The 12th International Jean Sibelius Violin Competition will be held in Helsinki from November 22 to December 3 in 2020 organized by the Sibelius Society and the Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki. The competition is open to all violinists born in or after 1990.


Link to online application will be opened in May 2020.


Preliminary Audition Round

The repertoire for the preliminary round must consist of following works from the contestant's competition programme.

  1. Bach: one movement from a Solo Sonata or Partita
  2. Paganini: one Caprice or Ernst: 'Letzte Rose' variations or Ernst: 'Erlkönig' (Schubert)
  3. Sibelius: 1st movement of Concerto in D minor, Op. 47  


A jury appointed by the Competition Committee pre-selects applicants based on their application documents and video recordings. Those accepted for the competition will be notified by September 15 in 2020.


The order of performance will be decided by a draw organized in Helsinki at 12:00 on November 22 in 2020. Contestants must be either present in person or represented by a proxy. The order of performance remains the same until the end of the competition. 


Competition repertoire

The Competition Committee encourages contestants to create a recital programme that in the best possible way reflects their personality as violinists.


The competition consists of three rounds which are open to the public. The entire repertoire, with the exception of the commissioned work performed in the 2nd round and a possible chamber music piece, must be played from memory. In the 1st and 2nd rounds, the order of the programme is free. The duration of each programme shall be monitored by the Competition Committee in advance.

1st round: November 23-25

Approximately 40 contestants will be accepted for the 1st round. 

  1. 2-3 movements of Bach's Solo Sonata/Partita or Ciaccona
    (In Bach's Partita in B minor, Double belongs to the previous movement.)
  2. 2-3 compositions by Sibelius for violin and piano (excluding Sonatina Op. 80)
    2 Pieces for Violin and Piano, Op. 2
    2 Pieces for Violin and Piano, Op. 77
    4 Pieces for Violin and Piano, Op. 78
    6 Pieces for Violin and Piano, Op. 79
    5 Pieces for Violin and Piano, Op. 81
    Novellette for Violin and Piano, Op. 102
    Danses Champêtres for Violin and Piano, Op. 106
    4 Pieces for Violin and Piano, Op. 115
    Pieces for Violin and Piano, Op. 116 
  3. Two Caprices by Paganini or Ernst: 'Letzte Rose' variations or Ernst: 'Erlkönig' (Schubert) 


Duration: each participant is allowed max. 35 minutes on stage.   


2nd round: November 27-29 

18 contestants will advance to the 2nd round. The programme may include works for solo violin or for violin and piano, but not violin concertos or parts of them with piano accompaniment. Compositions from the 1st round can not be played again in the 2nd round.

  1. Sibelius: Two Humoresques, Op. 87 and Op. 89
  2. Magnus Lindberg: Work for Solo Violin (7-9')
  3. Recital programme of the contestant’s own choosing.

Duration: each participant is allowed max. 70 minutes on stage. 


Final: December 1-3

Six contestants will advance to the final.

  1. Sibelius: Concerto in D minor, Op. 47 
  2. One of the following concertos: Bartók (No. 2), Beethoven, Berg, Brahms, Britten, Korngold, Mendelssohn (Op. 64), Nielsen, Paganini (No. 1), Prokofiev (No. 1 or 2), Shostakovich (No. 1) or Tchaikovsky 


Participants may play with competition pianists provided by the competition. Each contestant is allowed one hour of rehearsal time with a pianist before the 1st round and two hours of rehearsal time before the 2nd round. Contestants can also bring their own pianist at their own expense. 


The competition organizer holds the unrestricted right to broadcast the competition performances on radio and TV, to make audio and video recordings and to stream and share parts of the competition performances on the Internet and in other data networks without paying any remuneration to the contestants or their pianists.