2015-2016 Vincent C. LaGuardia, Jr. Conducting Competition

Congratulations to Nico Olarte-Hayes from New York City, winner of the 2015 Vincent C. LaGuardia, Jr. Conducting Competition!

Meet Nico Olarte-Hayes

Nico Olarte-Hayes“Then he sat down and gave a beautifully soulful performance… rich in tone and wise beyond its years.” –The Boston Globe

Nico Olarte-Hayes is quickly establishing himself as one of his generation’s leading musical talents. As a cellist, he has given solo recitals at Lincoln Center and the Neue Galerie in New York City, in Memphis’ Artists Ascending Series and New York’s Young Musician’s Forum, and throughout the Netherlands and Japan. He has played on Live From Lincoln Center (PBS) and The Kennedy Center Honors (CBS) in tribute to violinist Itzhak Perlman, a longtime mentor, and has collaborated frequently with Perlman, giving performances in Carnegie Hall, in Sarasota’s Van Wezel Hall, and most recently, at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Other collaborations include performances with mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves in Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall, pianist Christopher O’Riley in Boston’s Jordan Hall, and violinist Ryu Goto in sold-out tours of Japan and the United States, broadcast on PBS, NPR, and Fuji TV, respectively.

Equally accomplished as a conductor, Nico was recently named winner of the 2015 Vincent C. LaGuardia Conducting Competition, and has served as Music Director of New York’s IconoClassic Opera and Harvard’s Dunster House Opera, leading fully staged productions of Massenet’s Werther and Britten’s Albert Herring. He has led the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, Sofia Festival Orchestra, Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic, Savaria Symphony Orchestra, Camerata Antonio Soler, and Salzburg Chamber Soloists as a participant in numerous international workshops, including the Tanglewood Festival Conducting Seminar, and has debuts scheduled this season with the New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra and Arapahoe Philharmonic.

A passionate educator, Nico recently served as Music Director of New York’s East End Youth Orchestra, an intensive workshop in ensemble playing for talented public school students. For many years, he also toured as an ambassador for New York’s Midori and Friends, giving performances for under-served children at inner-city schools, and on the third anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, was asked by the City of New York to perform at “Ground Zero” for the official memorial on NBC. In recognition of his accomplishments and artistic contributions to his community, Nico was awarded the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award, given a Hispanic Heritage Youth Award, and honored by the Davidson Institute for Talent Development.

Nico began his musical studies with his mother at the age of three. He completed pre-college studies “with distinction” at The Juilliard School under cellists David Soyer and Harvey Shapiro, and studied for eight years at the Perlman Music Program, Itzhak Perlman’s private music school, under Ronald Leonard. In 2012, Nico graduated with honors from the Harvard/NEC Joint Program, simultaneously earning an A.B. in Physics from Harvard College, where he studied music with Robert Levin, and his M.M. from the New England Conservatory, where he studied with Laurence Lesser. While at Harvard, Nico coached numerous student groups, performed as soloist with the Bach Society and Haydn Society Orchestras, and was Assistant Conductor of Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra. He currently lives in New York City.

Photo credit: Tiffany Huang

The 2015-2016 competition is now closed.

The Arapahoe Philharmonic of Littleton (Denver suburb), Colorado, in support of its ongoing mission to give recognition to young talent in the classical music field, announces the opening of its Vincent C. LaGuardia, Jr. Conducting Competition for 2015-2016.

This competition is for conductors between the ages of 18 and 28 who are residents of the United States and not yet regularly employed in the conducting field. The winner will conduct Edvard Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46 in concert with the Arapahoe Philharmonic on November 6, 2015, and be presented with a cash prize of $500 at the performance.

The 90-member Arapahoe Philharmonic has been a valuable cultural asset in the Denver metropolitan area since 1953. In addition to its regular season of six masterworks concerts, the orchestra offers many services to the community, including concerts for elementary school students, coaching students from area high schools, the T. Gordon Parks Collegiate Concerto Competition and the Vincent C. LaGuardia, Jr. Composition Competition.

