Founded in 1939 under the name of the International Music Competition (CIEM), the Geneva Competition is one of the world's oldest and most prestigious music competitions, along with those in Munich, Brussels and Prague. In 1957, it was one of the founding members of the World Federation of International Music Competitions, whose headquarters are located in Geneva.
Instigated in 1939 as the Concours International d'Exécution Musicale (CIEM), the Geneva International Music Competition is one of the oldest and most prestigious international music competitions on a par with those of Munich, Brussels or Prague. In 1956, the Geneva International Music Competition was one of the founding members of the World Federation of International Music Competitions (WFIMC), which is also headquartered in Geneva.
The Geneva International Music Competition was founded in 1939 by Henri Gagnebin, who was at the time Director of the Geneva Conservatoire and by Frédéric Liebstoeckl, a musician from Vienna who had settled in Geneva. The latter guided the competition as Secretary-General for 40 years, until his death in 1979. He was succeeded by Franco Fisch who held the post until 1998. Didier Schnorhk is currently the third Secretary-General of the Geneva International Music Competition
Chairmanship of the Board of the Foundation of the Geneva International Music Competition was assumed by Henri Gagnebin from 1939 onwards, followed by Samuel Baud-Bovy, Roger Vuataz, Jean Meylan, Claude Viala, Richard-A. Jeandin, François Duchêne and today by Christine Sayegh.
The list of prizewinners of previous competitions is eloquent: over 500 references including names that are well known to classical music enthusiasts. Consult our database.
Some of the best known include:
Maurice André, Martha Argerich, Arturo Benedetti-Michelangeli, Maurice Bourgue, Victoria De Los Angeles, Alan Gilbert, Nelson Goerner, Friedrich Gulda, Heinz Holliger, Nobuko Imai, Jean-Jacques Kantorow, Dagoberto Linhares, Quatuor Melos, Dominique Merlet, Aurèle Nicolet, Fritz Ollendorf, Emmanuel Pahud, Maurizio Pollini, Georg Solti, Maria Stader, Teresa Stich-Randall, José Van Dam, Christian Zacharias, Tabea Zimmermann.
Among the most recent laureates, one should mention the soprano Annette Dasch, clarinetist Fabio Di Casola, pianist Sergei Koudriakov, percussionnist Aiyun Huang, violinist Francesco Manara, trumpettist André Henry, oboeist Alexei Ogrintchuk or cellist Istvàn Vàrdai.
Within the world of international music competitions, a multi-disciplinary approach is rare indeed and represents one of the Geneva International Music Competition's most distinctive assets. Since its creation, 26 disciplines have been presented: instrumental, vocal, ensemble music or conducting.