First International Jean Sibelius Composition Competition

First International Jean Sibelius Composition Competition

Posted on 4 Aug 2014

The first International Jean Sibelius Composition Competition is organized as part of the 150th anniversary celebrations of Finland’s most prestigious composer. The aim of the competition is to gain new, high-quality repertoire for choirs, pianists and violinists. Its goal is to be an important event nationally and internationally and to emphasize the idea of continuous creativity, one of the main themes of the Sibelius anniversary year.

We gratefully acknowledge the support from the Finnish Cultural Foundation and from the Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland.


a) The competition is open to all composers regardless of nationality. There is no age limit.

b) The competition has three categories:
– works for choir (mixed, women, men, youth and children’s choirs), duration 3–8 minutes
– works for solo piano, duration 5–10 minutes
– works for solo violin or for violin–piano duos, duration 6–9 minutes

Multi-movement works or single-movement works will be accepted.  The use of electronics is allowed in compositions for choir or solo piano, but not in compositions for violin.

The composer is responsible for securing the copyrights to the text for the choir composition. In judging the choir works, the practicality of the musical ideas of the composition will be taken into account.

Two or three of the prize-winning compositions in the violin series will be chosen also as obligatory pieces in the second round (27th-29th November 2015) of the 11th International Jean Sibelius Violin Competition.

The winning work in the choir composition series will be performed in Hämeenlinna in the autumn of 2015, and the winning work in the solo piano composition series will be performed at the Mänttä Music Festival in the summer of 2015.

c) Works entered for the competition must not have been previously published or performed. Only one entry per competition series is permitted per composer. The composer’s estimate of the duration must be marked in the score.

d) Entering the competition. Compositions must be submitted to the Competition Office anonymously, under a pseudonym, in five identical copies. The entries have to reach the Competition Office by 30th September 2014 at the latest. Any entries that reach the Competition Office after that date will be disqualified. The entry must be accompanied by a sealed envelope containing a filled-in entry form that is signed indicating that the composer agrees to abide by the competition rules and the jury’s decisions. The composer must also affirm that neither the work nor any part of it has previously been performed.

At the first assessment stage in November-December 2014 the pre-selection juries will choose a total of 50 compositions at the most for the final review of the jury.

e) Kaija Saariaho will be chairperson of the jury.

The following prizes will be awarded in each series:

First prize 10,000 euros
Second prize 8,000 euros
Third prize 5,000 euros

Also some special prizes may be awarded.  The jury will have the right to divide the prizes in some other way.

f) The organizers reserve the right to première the winning works according the part b) of these rules. The copyrights will remain with the composers. The organizers will have the right to broadcast, record, video, televise, film and photograph the first performances and to make sound and video recordings of these. The scores of all the works in the competition will be placed in the archive of the International Jean Sibelius Composition Competition. Scores will not be returned to the composers. All the composers will be informed individually whether or not they have reached the finals.

g) Entries should be sent to:

The first International Jean Sibelius Composition Competition

Sibelius’s Birth Town Foundation
Viipurintie 4
FIN-13200 Hämeenlinna

h) The original rules are in Finnish. Any disagreements arising from them will be resolved by reference to the Finnish text. The procedure in the event of a force majeure contingency will be decided by the Competition Committee.


Kaija Saariaho, chairperson
Mark Andre
Liza Lim
Magnus Lindberg
Jukka Tiensuu


The first International Jean Sibelius Composition Competition
Sibelius’s Birth Town Foundation
Viipurintie 4
FIN-13200 Hämeenlinna

Tel.: +358 50 381 6145