The inaugural Conducting Competition was held during the 2013-2014 season. Nathaniel Meyer, from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, won the first competition and led the Arapahoe Philharmonic in Bernstein’s Overture to Candide in February 2014. The Conducting Competition alternates annually with the Vincent C. LaGuardia, Jr. Composition Competition.

Application Process/Entry Submission Requirements

  1. Three to five contrasting conducting excerpts seen from the ensemble’s perspective. Submitted footage should be 10-15 minutes in total length.
    • It is preferred that microphone placement reflect a good overall sound from the ensemble.
    • At least one conducting excerpt should be performance footage; at least one excerpt should be from a rehearsal.
  2. Copy of ID (Driver’s License or Passport) to confirm eligibility to apply. Applicants must be citizens of the United States or provide written authorization from applicant’s U.S.-based school (Designated School Official) confirming that the applicant can be awarded the competition prize money.
  3. Resume and/or Brief Autobiography.
  4. $50.00 non-refundable application fee.
  5. All applications must be submitted online. Completed submissions will be accepted beginning July 1, 2015, through 11:59 p.m. July 31, 2015, via a link on this page. No late or mailed entries will be accepted.
  6. The competition jury will evaluate all eligible applications without exception. Decisions of the judges are final. Applicants will be notified by email of the results no later than September 1, 2015.
  7. Two complimentary tickets to an Arapahoe Philharmonic concert will be offered to all eligible applicants.

Competition Awards

The winning candidate will conduct the full symphonic orchestra in concert on November 6, 2015, with rehearsals on Tuesday, November 3 and Thursday, November 5 (dress).

A cash award of $500 will be presented by check at the performance.

A travel stipend of $400 will be provided to the winner. At the winner’s request, housing/homestay can be arranged and provided. Every effort will be made to provide winner with ground transportation and some meals, but we cannot guarantee they can be provided.

Competition Eligibility Rules

  1. The Competition is open to musicians who are at least 18 and not older than 28 as of November 6, 2015.
  2. Applicant must be a legal resident of the United States or have written authorization from the Designated School Official at his or her U.S.-based school confirming eligibility to accept the cash prize.
  3. Applicant should be conductor-in-training or student conductor, and not yet regularly employed in the conducting field.
  4. Entry in this competition constitutes the contestant’s authorization to use his or her name, photographs and biographical information for publicity purposes.
  5. The Arapahoe Philharmonic reserves the right to dismiss any applicant if his or her application is found to be ineligible or misleading in any way. Such disqualification may be made at any time, up to and including the date of the scheduled performance. A disqualified applicant will forfeit the conducting experience and prize and no refund of fees or expenses will be given. The Arapahoe Philharmonic will have sole discretion to award the prize and the opportunity to conduct the orchestra to an alternate candidate.
  6. Arapahoe Philharmonic members and staff are not eligible to apply.

First Place Winner’s Obligations

  1. The First Place winner will conduct the Arapahoe Philharmonic in Edvard Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46, on the November 6, 2015 concert beginning at 7:30 p.m. Two recordings of the concert will be made: one from the audience perspective and one from the musicians’ point of view. These recordings become the property of the Arapahoe Philharmonic. The winner will receive copies of both.
  2. The First Place winner is required to attend and lead rehearsals of Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46, on November 3 and 5, 2015, in addition to the concert. Rehearsals run from 7:30–10 p.m.
  3. If the First Place winner is unable to perform or rehearse with the orchestra, a runner-up may be asked to appear as the guest conductor. The original winner will forfeit the conducting experience and prize. Extenuating or emergency circumstances will be considered by the Arapahoe Philharmonic.
  4. A digital photograph of the First Place winner will be requested for publicity purposes. The image should be a minimum of 2” x 3” at 300 dpi. This photograph must be free of duplication restrictions.
    If you have questions or difficulty with the online submission system, please contact Erin Acheson at 303-781-1892 or erin@arapahoe-phil.org.

Previous Vincent C. LaGuardia, Jr. Conducting Competition Winners

Nathaniel Meyer 2014

2013-2014 Nathaniel Meyer – Conducted Leonard Bernstein’s Overture to Candide on February 7, 2014