Previous winners

Previous winners

Winner, violin competition 2019

Johan Dalene

Johan Dalene is already making an impact on the international scene, performing with leading orchestras and in important recital halls both at home in Sweden and abroad. He is currently Artist in Residence with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and a BBC New Generation Artist. Although the pandemic has seen the cancellation of both his Wigmore and Carnegie Hall debuts, there is still much to look forward to, including performances at the 2021 Bergen, Rosendal and Verbier Festivals and debuts with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra with Sakari Oramo, Czech Philharmonic with Franz Welser-Möst, and Konzerthausorchester Berlin with Christoph Eschenbach. As an ECHO Rising Star artist in the 2021 / 22 season he is scheduled to give recitals throughout Europe including at the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Vienna Konzerthaus and Amsterdam Concertgebouw.

In Spring 2020, Johan Dalene’s debut album on BIS received a Diapason d’Or in France and was chosen as an Editor’s Choice by both the BBC Music Magazine and Gramophone in the UK. Reviewing his performances of the Tchaikovsky and Barber violin concertos, Gramophone wrote “there’s a ‘presence’ about Johan Dalene’s playing that announces a musician of special sensibilities … a maturity way beyond his years…” 

His second release on BIS is released in March 2021;“Nordic Rhapsody” is a recital programme with pianist Christian Ihle Hadland featuring works by six Nordic composers – Sinding, Stenhammar, Sibelius, Rautavvaara, Greig and, of course, Nielsen.

Winner, clarinet competition 2019

Blaž Šparovec

Jury member in the 2019 Carl Nielsen Clarinet Competition, Michael Collins commented : “Blaž was the deserving winner … He showed immense qualities from the start and is able to communicate with the audience his joy of music making. His technical skill and warm sound will make him stand out as a true individual. I wish him well for a very bright future”.

In July 2021 Orchid Classics will release Blaž’s new album of 20th century works, which he recorded with the Odense Symphony Orchestra following the Carl Nielsen Competition. Featured on the new album will be the clarinet concertos of Nielsen and Copland as well as Lutoslawski’s Dance Preludes and Debussy’s Première Rhapsodie.

Alongside a growing reputation as a soloist, Blaž has been principal clarinetist of the Gürzenich-Orchestra Cologne since 2015 and is Associate Professor at the University of Arts in Berlin. He also performs as a guest principal with leading German orchestras, including the Staaskapelle Dresden and WDR Symphony Orchestra, and is a passionate chamber musician, partnering with artists such as Anna Lucia Richter, Bernarda Fink and José Maria Blumenschein.

Winner, flute competition 2019

Joséphine Olech

Joséphine Olech enjoys a busy career as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral musician. Appointed principal flute of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra in 2017, she has since solidified her place as an eminent young artist by winning the First Prize, Audience Prize, and Junior Jury Prize at the Carl Nielsen International Competition in 2019.

Joséphine’s career has taken her to festivals such as the Copenhagen Summer Festival (Denmark), Flâneries Musicales de Reims (France), International Chamber Music Festival Ede (Netherlands). As a chamber musician, she regularly performs with Juliette Hurel (flute), Julien Hervé (clarinet), Anaïs Gaudemard (harp), Sélim Mazari (piano), Quatuor Hanson and Ensemble Ouranos. Joséphine trained as an orchestral musician at the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Academy where she has since returned to perform by invitation. As principal flute of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, she plays regularly under the baton of such conductors as Lahav Shani, Yannick Nézet-Seguin, and Valery Gergiev and in May 2021 she will feature as soloist with the orchestra in the world premiere of Thierry Escaich’s Flute concerto.

In July 2021 Orchid Classics will release Joséphine’s new album which she recorded with the Odense Symphony Orchestra following the Carl Nielsen Competition. Featured on the new album will be the flute concertos of Carl Nielsen, Theodoor Verhey and Jean Françaix.

Replays from 2019

Get the full #Nielsen2019 experience. Replays, behind-the-scenes footage and interviews all available on

Joint winner, violin competition 2016

Jiyoon Lee

Jiyoon’s debut recording of the Korngold & Nielsen Concertos, released in 2018 on Orchid Classics was named Editor’s Choice in Gramophone and the BBC Music Magazine.

Now First concertmaster of Staatskapelle Berlin, Jiyoon is rapidly building an international reputation as an emerging young artist, winning praise for her brilliant virtuosity and passionate performances, which the New York Times described as “deeply personal solo with juicy tone”.

