The Competition

The Geneva Competition is one of the world’s leading international music competitions. It aims at discovering, promoting and supporting young talented artists, giving them the necessary tools to launch an international career.

The Geneva Competition was created in 1939 under the name of "Concours International d'Exécution Musicale" (CIEM). In 1957, it was one of the founding members of the World Federation of International Music Competitions, whose headquarters are located in Geneva.

It was founded 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 Geneva Competition is a private Foundation whose objective is to organize and operate an annual music competition in Geneva. The Foundation is subsidized by the Geneva public authorities:

  • City of Geneva Cultural Affairs Department
  • Canton of Geneva Public Education Department, Cultural Affairs Service

The Geneva Competition Foundation is managed by a Board in which are represented its primary partners: the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Grand Théâtre of Geneva and Geneva Conservatory. The Foundation has an Artistic Committee that selects the competition disciplines, the jury members and the programmes.

The Geneva Competition also receives support for the organization of the annual Laureate's Concert from the Association of Friends of the Geneva International Music Competition. The Secretariat, headed by the Secretary General, is responsible for the running of the Competition.


Within the world of international music competitions, a multi-disciplinary approach is rare and represents one of the Geneva's most distinctive assets. Since its creation in 1939, 26 disciplines have been presented: instrumental, vocal, ensemble music or conducting.
Today, the Geneva Competition alternates between eight main disciplines: piano, flute, clarinet, cello, viola, string quartet, voice and percussion. Every second year, it offers a composition prize.
Next competitions :

The list of prize-winners of previous competitions is eloquent: over 500 references including word-famous artists such as Martha Argerich, Arturo Benedetti-Michelangeli, Victoria De Los Angeles, Alan Gilbert, Nelson Goerner, Friedrich Gulda, Heinz Holliger, Nobuko Imai,  Quatuor Melos, Emmanuel Pahud, Maurizio Pollini, Georg Solti, José Van Dam, Christian Zacharias, Tabea Zimmermann.…

Click here to see the list of laureates

The Foundation Board is composed of a minimum of 7 members, selected according to their competence in fields required for the well-functioning of the foundation. Its members theoretically include at least one representative of :

  • Geneva Conservatory
  • Orchestre de la Suisse Romande Foundation
  • Geneva Opera
  • President of the Friends of the Geneva Competition Committee
Members of the Board
Christine Sayegh President
Serge Mimouni Vice-President
Philippe Dinkel Secretary and President of the Artistic Committee
(Director of the Geneva High School of Music)
Olivier Christin Treasurer
Benno Gartenmann     Member
Jean-Marc Meyer Member (President of the Friends Association)
Jacques Nierlé Member
Tobias Richter Member (Director of the Geneva Opera)
Béatrice Zawodnik Member


The Artistic Committee selects the categories to be featured by the Competition each year as well as the jury members and repertory required for each of these categories. It also sets the procedures by which the Competition takes place and ensures that its high artistic standards are maintained.

Permanent members 
Philippe Dinkel President, pianist,
Director of the Haute Ecole de Musique de Genève
Nicolas Bolens Member, pianist,
Professor at the Haute Ecole de Musique de Genève
Gui-Michel Caillat Member, pianist,
Professor at the Haute Ecole de Musique de Genève
Clément Dumortier               Member, violinist, concert organizer 
Michael Jarrell Member, composer,
Professor at the Haute Ecole de Musique de Genève
Marcin Habela Member, singer,
Director of the voice department (HEM)
Cédric Pescia Member, pianist,
Professor at the Haute Ecole de Musique de Genève
Didier Schnorhk Member, musician,
General Secretary of the Music Geneva Competition
Elena Schwarz Member, conductor
Béatrice Zawodnik Member, oboist,
Director of the Lausanne HEMu department
Permanent team

Didier Schnorhk
Secretary General


Sandy Kasper
Assistant Secretary Gen. 
Friends coordinator       

Claudio Ibarra   
Production, logistics
& ticketing

Lisa Elias
Press & Communication


Marc Racordon

Exterior collaborators
The Workshop Graphic design
Nicolas Zanghi Webmaster
Ménélik Plojoux-Demierre Concert agent, promusica Geneva
Anne-Laure Lechat Photography