Slipped Disc is awarded Carl Nielsen prize

Slipped Disc is awarded Carl Nielsen prize


norman lebrecht

April 24, 2016

There were extraordinary scene at the Carl Nielsen finals in Odense on Friday night.

The jury president, Nikolai Znajder, having announced that he did not approve of any of the three finalists approved by the rest of the jury, proceeded to add an extra award for Slipped Disc ‘for creative journalism’.

We accept it with pleasure and pride. Every single word in our earlier report was sourced from reputable Danish media and eyewitnesses.

The award ended, as we predicted, in total shambles. Read more here.


UPDATE: In addition to the three designated prizes, Znaider inserted three more for the eliminated semi-finalists: ‘We have heard many young musicians over the last week who are at different stages of their development. The reality of competitions means there will always be talented violinists who won’t make it through to the next round, even if they show great promise and potential. The jury has therefore decided to create a joint fourth prize which will be awarded to this year’s three semi-finalists each of whom will receive 1000 euros: JI Won Song (23), Karen Kido (21) and Soo-Hyun Park (26).’

First prize was awarded jointly to 23 year old Ji Yoon Lee from South Korea and 25 year old Liya Petrova from Bulgaria and third prize was awarded to 25 year old Luke Hsu from the United States.


  • ohglorioso says:

    This was a cynical award, Norman. Are you that cluelessly ego maniacal bot to get it?

  • Stefan Neubauer says:

    That i like 😉 ”
    creative journalism”

  • erich says:

    It was the Hans Cristian Andersen award for the best fairy tales. SD”s speciality!

  • Emil Archambault says:

    I might point out that for a ‘journalist’ who claims to back himself up with reputable sources, the link in the original post leads to the main page of DR devoted to the competition – not to the source of the quote.

    As for the main point, any reader with a basic mastery of Google Translate will realise that Znaider did not indeed say what you claim he said. He explained that there was disagreement over the weighting of pieces, etc. All of this is normal in a jury – in fact, that is why you have a plural jury, and not just one prof speaking for everyone. He did hint that he personally would have chosen differently, but never did he imply that: a) he wanted to reject all three finalists, and b) that he felt his colleagues were wrong (simply that they gave more weighting to elements he valued less).

    So again, on this blog, facts are taken to be flexible, hyperbolic and misrepresented. In fact, even the prize that SD “won” is incorrect: “Eventyrprisen” translates as the “fairytale prize”. The article clearly (and correctly) avoids any mention of Lebrecht as “journalist” or SD as “journalism”. Equally, you could praise SD for never ‘letting the facts get in the way of a good story’.

  • Julien says:

    There was extraordinary scene on this blog. Norman Lebrecht don’t realize this prize was ironical. May this award open your eyes about your methods.

    • Will Duffay says:

      It’s clear from the justification Norman gives for his earlier piece that he understands the ‘award’ to be ironical.

  • Mulle says:

    Most Danish musicians and music journalists find Znaiders handling of this situation embarrassing. He did indeed go way to far in his comments to the Danish Radio after the semi final and after that moment, he – working together with Jakob Soelberg of Nirdic Artists Management – managed to make this esteemed violin competition into a kindergarten playground. This used to be a professionally run competition with grown ups like Milan Vitek calling the shots.

    The final ceremony was indeed an awkward thing to watch, as no one in the hall knew who Mr. Lebrech was or what mr Znaider was referring to. The prize hardly received any applause except the sound of Znaider clapping his own hands, trying to get the audience going. He even failed to inform the concert host about the extra prize beforehand, leaving her in a strange limbo on the stage.

    Mr. Lebrecht is no angel, but in this story, he is on the right side of the line,
    Znaider etc is not.

    • Anon says:

      Well, who ever expects a solo musicians like NZ – who their whole life since early childhood did nothing else but develop their egocentric existence, and were extremely successful with it by public acclamation (!) – and then expects such person suddenly to chair a competition’s jury with presidential wisdom, bipartisanship and moderation, is not exactly the wisest chap to walk this planet either. You reap what you sow. You choose a big name, you get big publicity. And that actually did happen. Maybe, in these times, actually a worthwhile outcome. Classical music presented X-Factor style.