“When you sit on a competition jury you are looking for somebody who makes you forget that it is a competition” commented Nikolaj Znaider “and I remember very clearly hearing Jiyoon play for the first time in 2016 and she did just that. Her playing was immediately a breath of fresh air. She is a terrific violinist and I can see her go very far. She has both lightness in her playing and yet she is a musician who takes very seriously her craft.”

Joint winner, violin competition 2016

Liya Petrova

Following the 2016 Carl Nielsen Violin Competition, Liya Petrova released her debut CD featuring Nielsen and Prokofiev violin concertos with the Odense Symphony Orchestra and conductor Kristiina Poska on Orchid Classics. Reviewing the album the London Times praised her “gorgeous sound – ripe and silvery, phrasing with majestic breadth”, the Strad her “exceptional tonal variety” and Gramophone for ” the way she binds phrases together … so that when we reach the last minutes of the concerto (Prokofiev No. 1) there’s a vivid sense of a journey coming to an unpredicted end  and a transformation, a new world beginning.”

“I remember Liya’s performance of the Nielsen Concerto in the 2016 violin competition and I was completely blown away by it” commented Nikolaj Znaider. “It was remearkable to hear how she had absorbed that music, how it had become hers. I have heard Liya subsequent to the competition and seen the great way in which she is developing. She is maturing and refining her technique and has become a really strong musical voice with a future that will only get brighter and brighter.”

Winner, flute competition 2014

Sebastian Jacot

After winning the Carl Nielsen International Flute Competition in 2014, Pierre-Yves Artaud described Mr. Jacot: “He has all the qualities we were looking for. He has charisma, musicality, and technical prowess. I am so pleased that we have discovered this new talent”. Jacot has received First prize in 2002 and 2004 at the Youth Swiss Music Competition, in 2005 he was named Soloist of the Year by the “Jmanuel und Evamaria Schenk Stiftung” and in April 2013 he won First prize and Audience award at the famous Kobe International Flute Competition.

Click here to view Sebastian Jacot’s Carl Nielsen Competition CD: “Premiere!”

Winner, clarinet competition 2013

Sergey Eletskiy

Sergey Eletskiy commenced his musical education at Central Music School in Moscow studying with V. Ferapontov. From 2007 to 2012 he studied with prof. E. Petrov in Moscow State Conservatory.  From 2009-2013 he studied at the Music Highschool in Lübeck with prof. R.Wehle. Eletskiy has played as soloist with many orchestras (the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Munich Chamber Orchestra, Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra, Odense Symphony Orchestra, Duesseldorf Symphony Orchestra, and others). Sergey is a prize winner at several international music competitions, such as 3rd International Clarinet competition in Gent (2015), Carl Nielsen International Competition (2013), International music competition – ARD (2012). At the moment Sergey is the principal clarinetist in the Russian National Orchestra and in the Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre.

Winner, violin competition 2012

Olga Volkova

Olga Volkova studied at the Prokofiev Children’s Arts School № 1 in Vladivostok, at the Central School of Music of the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatoire and at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln. In 2014 she also began to study at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in Brussels. Prize-winner at numerous international competitions. At the age of sixteen she was named the winner of the International Niccolò Paganini Violin Competition in Moscow and won the opportunity to perform on the ex-Paganini violin crafted by Carlo Bergonzi. In 2012 she received 1st prize and all special prizes at the International Carl Nielsen Competition in Denmark. Since 2016 she has been a member of the Mariinsky Orchestra.

Winner, flute competition 2010

Adriana Ferreira

Adriana Ferreira is one of the most remarkable flutists of her generation. In 2010, Adriana won the First Prize, Orchestra Prize and Young Jury’s Prize at the Carl Nielsen International Competition. In 2013, she was awarded 3rd Prize at the Kobe International Competition and in 2014 she won the First Prize at the Severino Gazzelloni Competition in Italy. She has also won the Geneva International Competition. Recently, she has been appointed Principal Flute of the Rotterdam Philhamonic Orchestra. Since 2012, she holds the position of Co-Principal Flute at the Orchestre National de France. Performing in numerous festivals, she played as soloist with the Gulbenkian Orchestra, Odense Orchestra, Geneva and Kremlin chamber orchestras.

