Colorado MahlerFest Announces Inaugural Class of Mahler Conducting Fellows.

The Colorado MahlerFest, the only North American musical organization other than the New York Philharmonic to receive the Gold Medal of the International Gustav Mahler Society, has announced the recipients of the festival’s first the Mahler Conducting Fellowships.

Established by the Colorado MahlerFest Trustees and incoming Artist Director Kenneth Woods, the goals of the Mahler Conducting Fellowship are to identify emerging Mahler interpreters of potentially international importance, and to support their artistic and professional growth. The three 2016 Fellows will be in residence in Boulder, Colorado throughout the 29th Colorado MahlerFest from May 14-29, 2016. “Mahler was possibly the greatest conductor who ever lived,’ said AD Kenneth Woods, “and so it’s probably not surprising his music both so uniquely challenging and so rewarding for those of us on the podium. The Mahler Conducting Fellowships exist to help give outstanding conductors who’ve shown an affinity for Mahler’s music a chance to expand their skill sets and raise their professional profile. MahlerFest has always been about creating an atmosphere around the concerts which is  rich with ideas and inspiration- I’m sure these young conductors will contribute a lot towards enhancing MahlerFest’s spirit of exploration and discovery.”

This year’s Mahler Conducting Fellows were chosen from an outstanding pool of applicants from major conservatories and orchestras in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Korea, Great Britain, Poland, Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland. The three Fellows will serve as Assistant Conductors throughout the festival, participate in daily seminars and score study sessions with the Artistic Director, work in classes with guest clinicians Peter Davison, the Artistic Advisor of the Bridgewater Hall, a leading expert on Mahler’s 7th Symphony, and Kurt Schwertsik, MahlerFest’s guest composer and founder of the the Third Vienna School, where he served as hornist of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra (from 1968) while teaching Composition at the Konservatorium Wien (from 1979). They will also have the chance to work with MahlerFest’s symposium speakers, Anna Stoll-Knecht, an expert in the autographs of Mahler’s 6th and 7th symphonies, and Stephen Helfing,widely regarded as America’s leading Mahler specialist.

The three Fellows will also conduct in a public masterclass at Boulder Public Library on the 19th of May, where the featured repertoire will be Mahler’s Fourth Symphony.


Meet the 2016 Mahler Conducting Fellows.

(presented in reverse alphabetical order)


Michael Young is co-founder and Artistic Director of the Beethoven Orchestra for Humanity, a crowd-funded, elite London-based chamber orchestra ‘fusing topical talk and classical music for today’s world.’ He has been Music Director of Charities Philharmonia, London Youth Opera, Little Operations and founding conductor of the Vanbrugh Ensemble. Michael has won several prizes at the Leeds Conductors’ Competition and the Ninth International Pedrotti Conducting Competition. In the UK Michael has worked with the English National Opera, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Grange Park Opera, Fabulous Beast Company, Sinfonia Viva and the Orchestra of Opera North. He has also assisted Vladimir Jurowski, Bernard Haitink and Ed Gardner. Overseas Michael has conducted orchestras including the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional del Perù, Orquesta Ciudad de Granada, Ruse Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra Haydn di Trento e Bolzano and the Ensemble Zandonai.

“It’s easy to become more than a little obsessed with Mahler’s music, so I’m completely thrilled to have the excuse to dive into the worlds of the 4th and 7th symphonies. To be working with such great people and in such great surroundings is a huge honour.”


Conductor Francis Scully

Francis Scully is the founder and music director of New Orleans-based chamber orchestra New Resonance Orchestra. The ensemble collaborates with theater, dance, literary, and visual artists to create interdisciplinary performances which relate the emotions of classical music directly to the lives of the audience. Praised by the N.O. Times-Picayune as a “forward-looking chamber orchestra,” this award-winning ensemble invigorates the classical music community in New Orleans and demonstrates the relevance of classical music in today’s world.

Scully shares his passion for music in a variety of educational roles. In 2016, Scully will conduct the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra as part of their “Band Together” educational series. As a lecturer in music at University of Holy Cross, Scully inspires new listeners in courses on music appreciation, 20th Century music, and history of Rock.

He holds an M.M. in Conducting from Peabody Conservatory where he studied with Gustav Meier and Markand Thakar.

“I’m very thrilled to be a part of the 2016 edition of the Colorado MahlerFest. This year’s program is particularly intriguing for me because I’ve found the 7th Symphony to be harder to climb than the Rocky Mountains. I look forward to exploring this piece in depth with the fine musicians and scholars of the MahlerFest.”


Boon Hua LIEN HeadshotBoon Hua LIEN hails from Singapore and currently serves as the Eastman Conducting Fellow of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and Assistant Conductor of the Eastman Philharmonia. His artistic achievements have earned him the prestigious Walter Hagen Conducting Prize, Bruno Walter Conducting Scholarship and was named winner of The American Prize in Orchestral Conducting in 2015.

Lien was invited to participate in masterclasses with distinguished conductors during major festivals, such as Stefan Asbury at the Tanglewood Music Festival, Bernard Haitink at the Lucerne Festival, and Marin Alsop at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music.

He was also recently named an inaugural Mahler Conducting Fellow at the Colorado MahlerFest. Presently, Lien is a doctoral candidate in orchestral conducting at the Eastman School of Music and also holds degrees from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, with additional studies at the Peabody Conservatory of Music

“I am extremely honored and excited to be named an inaugural Mahler Conducting Fellow with the Colorado MahlerFest, under the new artistic direction of Maestro Kenneth Woods. I have been fascinated with the music of Gustav Mahler since I was a young boy, and this obsession was a key factor that led me to be a conductor. It is a dream come true for me to be surrounded by leading Mahler experts and enthusiasts in scenic Boulder, for a week of learning, sharing, thinking and ultimately experiencing Mahler’s music.”