International Johannes Brahms Competition

Entry deadline: 15 July 2023

The summer of 2023 sees the 29th anniversary of the International Johannes Brahms Competition in Pörtschach, taking place from 3 – 10 September for piano, violin and cello.

The reputation of themusic competition is built on the high standard of musicians – pianists; violin, viola and cello players; chamber musicians and singers¹ – they attract. Each year, more than 400 musicians from over 40 nations compete.

So what makes the Brahms competition so appealing to musicians the world over? A difference between the Pörtschach event and those elsewhere is the transparency in the marking. Rather than using a committee that is out of sight, our jurors each have to give their marks immediately after the performance and in full view of the audience. This helps the understanding of both competitor and spectator, and also eliminates the unnecessary wait for the results that mars other events. Furthermore, it offers the chance for the audience to compare their judgments with the artistic and technical merit scores announced.

The competition in each discipline comprises three rounds. In the first round musicians must perform pieces from a given list. The emphasis is on demonstrating a mastery of the instrument in question. As this stage serves to reduce the field of candidates to a manageable number the points from round one are not carried forward, thus everyone begins the second round on an equal footing. It is here that power of expression, personal style and artistry come to the fore. Since the scores for the second round and third round are added, victory goes to the candidate who consistently performs very well, rather than a musician who produces an isolated display of excellence.

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