Winner, clarinet competition 2009

Olli Leppäniemi

Olli Leppäniemi’s soloist career was launched after winning the 1st Prize in the 2009 Carl Nielsen International Clarinet Competition, and in addition receiving two special awards, Best Interpretation of Danish Music and the Orchestra Prize. He is considered one of the finest and most established orchestral clarinetists of his generation having held three principal clarinet positions, among these several solo clarinet positions in Finland as well as the solo seat in the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and currently the solo clarinet with Turku Symphony Orchestra. His soloist appearances include performances with the Bergen Philharmonic, Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, Odense Symphony Orchestra as well as several Finnish orchestras.

Winner, violin competition 2008

Hrachya Avanesyan

In 2006, while still a teenager, Hracha won the first prize at the Yehudi Menuhin Competition. In 2008 his talent was recognized again when he won the prestigious Carl Nielsen Competition in Denmark. During the last years he has made acclaimed debuts with orchestras such as the Belgian Nat. Orch., LCO and Danish National Symphony Orchestra. He has also given recitals in prestigious venues like the Wigmore Hall, Théatre des Champs Elysées and Santory Hall.

Winner, flute competition 2006

Alexandra Grot

Alexandra Grot began studying the flute when she was 8. In 1993 she entered the famous Gnessin School where she studied with prof. Albert Goffmann. She continued her studies at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris and later the Musikhochschule in Munich. Alexandra has won several, international prizes: 1st Prize at the International Competition “Jeunesses Musicales” in Bucharest (1997), 2nd Prize at the International Competition “Pacem in Terris” in Bayreuth (2000), 1st Prize and three special prizes at the Carl Nielsen International Competition in Odense (2006) and special prize at the International Kobe Competition (2009). Grot gives concerts both as a soloist and with orchestras.

Winner, clarinet competition 2005

Olivier Patey

Olivier Patey has performed regularly in the orchestra of the Opéra de Paris and with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. He is a prizewinner of the ARD International Music Competition and the Carl Nielsen International Music Competition. As a soloist, he has worked with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Munich Kammerorchester and the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. Between 2005 and 2013, Olivier Patey played in the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in Berlin, where he was appointed principal in 2009. He has also been a member of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra and principal clarinetist of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2013 he joined the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Before that, Patey had served as principal clarinettist of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra for one year. Patey is also active as a chamber musician.

Winner, violin competition 2004

Hyuk Joo Kwun

Born in Seoul, Korea, in 1985, Hyuk-Joo Kwun began violin studies at the age of 3. Three years later, he won a top prize at a local competition. He entered the Korean National Institute of Arts (Seoul) as a student of Nam-Yun Kim at age 6. In 2001, Hyuk-Joo graduated from the Moscow Central Music School and entered the Moscow Conservatory. He has won several prizes in prestigious competitions. Hyuk-Joo also toured with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra throughout Italy and Russia performing the solo works of Paganini, and performing Mozart with the Korean Symphony in Austria, Slovakia, Italy, Denmark, Spain, Israel, and Moscow. Hyuk-Joo Kwun sadly passed away in 2016.

Winner, flute competition 2002

Pirmin Grehl

Pirmin Grehl has won prizes at numerous competitions, among them the first prize at the International Carl Nielsen Flute competition in 2002 and the second prize at the International ARD Music competition. Since 2002 he has been playing as principal flutist in the Konzerthausorchester Berlin. Grehl has also played as a soloist with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart, Berliner Sinfonie Orchester, Rheinische Philharmonie Koblenz, Jenaer Philharmoniker and others. He has performed solo concerts with chamber orchestras like Kammerorchester Berlin and Münchner Kammerorchester. Grehl also performed at the Rheingau Musik Festival, the Festspiele Mecklenburg Vorpommern and the Kammermusikfest Lockenhaus.

Winner, clarinet competition 2001

Alexander Fiterstein

Clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein is considered one of today’s most exceptional artists. Fiterstein has performed in recital, with distinguished orchestras, and with chamber music ensembles throughout the world. He won first prize at the Carl Nielsen International Clarinet Competition and received the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant Award. The Washington Post has described his playing as “dazzling in its spectrum of colors, agility, and range. Every sound he makes is finely measured without inhibiting expressiveness” and The New York Times described him as “a clarinetist with a warm tone and powerful technique.”

Winner, violin competition 2000

Masaaki Tanokura

Masaaki Tanokura graduated from the Julliard School in Violin. He has won prizes at numerous competitions, including the first prize at the 45th Japan Student Music Competition, the first prize at the Nakamichi Violin Competition and the first prize at the 6th Carl Nielsen International Violin Competition. Tanokura has performed as a soloist in France, Denmark, the United States and Japan. He has also appeared with such orchestras as the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra/Kazumasa Watanabe, the NHK Symphony DanYu Orchestra/Naoto Otomo, the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra/Yuzo Toyama, as well as the Odense Symphony Orchestra under Jan Wagner. Tanokura is also active as a chamber musician.

