New York, NY * Bundit Ungrangsee of Thailand and Xian Zhang of China have been named laureates and winners in the inaugural Maazel/Vilar Conductors’ Competition. Maestro Lorin Maazel of the New York Philharmonic made the announcement at Carnegie Hall on Saturday night following the second of two concerts given by finalists in the competition.

A jury of eight other world-class musicians sat on the stage behind Maestro Maazel as the announcement was made. Both Ungrangsee and Zhang were given an equal award, according to the competition’s philosophy that the finalists were not judged against each other, but against a standard set by the great conductors of the past.

The announcement followed an outstanding concert given by the two finalists at Carnegie Hall, the second of two concerts given by the four finalists in the competition. Ungrangsee conducted the first half of the concert, featuring repertoire by R. Strauss and Mendelssohn including a performance of Strauss’ Four Last Songs with soprano Christine Brewer. Zhang finished the concert’s second half with repertoire from Debussy, Stravinsky, and a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations with cellist Han-Na Chang.

Both Zhang and Ungrangsee will participate in a comprehensive two to three year fellowship program directed by Maestro Maazel. Each will receive a $45,000 prize and a series of professional engagements with symphony orchestras. In a special presentation from Rolex on Saturday night, both winners were also presented with a Rolex watch.

Chairing the jury was Maestro Lorin Maazel, music director of the New York Philharmonic. Joining him were: violinist Kyung-Wha Chung; Glenn Dicterow, violinist & concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic; Japanese conductor Yoichiro Omachi; Polish composer and conductor Krzysztof Penderecki; cellist Janos Starker; Ian Stoutzker, chairman or the London Symphony Orchestra advisory committee & chairman of the Live Music Now Foundation; luthier Etienne Vatelot; and Swiss conductor Marcello Viotti.

A native of Bangkok, Ungrangsee is currently the Associate Conductor of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra in Charleston, SC. He began studying classical guitar while a teenager and at age 18 was inspired by a performance of the New York Philharmonic to launch a career in music. After earning an undergraduate degree in Music Composition from the University of Wollongong in Australia, he attended the University of Michigan where he received his Master’s degree in Conducting.

Ungrangsee was named winner in the 1999 International Competition for Young Conductors in Lisbon, and a finalist in the 2002 Hungarian TV-Radio International Conductors’ Competition. In 1998, he was awarded the Leonard Bernstein Fellowship to study conducting at the Tanglewood Music Center, working with Jorma Panula, Seiji Ozawa, and Andre Previn. He has been Music Director of the Debut Orchestra in Los Angeles, Assistant Conductor with the Santa Rosa Symphony Orchestra (California), Apprentice Conductor with the Oregon Symphony Orchestra and Associate Conductor with the Utah Symphony.

Ungrangsee joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2000 during his tenure as Associate Conductor of the Utah Symphony. He is now a member of the Charleston First Ward in Charleston, SC

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