Just in: A major violin competition bans teachers from jury

Just in: A major violin competition bans teachers from jury


norman lebrecht

July 13, 2018

Statement today by Nikolai Znajder, president of the 2019 Carl Nielsen Competition:

‘I believe it is crucial to find the most honest and humane way possible of organising the competition process and for this reason we have set four premises for the violin competition;

‘Firstly, the jury will not include any teachers; Secondly, votes will be made public at every stage of the competition; Thirdly, the jury will not be provided with biographies in the first round and will be encouraged not to read up on the participants in their spare time;

‘And fourthly, as the first round of the competition takes place over two days, it allows us to split it into parts. On the first day the jury (not the participants) will be seated behind screens and the participants will perform, unnamed and in a random order, ensuring that the jury use only their ears. On the second day of Round One the jurors will be able to both see and hear the participants who will again perform in random order. The jury will vote after each day and the contestants will receive the aggregate from the scores of those two days.  I think this will be very interesting and provides a way of freeing the violin jury of pre-conceived ideas and allowing for the competition to be both fair and honest.’

We’re getting there.


  • Trevor S. says:

    Nice. But what can stop jury to gather a cahoot?
    Dear Joshua, before playing please cough twice. We will know that it’s you.

    • mr oakmountain says:

      It seems to me that they thought carefully about how to address problems with fairness and lack of transparency. Shouldn’t we think well of this, unless evidence of foul play is presented?

  • Jim F. says:

    It would be interesting to find out which major players don’t even have one student.

    • Max Grimm says:

      I think what they mean is that no jury member shall have a former or current student among the candidates while judging this competition.
      As for the different jury panels, they are listed here:

    • Bill says:

      Combination of not so major players and not so major teachers judging a not so major competition. What great solo careers have been launched by winning Nielsen alone?

  • PJA says:

    This has to be a great improvement. Of course it is hard to stop those who are desperate to cheat, but this would seem to take some really good measures to make the competition fairer and more transparent. Let’s hope that the example spreads.

  • Atar Arad says:

    Frankly, I never understood why paid jurors should be allowed to vote secretly, and have never gotten a reasonable answer when raising that issue.

    • Bill says:

      So if they were not paid, secret voting would be acceptable? I’m trying to understand where the issue is for you. Is there a good reason why all the votes shouldn’t be revealed? Maybe that’s a bit awkward for the student when the teacher doesn’t give them high marks, but I’m not sure that is anyone else’s problem, is it?