Winner, violin competition 1999 (NY)

Leor Maltinski

Leor Maltinski studied at the Juilliard School and at the Peabody Conservatory of Music. Maltinski is a prizewinner of the “N. Paganini” (Genova, 1995) and the “M. Long—J. Thibaud” (Paris, 1996) international violin competitions. A subsequent First Prize at the 1999 Carl Nielsen International Violin Competition (Special Edition New York City) enabled him to present numerous violin recitals and perform with orchestras throughout the US and Europe. Mr. Maltinski is frequently invited to participate in international music festivals both as soloist and as an ensemble player, and he presently occupies the Isaac Stern Chair in the first violin section of the San Francisco Symphony.

Winner, flute competition 1998

Karl-Heinz Schütz

Karl-Heinz Schütz is Principal Soloflute with the Vienna State Opera Orchestra and also plays the soloflute at the Wiener Philharmoniker. He held this position at the Wiener Symphoniker from 2005 to 2011. He is Flute Professor at Konservatorium Wien-University. Schütz has won the two first prizes at the Carl Nielsen International Flute Competition 1998 and the Krakov International Flute Competition 1999. As a soloist he has been playing with orchestras such as Wiener Symphoniker, Wiener Concertverein, Classical players Vienna, Stuttgarter Philharmoniker, Symphony Orchestra of Barcelona, Odense Symphony and others. As a soloflute he has performed with conductors such as Ivan Fischer, Lorin Maazel, Kent Nagano, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Vladimir Fedosejev, Fabio Luisi and Franz Welser-Möst.

Winner, clarinet competition 1997

Spyros Mourikis

Spyros Mourikis won the first Prize, the Orchestra’s Prize and the Audience Prize at the Carl Nielsen International Clarinet Competition in 1997. In 1997 he also won the young Artist Prize of the Greek Association of Theatre and Music Reviewers. As a soloist he regularly performs with all the orchestras in Greece and has given concerts with the Odense Symphony Orchestra, the Paris Conservatory Orchestra, the Copenhagen Philharmonic, the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra and the Philharmonic Orchestra of South-West Germany. He is solo clarinetist at the Athens State Orchestra and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra directed by Claudio Abbado. He is today the professor of clarinet at the Athens Conservatory.

Winner, violin competition 1996

Adele Anthony

Adele Anthony performs as a soloist with orchestras and in recitals, as well as being active in chamber music. Anthony’s career spans the continents of North America, Europe, Australia, India and Asia. Being an avid chamber music player, Anthony appears regularly at La Jolla SummerFest and Aspen Music Festival. Abroad, she has performed with the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra, Aalborg and Aarhus Symphony Orchestras, Kuopio Symphony Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, NDR Orchestra Hannover and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. Ms. Anthony holds numerous awards and prizes.

Winner, violin competition 1992

Nikolaj Znaider

Nikolaj Znaider performs at the highest level as both conductor and virtuoso violin soloist with the world’s most-distinguished orchestras. He has been Principal Guest Conductor of the Mariinsky Orchestra Saint Petersburg since 2010, and was previously Principal Guest Conductor of the Swedish Chamber Orchestra. Both as conductor and as soloist, Znaider is interested in deepening his connections with key orchestras where he feels a special bond, working regularly with orchestras such as the Staatskapelle Dresden, Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw, Detroit Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Washington National Symphony, and Munich Philharmonic orchestras.

Winner, violin competition 1988

Alexei Kochvanets

Winner, violin competition 1984

Osamu Yaguchi

Winner, violin competition 1980

Kathleen Winkler

The artistry of Kathleen Winkler has earned her the plaudits of critics and audiences alike worldwide since her solo debut at the age of seventeen with the Philadelphia Orchestra. She has been heard with such orchestras as the Detroit Symphony (with which she has toured on many occasions), the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Danish Radio Orchestra, the Odense Byorkester, the Polish Slaska Philharmonic, the Grand Rapids Symphony, the Savannah Symphony, and the Phoenix Symphony, to name a few. She has toured throughout the U.S. and Canada as well as having performed in Sweden, Poland, Germany, Spain, and the Canary Islands.