Danish viola wins contest chaired by Danish professor

Danish viola wins contest chaired by Danish professor


norman lebrecht

November 01, 2020

The results are in from the Oskar Nedbal International Viola Competition in Prague, held online. There were 17 contestants in the final.

The winner is Nicholas Algot Swensen, 21, from Denmark.

The jury was chaired by Professor Tim Frederiksen, Royal Danish Academy of Music, Copenhagen, Denmark.

The other judges were 3 Czechs, a Pole and an American.

Good to see the competition industry is back in business online.



  • Sam says:

    Does this violist study with the professor? If not, is the new SD standard that no member of a competition jury may be a citizen of a country from which there is a competitor?

    • Hana says:

      Dear Sam, no – Nicholas Swensen doesn’t study with Prof. Frederikem, he is a student of Lars Anders Tomter. It very strange article – no names of other jury members, no names of other prize holders etc.

    • 697 says:

      Super weird titul as well as the article. It says nothing about the competition! And it’s kind of rude. Btw. As far as I understood the winner is a student of Lars Anders Tomter.

    • Tamino says:

      Tim Frederiksen is Professor/Head of chamber music at the Danish Royal Academy. Tomter – Swensen’s teacher – is professor at the same academy. They are from the same „family“. It stinks heavily. Even if it were all clean, common sense would dictate, for Frederiksen to not vote for a student so close to him and cease active jury duty. Maybe that‘s what he did?

      • Hana says:

        Its really unfair from you to say this. First, as Mrs.Fialova wrote here, go to the YouTube Channel and listen all competitors – and you will see it’s more than clean. I followed the whole competition and Mr. Swensen is an amazing violist and he deserved to win. You have no idea how hard is to make the competition these days and how much these young violists worked to be able to participate. But it’s so easy to say bad things withnout knowing anything.

        • Tamino says:

          Did Mr. Frederiksen vote for the student from his faculty and his chamber music tutoring, or did he not?

          • Hana says:

            I have no idea, I have nothing to do with the competition, I just followed it and to me is super fair. Ask them if you want. Btw. Three jury members had students in the first round and none of them went into the second round. They had on their web that teachers cannot vote for their students. I would really recommend to go to their YouTube Channel and listen the second round. Its really clear that the result is very fair. I never saw a rule on any major competition that a jury member cannot vote for a student from the same Academy. Maybe read a bit more about competitions.

  • Interested observer says:

    And jury member Kristina Fialová is an ex student in Denmark of the jury chairman …

    • Kristina says:

      Dear Interested observer, yes I´m the competition director and it´s my job to choose Jury members. So I choose renowned professors and violists. This article doesn´t say basically anything about our competition, it has only very confusing titul. The winner is student of Prof. Tomter, as somebody mentioned already here. If you wish to find our more about our competition, please visit our web or Facebook as well as our Youtube channel Nedbal Competition 2020, where you can listen our competitiors. Kristina Fialová

      • Bone says:

        NL loves to say things without actually saying anything. Just his way of creating harmony and unity in our little classical community.

  • Nelson Armitano says:

    Are you implying anything by mentioning the nationalities? Just wondering ..

  • Carlos Solare says:

    “This article doesn´t say basically anything about our competition.”

    Of course not: the less facts are included, the more room is left for malicious insinuations. In other words, business as usual.

  • J Kaznowski says:

    Remember how the very first Leeds International Piano competition (earlier 60s) was won by a 17 year old boy from….err…. Leeds ; Michael Roll

  • Mick the Knife says:

    These accusations following competitions are very unfair to the students who win. From the student’s perspective, he prepared, he played, and he won. That is what is actually known. The rest is mere speculation that only serves undermine and the student.

  • Ling Ling says:

    TFW You win a competition, but you still play the viola. iNtErEsTiNg.

  • VP says:

    Nicholas is several levels better than the other competitors, this is obvious to anyone who takes the time to check out the videos of the competition and has more knowledge about viola playing than mr Lebrecht. It would be a scandal to not name him a winner. Maybe the competition could have dealt with it better communication wise, but that is not the fault of Nicholas.

    As far as I know, N never took s single lesson with Tim Frederiksen, but happens to come from the same country. It borders on racism to suggest that Tim Fredersrn would push through a from his own nation, just because of nationality.

    • Tamino says:

      They come from the same faculty. That’s quite a bit closer than just from the same country.

      • Don says:

        It’s your opinion. I know faculties where teachers compete together and they would be able to underrate their collegue student just because they are jealous. Plus the Jury had 6 members, so it’s not about the one vote.

  • KK says:

    And to make the picture total, the Danish Jury member is married to:
    who also heads the Danish Radio Chamber music competition.

  • Larry W says:

    From the Nedbal Viola Competition website: Members of the jury are not allowed to evaluate their present students.