The finals of this year’s Carl Nielsen International Competition took place this weekend – the first time all three categories of violin, flute and clarinet had been held in the same year. The winning musicians were violinist Johan Dalene (18, from Sweden), clarinettist Blaz Sparovec (24, from Slovenia, and flautist Joséphine Olech (24, from France). Each winner receives 12,000 euros, a recording with the Odense Symphony Orchestra on the Orchid Classics label, and performance opportunities with up to 10 orchestras.
The competition is one worth following - last time the violin category was held, in 2016, the two joint winners were Jiyoon Lee and Liya Petrova: both went on to be included in Gramophone’s monthly One to Watch feature, while Lee’s recording of the Nielsen and Korngold violin concertos, on Orchid Classics, was named an Editor’s Choice in our Awards 2018 issue, and Petrova’s (in her case the Nielsen paired with the Prokofiev No 1) was highly praised in November.
As well as second and third prizes, there were also prizes for the Best Interpretation of a newly commissioned piece in each category, an Odense Symphony Orchestra Prize chosen by members of both the Odense Symphony Orchestra and Copenhagen Philharmonic, and a Junior Jury Prize chosen by a jury of young people aged between 14 and 20 who all play violin, clarinet or flute. For full details of the winners, plus video footage of the competition via Medici.tv, visit the Carl Nielsen International Competition's website.