music lovers aged between 10 and 25, known as Coccia Theatre Ambassadors in the world.

The Cantelli Award is not only an opportunity for new conducting talents, but following the example of the conductor from Novara, it wants to promote the music of our time: for this reason, the musical programme of the semi-finals and finals will also include a newly-composed piece, chosen through a call, open to participants of all nationalities, with no age limits; the new symphonic page must be written for the ensemble foreseen in the regulations and must have a duration between 8 and 12 minutes. The call is open until 15 April 2024 and more details can be found at

Guido Cantelli was a podium meteor, who shone a light on the world’s most important concert halls and theatres with his smile, professionalism and genius qualities for just over ten years. Born in Novara on 27 April 1920, he made his debut at the Coccia Theatre in his hometown in 1943: and it was in the same theatre, on 17 November 1956, that he conducted his last concert, with the Orchestra of the Teatro alla Scala of which he had been appointed permanent conductor the previous day. A week later, on 23 November, the plane that should have taken him to New York once again, crashed to the ground immediately after take-off from Paris’s Orly Airport. Acknowledged by Arturo Toscanini as his most authentic heir, Cantelli represented for Italy the link between the late Romantic school of conducting and a modern conductor, whose repertoire also ranged from early music to contemporary. To honour his memory, in 1961 the Provincial Tourism Board of Novara established the “Guido Cantelli” International Award for young conductors. After a 40-year hiatus, thanks to the efforts of Corinne Baroni, then appointed director of the Coccia Theatre in Novara, in 2020 the Cantelli Award resumed its path. The last two editions (in 2020 with Donato Renzetti Jury President and in 2022 with Sebastian Schwarz as Jury President) confirmed the award’s history by presenting among selected participants several talents who are now pursuing a rising career such as Tianyi Lu (winner of the 11th edition), Bertie Baigent, Diego Ceretta, Dmitry Matvienko, Cristian Spătaru and Toby Thatcher.

The 13th edition of the Guido Cantelli International Conducting Award is organised by the Carlo Coccia Theatre Foundation in Novara in collaboration with the City of Novara, the Milan Symphony Orchestra and the Piemonte Orientale University, with the contribution of the Ministry of Culture, under the auspices of the Piedmont Region, the Local Tourist Promotion Agency of the Province of Novara, and with the support of the Banca Popolare di Novara Foundation.

Coccia Theatre Foundation in Novara
Via Fratelli Rosselli 47 - 28100 Novara
Tel. +39 0321 233200

Press Office of the 13th edition of the “Guido Cantelli” International Conducting Award
Esserci Lab srl
Walter Vitale +39 3335243419
Floriana Tessitore +39 3387339981

Novara, 19 February 2024 (w.v.)