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Guide to Competitions


Under the bonnet of the ARD Competition

Prizewinners of the 2016 ARD Competition © Daniel Delang
Not just one but four: the 2018 ARD Competition is for Voice, Viola, Trumpet and PianoTrio. Artistic Directors Oswald Beaujean and Meret Forster give us the inside view.

Noriko Ogawa talks about musicianship

Noriko Ogawa © Martin Lijinsky
Pianist Noriko Ogawa, former Leeds prizewinner and sought after competition judge, shares her personal experiences and views on piano competitions.

Top international music competitions

As part of our competitions month, we look at nine major music contests on the international scene.

Glen Kwok on the Violin Competition of Indianapolis

Jinjoo Cho (South Korea) - 2014 Gold Medalist with Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra © Denis R. Kelly, Jr.
The International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, which has been attracting violinists from around the world since 1982, is unique in the-depth career mentorship it offers following victory. 

Big emotions: The 2017 ARD Music Competition

Prizewinners of the ARD Competition 2017 © Daniel Delang
Competitions entail deep feelings, but on top you will get raw fear, greed, wrath, pride, and heartfelt relief. Benedikt Zacher watched the Violin Finals and met the two winners of the 2nd prize: Sarah Christian and Andrea Obiso.

Gordon Back talks about the Menuhin Competition

Gordon Back
The Menuhin Competition catches its musicians young, with categories of under-16 and under-22. Gordon Back has been with the competition since the beginning, first as accompanist and now as Artistic Director.

Spotting talent: Adam Gatehouse

Adam Gatehouse © Simon Jay Price
The founder of the BBC New Generation Artists Scheme tells us about finding star quality in young musicians and his plans for the Leeds Competition.
top 10

Ten soloists who got their start in competitions

© Casa Rosada / Library of Congress
Music competitions can be a useful step for any young musician on the road to greatness. Here, we look at major stars who entered competitions at the start of their careers. 

Passing on the baton: Cho-Liang Lin

Cho-Liang Lin © Sophie Zha
Guided and inspired by the great Dorothy DeLay, Cho-Liang Lin encourages his own students to enter as many competitions as possible to prepare them for future challenges.

Ten benefits of taking part in vocal competitions

Prize winners of the 2017 Neue Stimmen Competition © Neue Stimmen
Life-changing, grueling, exhilarating, unfair. These are some of the adjectives that singers mention when describing the experience of taking part in a competition. It doesn’t matter if you end up with a monetary prize or walk out empty-handed, if you analyze the experience you will see that you have won at least on several of the points listed in this article. 

What is the WFIMC? Interview with Benjamin Woodroffe

Benjamin Woodroffe © Raphaelle Mueller
Benjamin Woodroffe, secretary general of the World Federation of International Music Competitions (WFIMC), tells us more about the way forward for his members.

Eyes on the prize: Interview with Gustav Alink

Gustav Alink © Alink-Argerich Foundation
Gustav Alink compiles information on music competitions worldwide, aiming to help young musicians and the events themselves.

Tabea Zimmermann: appetite for the new

Tabea Zimmermann © Marco Borggreve
We caught up with renowned violist Tabea Zimmermann to talk about the Beethoven-Woche, her approach to teaching, and what keeps her going after over 30 years in the limelight.
BachChat with the joint first prize winners of the Carl Nielsen International Violin Competition
The Menuhin Competition 2018
Entry deadline:
Entries now closed
Finals: April 2018
Read more
The Leyla Gencer Voice Competition
Entry deadline:
10 April 2018
Finals: September 2018
Read more
Geneva International Music Competition
Entry deadline:
4 May 2018
Finals: November 2018
Piano & Clarinet
Read more
ARD International Music Competition Munich
Entry deadline:
Entries now closed
Finals taken place
Piano, Violin, Oboe, Guitar
Read more
Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition
Entry deadline:
20 April 2018
Finals: 20 - 22 November 2018
Read more
International Éva Marton Singing Competition
Entry deadline:
14 March 2018
Finals: 10 - 16 September 2018
Read more
The Hamamatsu International Piano Competition
Entry deadline:
15 April 2018
Finals: 23 - 24 Nov 2018
Read more
International Singing Competition Neue Stimmen
Entry deadline:
Entries now closed
Finals taken place
Read more
International violin competition of Indianapolis
Entry deadline:
28 February 2018
Finals: September 2018
Read more
The George Enescu Festival Competition
Entry deadline:
18 April 2018
Finals: 11 - 23 Sep 2018
Piano, cello, violin
Read more
The Carl Nielsen International Competitions
Entries open:
March 2018
Finals: March 2019
Violin, flute and clarinet
Read more
Concours musical international de Montréal
Entry deadline:
Entries now closed
Finals: 3 - 7 July 2018
Read more

Competition tips: Seong-Jin Cho

Seong-Jin Cho © Fryderyk Chopin Institute | Bartek Sadowski
We continue our competition tips series with Seong-Jin Cho, winner of the International Chopin Piano Competition 2015.

Barry Douglas tips on competitions

Barry Douglas © Katya Kraynova
We continue our tips series with Barry Douglas, winner of the Gold Medal at the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in 1986. As Artistic Director of Camerata Ireland and the Clandeboye Festival, he continues to celebrate his Irish heritage whilst also maintaining a busy international touring schedule.

Competition tips: Elim Chan

Elim Chan © Lau Kwok Kei
We continue our competition tips series with Elim Chan, winner of the Donatella Flick Competition in 2014.

Alison Balsom's tips on competitions

Alison Balsom © Jason Joyce
October's themed month explores the world of international competitions through the eyes of some finalists of top competitions around the world. We kick off with Alison Balsom, finalist in the BBC Young Musician competition in 1998.

Competition tips: Jennifer Pike

Jennifer Pike © Tom Barnes
We continue our tips series with Jennifer Pike, winner of the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition in 2002.

Piano competitons: What do the participants think?

Pavel Kolesnikov © Colin Way
The world of professional piano-playing today is filled with competitions. But are they really such a great way to spot the stars among the latest generation of talent? We talk to three young pianists about their experiences.

Operalia reflections: Olga Peretyatko

Olga Peretyatko © Dario Acosta
We continue our Operalia series with Olga Peretyatko, winner of the 2nd Prize in 2007.

Operalia reflections: Joseph Calleja

Joseph Calleja © Simon Fowler
We kick off our Operalia series with Joseph Calleja, winner of the CulturArte Prize in 1999.

Operalia reflections: Rosa Feola

Rosa Feola © Todd Rosenberg
October's themed month explores the world of international competitions through the eyes of some finalists of top competitions around the world. We continue our Operalia series with Rosa Feola, winner of the 2nd Prize, the Zarzuela Prize and the Audience Prize CulturArte Prize in 2010.

Operalia reflections: Angel Blue

Angel Blue © Sonya Garza
We continue our Operalia series with Angel Blue, winner of the 2nd Prize and the Zarzuela Prize in 2009.
The juror's view

From the Chairman of the Jury: Krijn Koetsveld

Krijn Koetsveld © Jip Warmerdam
Early Music specialist Krijn Koetsveld has been a member of competition juries for over 30 years. He offers a perspective on competitions from the juror's chair. 

10 Top Tips for a music career...without a win

Musical instruments, Evaristo Baschenis (1617 - 1677) © Wikimedia commons
Prominent international music competitions – no matter your opinion on them – share one invaluable prize in addition to the money: publicity.
The serious stuff...

10 Top Tax Tips for UK Musicians

If you're a professional musician in the UK, there are things you need to understand about tax. Musician Specialist Accountant Andy Levett gives you his top tips.