Our privacy policy was last updated on Friday 25 May 2018View it hereDismiss
Bachtrack logo
What's on
Competitions home

Guide to the Mirjam Helin International Singing Competition

Laureates: Where are they now?

The Mirjam Helin International Singing Competition

Marja-Leena Pétas-Arjava © Heikki Tuuli
We speak with Marja-Leena Pétas-Arjava, Executive Director of the Mirjam Helin International Singing Competition held in Helsinki, Finland, to find out more about what makes this competition unique.

The Mirjam Helin Competition 2019

The Mirjam Helin International Singing Competition is one of the leading global competitions of its kind. Many of its former prizewinners, such as Olaf Bär, Elīna Garanča, René Pape and Andrea Rost have risen to the top in the world of singing. Designed for outstanding young singers, it is known for its high standard, exacting repertoire, superb prizes and prestigious Jury.

The aim of the competition founded by professor, singer and voice teacher Mirjam Helin (1911–2006) is to find the most talented young singers and to give them a major boost in their international career. Read Mirjam Helin’s interview here.

The Mirjam Helin Competition has a demanding and broad repertoire including Baroque music, Lied and opera. The programme does not include any obligatory compositions or composers. The semifinals do, however, include a song by a Finnish composer. The competitors have free choice of repertoire, especially for the semifinals; they can put together a recital programme most suitable to their voice and interest. The competition allows also free choice for the arias in the final; all orchestra scores are reserved in advance according to each competitor's programme.

In the preliminary and semifinal rounds, the competitors may make use of their own services or the competition pianist. The final will be accompanied by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by the Chief Conductor Hannu Lintu.

The Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yle) is giving the competition wide media coverage: streamed at yle.fi/klassinen, on radio and TV, and recorded at Yle Areena. All channels can be accessed worldwide both during and after the event.

The competition has been organised once every five years by the Finnish Cultural Foundation since 1984. It is also a member of the World Federation of International Music Competitions.  

Conditions of Entry

The competition is open, regardless of nationality, to women born in l989 or later and men born in 1987 or later. Candidates are invited to apply through the competition website at mirjamhelin.fi. The application deadline is 30 November 2018.

Applications begun by that date, however, may be supplemented up to 14 December 2018. The online application form is here. 

**Extended deadline** The application deadline has now been extended to the 31 December 2018.

There is no registration or application fee. The application form must be accompanied by a quality audiovisual recording for the pre-selection procedure. The names of the singers selected for the competition will be announced in the end of January 2019.

The Rules of the Competition can be found here and the Repertoire here. The rules are available in seven languages; Chinese, English, Finnish, French, German, Russian and Spanish.


Besides generous prizes, there are also a wide variety of advantages for competitors; feedback sessions with the members of the jury, master classes, Singers’ Studio, excellent practice facilities, daily allowance and lunch, option for free accommodation in private families, leisure events, and travel bursaries for competitors travelling from outside Europe, outstanding arrangements, and prizewinners concert with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Hannu Lintu

For more information on the competition, head to the website.

Fact file
Deadline30 Nov - 31 Dec 2018
Finals29 May 2019
WhereHelsinki, Finland
Age groupsWomen born in 1989 or later and men born in 1987 or later

International Mirjam Helin Singing Competition: Preliminary Round

International Mirjam Helin Singing Competition: Semi-finals

Stefan Astakhov and Johanna Wallroth, winners of the 2019 Mirjam Helin Competition © Heikki Tuuli

International Mirjam Helin Singing Competition: Final


Generous prizes and great advantages...

There are separate categories for men and women; a total of €173 000 will be awarded in prizes.

In both categories, the first prize is worth €30 000, the second €20 000, the third €15 000 and the fourth €10 000.

A prize of €3 000 is also awarded to a non-Finnish singer for the best performance of a Finnish solo song, and all the Semifinalists receive a bursary of €1 000.

The winners are offered performance opportunities, and the competition collaborates with the Ondine record label.

Competition Trailer
The story behind the competition