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Guide to the ARD International Music Competition Munich


How it all began…

It took place for the first time in 1952: the ARD International Music Competition, one of the most renowned and large-scale competitions of its kind. It was founded by the public broadcasting radio stations of the Federal Republic of Germany, managed by Bavarian Broadcasting in Munich and takes place every year in September. For many of today’s world-famous artists, an award from the ARD International Music Competition in Munich represented a spring board to their major careers: Jessye Norman, Francisco Araiza, Natalia Gutman, Christoph Eschenbach, Mitsuko Uchida, Thomas Quasthoff, Yuri Bashmet, Christian Tetzlaff, Sharon Kam,Heinz Holliger, Peter Sadlo, Maurice André and the Quatuor Ebène, to name but a few.

The Competition Today

Over the years, the ARD International Music Competition with its annually changing line-up of musicians has developed into an internationally singular and highly regarded institution. It offers not only singers and pianists but also all the other instrumentalists the podium of an international competition, both for solo and chamber music performance. Since 2001, the presence of contemporary music has been considerably reinforced through commissions to prominent composers.

Each year an average of 400 to 600 young musicians apply to take part in the competition. Then, following a preliminary round, some 200 competitors from 35 to 40 countries actually appear. The international renown of the ARD Music Competition can be noted by the high percentage of non-German participants (88 %).

The 70th ARD International Music Competition 2021 in Munich is open for the following categories: Piano Duo, Voice, Horn and Violin. It will take place from August 30 to September 17, 2021 (including the prizewinners’ concerts). The competition, because of its scale and prestige, offers to the participants a unique opportunity for testing their musical mettle against other world-class players, and also offers networking opportunities, the chance to meet agents and music executives looking to sign up the next big talent. Very prestigious orchestras will accompany the competition at the semifinals and finals: Munich Chamber Orchestra, Münchner Rundfunkorchester and Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks.


First Prize: €10,000; Second Prize: €7,500; Third Prize: €5,000 for Soloists

First Prize: €12,000; Second Prize: €9,000; Third Prize: € 6,000 for Piano Duo

There are also several special prizes.

Please click here for the ARD website and more information.

Throw back to the 2019 edition
Laureates of the ARD Competition