56 talented young singers were selected to compete for the first prize of 50,000 euro in the Mirjam Helin competition in Helsinki, Finland next June.
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One of the 2019 winners Johanna Wallroth singing with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and conductor Hannu Lintu. Photo by Heikki Tuuli.
Based on video pre-screening, the Mirjam Helin competition selected 56 out of 485 applicants for the competition in Helsinki next June. Altogether 61 nationalities were represented among the applicants.
Soile Isokoski, opera singer and chair of the Mirjam Helin competition jury is delighted to see that the competition attracted such highly promising and talented singers.
“Naturally, the first criterion is the applicant’s voice, but this is just the starting point. We look for singers who perform the music as it is intended but who also go beyond the notes, bring the song to life and master all the different genres. Verdi and Mozart cannot be sung in the same way,” Isokoski says.
South Korea has the highest number of applicants accepted to the competition, thirteen in total. Four of the competitors are from Finland. The competitors represent 25 nationalities, with participants from countries such as Armenia, Germany, Costa Rica, China, the United States, Croatia and Australia. For a full list of competitors, see mirjamhelin.fi.
The preliminary competition with piano accompaniment will take place from 3 to 6 June 2024. The jury selects 16–20 singers for the semifinals, and six will be eligible for the orchestral finals on 12 June. In the orchestral finals, the singers will perform with the Helsinki Philharmonic, led by Sir Mark Elder.
The jury members are soprano Dawn Upshaw, mezzosoprano Randi Stene, baritone Bo Skovhus, pianist Keval Shah and chair, soprano Soile Isokoski.
The Mirjam Helin competition is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. The winner will be awarded the first prize of 50,000 euro; the second prize is 40,000 euro, the third prize 30,000 euro, and the other three finalists will receive 10,000 euro each. The finalists will also have opportunities to perform at Finnish music festivals and with Finnish orchestras.
The Finnish Cultural Foundation has been organizing the international Mirjam Helin competition since 1984. The competition is founded on Mirjam ja Hans Helin’s large donation. Professor Mirjam Helin’s (1911–2006) aim was to establish an international singing competition in Finland and to make it the most prestigious competition globally.
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