2022 Competition

A Competition with a Difference

Competition President
Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider

Artistic Advisors
Martin Fröst (clarinet)
Emmanuel Pahud (flute)

In 2022 the Carl Nielsen International Competition is expanding to include an integrated programme of informal mentoring, coaching and networking opportunities, especially created to support and develop the participants’ horizons in preparation for their future careers.

Young musicians are encouraged both to compete in the Competition and participate in Espansiva!  at no extra cost. Participants will be offered private accommodation for the entire period to ensure they are able to compete and engage in the full programme without additional expense. Every evening there will be the opportunity to relax and eat together at the Carl Nielsen Pop-Up Pub, where there will also be informal music-making and entertainment, as well as the valuable chance to connect with the leading industry professionals involved in the Competition.

“The world has changed and this means that as competition organisers we should also adapt” said Competition President, Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider. “While our priority is of course to find the brightest and most talented young musicians of today, we also feel it is vital to create an off-stage experience that benefits all the participants who come to Odense.”

“There was already something particularly special about the atmosphere surrounding the competition in 2019. With three competitions running parallel to each other there was a buzz in the air and a feeling more akin to a festival. It is this atmosphere that we wish to build on by creating an accompanying platform where the participants have an opportunity to meet their future colleagues and the music world’s movers and shakers, all in an informal and relaxed setting.”

Excellence, Curiosity, Individuality and Community. These were the values that were core to Carl Nielsen in his approach to life and music and they are the same values that underpin the approach of both the Competition and Espansiva!

The Competition

Heading the jury of the three competitions in 2022 will be Noah Bendix-Balgley (violin), Karl-Heinz Schütz (flute) and Yehuda Gilad (clarinet). Artistic Advisors Emmanuel Pahud (flute) and Martin Fröst (clarinet) will actively participate in the selection process. Martin Fröst will also join the clarinet jury for the final round of the competition.

The participants will also benefit from the presence of Artistic Managers from all the top Nordic orchestras who will be involved as jury members, mentors or moderators, bringing with them high profile solo opportunities for the winners. First Prizes winners also receive €12.000 and a recording with the Odense Symphony Orchestra on Orchid Classics (equivalent to the value of €13.000).

As President it remains crucial for Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider that the Carl Nielsen Violin Competition retains the same level of transparancy and fairness as in previous years. Having taken on a part-time teaching professorship at the Danish Royal Academy of Music at the start of the pandemic, he has relinquished his position as Jury Head and will instead take on an active role, participating in talks and workshops and conducting the final round of the violin competition.

Applications from violinists, clarinetists and flautists under the age of thirty will open on 15 August and close on 30 October.


Espansiva! takes its title from Carl Nielsen’s third symphony. It was the first work to bring the composer real international success. One German critic called it “a mighty animating call from the North” and Nielsen’s biographer wrote that it “represents that rare thing: the state of perfect health – mental and physical.”

“Placing a greater emphasis on musicians’ mental and physical health to prepare them for sustainable and fulfilling careers is the major driver behind this new initiative” commented Trudy Wright, professional development coach and curator of Espansiva!. “We have developed a series of interactive workshops for the participants, interwoven with inspiring talks by industry professionals, soloists and musicians who share invaluable advice along with their own experiences of the music business. Espansiva! takes inspiration from Carl Nielsen’s optimistic, outward-looking and fun-loving approach to music and life.”

Competition President, Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider, and Artistic Advisors
Emmanuel Pahud and Martin Fröst

Artistic Advisory from left: Martin Fröst, Nikolaj Znaider, Emmanuel Pahud

Jury Chairs
Noah Bendix-Balgley (Violin Competition), Karl-Heinz Schütz (Flute Competition) and Yehuda Gilad (Clarinet Competition)