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Music competitions in Finland: an overview

by FMQ

In 2022, several international competitions as well as annual local ones were organized in Finland. The competition year kicked off with The XII international Jean Sibelius Violin Competition held in Helsinki in May. Take a look at this list compiled by FMQ and get familiar with some of the most well-known Finnish music competitions across genres!

The International Jean Sibelius Violin Competition

The International Jean Sibelius Violin Competition is one of the most prestigious music competitions in the world. The Sibelius Society of Finland launched the competition in 1965 in connection with the centenary of Sibelius’s birth. The competition is nowadays organised jointly by the Sibelius Society of Finland and the Sibelius Academy. 

The artistic importance of the competition lies in its potential for discovering new talents and helping young artists in their careers. The competitors – all under 30 – play both optional and obligatory repertoire, including one being the Sibelius Violin Concerto together with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra or the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. 

Find out more about the competition here.


International Maj Lind Piano Competition

The Maj Lind Competition is an internationally well-recognized piano competition. It is named after its benefactress Maria (Maj) Lind (1876–1942), a music lover who studied the piano in Kuopio and St. Petersburg. She inherited a considerable fortune, some of which she bequeathed to the Sibelius Academy “for the development of pianists” – the first Maj Lind Piano Competition was financed by a fund set up under the bequest and held in 1945. Since 2002, it has been held every five years as an international event. 

In 2022, the fifth International Maj Lind Piano Competition was open to all pianists born in or after 1992, regardless of nationality, and held in Helsinki in October. The competitors played a wide selection of works by composers ranging from Beethoven to Sibelius and Rachmaninov to Chopin, but also more recent repertoire. The next competition will take place in 2027.

Find out more about the competition here.




Beautiful summer nights and Finnish tango – a formula which caught the imagination of Lasse Lintala and Tauno Äijälä in the early 1980s. The idea had legs, and Tangomarkkinat became one of the biggest events in the Finnish festival calendar. During its 30-year history, Tangomarkkinat has had a great influence on the Finnish popular music scene. The singing competition organised in conjunction with the festival has created countless new stars. The tango song-writing contest produces a number of new tango compositions each year, some of which go on to become standards.

Based on ticket sales, Tangomarkkinat is one of the largest festivals promoted by the non-profit organisation Finland Festivals, and, according to their webpage, the average number of visitors is around 100,000 per year. The next competition will be organized in July 2023.

Find more about the competition (in Finnish):



Turku Cello Competition

Some of Finland’s finest young cellists appeared in Turku this year to take part in the Turku Cello Competition, where the final concert featured a selection of the most distinguished works in the cello repertoire. Turku Cello Competition aims to bring new generations of cellists to the limelight. 

The Turku Cello Competition celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. Like the Jean Sibelius Violin Competition, this also has an age limit – it is intended for cellists who are under 30. They must also be Finnish citizens. The competition is held every fourth year. The competition was last held in Turku in late August to early September 2022.

Find more about the competition:



Konsta Jylhä Competition

Since 2010, The Folk Music Institute and Pelimannitalo (The Fiddlers' House) have organised the Konsta Jylhä Competition. The competition's theme varies from year to year, and its finals take place during the Kaustinen Folk Music Festival. 

The competition is intended for duos; at least one of the instruments has to be the violin. Both members must be living in Finland, and the performance must be based on the traditional style and repertoire of an established fiddler.

Find more about the competition here



Uuden musiikin kilpailu – UMK

UMK – the Contest for New Music, is Finland’s biggest annually broadcast music show. The winner of UMK goes from an audience of millions in Finland to performing in front of hundreds of millions of international viewers watching the Eurovision Song Contest – the world's biggest music entertainment programme. 

Every song in this year’s UMK rose to the Top 50 on Finland’s Spotify charts, with the most popular songs taking the top spots of nearly every chart. UMK is also attracting interest abroad: over a third of the views on YouTube were outside of Finland.

The finale of the next UMK music show will be held in Turku in February 2023.


The Finnish Folk Music Competition in Accordion Playing 

Finland’s oldest continuously arranged accordion competitions happened for the fifty-first time this year. The Folk Music Competition in Accordion Playing as well as the Gold and Silver Accordion competitions are organized by the Finnish Accordion Association in cooperation with Sata-Häme Soi in the city of Ikaalinen. Ikaalinen came to national attention in Finland in particular through the Gold Accordion competition, which was popular on TV.

During the competitions, the finest accordion music melodies were performed by skilled musicians. Award-winning players of the Folk Music Competition will be invited to perform at the ‘Folk Musician Masters Through The Years’ concerts, which takes place during autumn and winter in a number of locations.

Find more about the competition here.

Jyväskylä Music Competitions by the Foundation for Music Promotion in Central Finland

The stated purpose of the The Foundation for Music Promotion in Central Finland (Keski-Suomen musiikin edistämissäätiö) is to advance music education in the region by organizing music competitions and other opportunities for students to perform in front of a live audience.

The bigger competitions arranged by the foundation take place in every three year. The Juhani Heinonen Violin Competition was in March 2022. Next Ilmari Hannikainen Piano Chamber Music Competition will be held dating March 2 – 9, 2023 in Jyväskylä. The Competition Committee has qualified twenty ensembles to compete in the international category open to ensembles from all countries. The jury consists of top experienced musicians and pedagogues. 

Find more about the Jyväskylä Music Competitions here.