The Carl Nielsen International Violin Competition takes place every four years in the Danish city of Odense, birth place of the composer Carl Nielsen. The jury is presided over by violinist and conductor Nikolaj Znaider who himself won the competition in 1992 aged 16.

“What we have here in Odense is special” says Znaider. “This is not a hot house environment and more important for all of us on the jury is to create an atmosphere of support for the participants where they feel comfortable approaching any one of us for guidance and advice. The human element of the competition has been as important to the jury as the task of judging.”

The joint winners of the 2016 competition were Jiyoon Lee from South Korea and Liya Petrova from Bulgaria, both studying in Berlin with Kolja Blacher and Antje Weithaas respectively. The prize was split accordingly with each young violinist receiving 11 000 euros, a recording on Orchid Classics with the Odense Symphony Orchestra and a European tour.

Jiyoon and Liya returned to Odense in June 2017 to record their first albums which will be released to tie in with their upcoming tours. For Nikolaj Znaider and the jury it is not only important to support the musicians during the process of the competition but also afterwards – continuing to nurture the emerging winners as they launch their professional careers.