  • Whoever says:

    What I find extraordinarily amusing is that according to the Danish Radio and TV website page about the competition, the semifinalists were announced on “23. feb. 2016 kl. 18.18” and the finalists on “23. feb. 2016 kl. 18.20.” If Mr. Znaider didn’t agree with the rest of the jury about something, he apparently had some two months in which to discuss the results with them. Is this a case of a “prepared” jury or incompetence at Danish Radio and TV?

  • Christian Kliber says:

    Congratulations with the prize. And congratulations to all the young talents working so very hard to achieve their goals. Sadly it doesn’t make much difference to the outside world. The classical music “industry” is dead as a doornail.

  • David Nice says:

    You just keep at it, don’t you, Norman. Interesting that you removed half of what you’d originally written from the original post – and that despite all evidence to the contrary, you persist in fantasising that the competition ended in ‘total shambles’. How on earth do you come to that conclusion? There were no backstage squabbles, the joint first award was greeted with delight by just about everybody.

    And what leads you to believe that ‘he did not approve of any of the three finalists’?

    Fairytale creativity indeed. The award is well deserved. Now stop gnawing away at an old bone and the rest of us can switch off too.

    • norman lebrecht says:

      David Nice, that’s simply untrue. I did not remove half of what I’d written in the original post. Now go and peddle your frustrations on some other site.

  • Jeffrey Biegel says:

    I will, with great respect to all of my colleagues, make one very important suggestion from this colleague to another: when we are called upon to serve either as President of a jury for an international competition, or to serve on a jury, we must carefully treat these events similarly to court proceedings of any legal nature. Just as we are not allowed to discuss anything about a legal case, nor mention anything about our opinions about a suspect, or witness etc, we must respect that of each competitor in any competition setting so as to avoid any feedback from the competitors, their teachers, their managers, the public etc. This can also set them up for false hope of being considered one of the potential winners. Everyone reads everything online these days, and once we say something about the competitors, as innocently as we think it may be, we are actually breaking the law of most competition handbooks which require that jury members heed from any commentary about the competition or the competitors before and during the competition. It sets up opinions from jury members about the competitors, which must remain silent. Even though it is not vocally shared, anything written is, basically, the same–and perhaps seen by more people than we think. (I hope my advice is taken with good intentions. It is important, and I want to respect my colleagues on this, as well as the competitors.)

  • Mihail Ghiga says:

    APPALING attitude from Nikolai Znajder. Jeffrey makes a point. This is not about an irony adressed or not at Mr. Lebrecht, it’s about deontology, professionalism. So if you don’t like your fellow jury decision you ironise them comparing to a, well, let’s say, intense debate site? And the consequences for the image of the young musicians involved? It’s like saying to the finalist: you don’t deserve this, and to the semi-finalist: you deserve better – maybe, but do not make a media show out of it – and to your fellow jurors: you are idiots.
    In our country (the “xenophobic” Romania) I had the pleasure to organise 4 editions of a national level competition, Orange Prizes for Young Musicians. We had various jury guests invited (Jan Partridge, Katerine Mackintosh, Nicolas Stavy, and so on), all our efforts were put to help the young musicians, and noone let his ego surpass his professonalism, despite some intense debate. At the last edition, they were two very young musicians who made us debate for hours. One was Andrei Ioniță, winner of Tchaikovski competition last year. He had a bad day, and he played slightly too plain, but he was clearly an outstanding musician, and the other was Ionut Hotea, winner of Operalia, who was 18 and we could see he had a tremendous potential, but he was, well, 18, how can you tell how a singer at 18 will do later? We instated special prizes, for the singer it was specified that it was for “promising talent”, after the gala, the jury spent half an hour with him, coaching him with advices, basicly telling him he has a huge potential and he’s up to him to develop. Unfortunately the CEO (splendid exemple of corporate responsibility) changed and that was the last edition.