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The beginning

In 2018, The Queen Sonja International Music Competition turns 30 years old. The Competition was founded in 1988, and among the initiators was Mariss Jansons, former music director and principal conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra.

At the time, the Norwegian classical music scene was experiencing a period of increasing internationalization. The aim of the Competition was to create an international arena for music in Norway, which could present young musicians, give Norwegian soloists an opportunity to be assessed at an international level, and attract greater international focus on the Norwegian classical music scene.

The Competition was founded as a joint project between several leading Norwegian music institutions, including the Norwegian National Opera & Ballet, the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Norwegian Academy of Music, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK), Lindeman Foundation and The Norwegian Society of Soloists.

In March 2018, we met the maestro in Copenhagen, where he received the Léonie Sonning Music Prize 2018 and conducted Mahler 2 with the Royal Danish Orchestra. The maestro turned 75 years old earlier this year, and he received an original artwork made by HM Queen Sonja as a birthday present from the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orchestra’s Friends Association. HM Queen Sonja and The Royal Court have been important partners for the Competition from the very beginning, with a great commitment and involvement. Mariss was deeply touched by this special birthday present.










Photo: Lars H. Flæten, Executive Director, QSIMC, Ingrid Røynesdal, CEO, the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Mariss Jansons, former principal conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Ane Wadd-Oseth, Project Coordinator, QSIMC

Photo credits: Svein Wadd-Oseth

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