Music is life and like it inextinguishable, Carl Nielsen writes in the introduction to his fourth symphony. His brilliant compositions have since substantiated this postulate, and his symphonic works have become part of the repertoire of modern symphony orchestras.

In addition to the symphonic works, Carl Nielsen wrote instrumental concerts, chamber music, piano pieces, operas, choral works and many popular songs. Among his chamber music works, the string quartets and the wind quintet form the nucleus – the latter being a central part of the international core repertoire for wind quintets.

Carl Nielsen International Chamber Music Competition for String Quartet & Wind Quintet is established to create more focus on the brilliant chamber music works of Carl Nielsen by letting it be interpreted by the best young musicians from all over the world.

Uffe Savery
Svend Larsen
Chief Executive
Kim Bohr
Chief Executive and Artistic Advisor
Danish National Orchestras & Choirs
DR Koncerthuset


1 Participants age

The competition is open to string quartets and wind quintets of all nationalities. 

By the beginning of the competition (12th April 2023):

The combined ages of the string quartet must not exceed 120 years.
The combined ages of the wind quintet must not exceed 150 years.
The age of any individual ensemble member must not exceed 35 years.

2 Application

Application is open on carlnielseninternational.dk from the 1st of October 2022 and applications must be received by 22nd November, 2022.
Registration is definitive only when the online form is duly filled in. The following is required in the online formular:

  1. Application fee of €100 paid by credit card during the online application procedure. The application fee is non-refundable.
  2. High res photo of the ensemble.
  3. Proof of age (identity card/passport of all members of the ensemble).
  4. Short biography of the ensemble (career, education, principal teachers, 100-150 words in English).
  5. An unedited video-recording with the ensemble (of at least 8 min. and as long as you like) Link to youtube or vimeo in the online application. Free repertoire choice.


3 Application response

Applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application medio December 2022.
Max. 20 ensembles will be selected by the pre jury.
The pre jury’s decision is final and cannot be appealed.

5 Rounds

The competition has three rounds plus one preliminary round consisting of online video screening.
All three rounds are open to the public.

6 No. of participants

A maximum of 6 ensembles in each category will be admitted to the second round.
A maximum of 3 ensembles in each category will be admitted to the final round.

7 Media rights

All competition rounds may be:

  1. Recorded, broadcast and streamed or made available for podcast
  2. Photographed
  3. Published on Social Media channels and on carlnielseninternational.dk a.o.

In these cases, competitors disclaim all rights and fees.

8 Jury

The jury and pre jury consist of prominent musicians who have solid experience performing in a string quartet or wind quintet.

9 Prize reservations

The jury reserves the right:
A) to not award one or more prizes
B) to divide a prize between two competitors.
The jury’s decision is final and cannot be appealed.

10 Travelling expenses

Travelling and hotel expenses must be borne by the ensembles.

11 Disclaimer

These rules were originally written in Danish. Any point of dispute will be settled within accordance with the Danish version of the rules. Subject to changes. errors and omissions excepted.


String Quartet

Günter Pichler - Chairman
First Violinist, Alban Berg Quartet, Professor Emeritus at the University of Music and performing Arts, Vienna & Head of the International Chamber Music Institute, Escuela de Superior de Musica Reina Sofia, Madrid

Asbjørn Nørgaard
Viola, Danish String Quartet

Gunvor Sihm
Violin, Nightingale String Quartet & Danish National Symphony Orchestra

Bjørg Lewis
Cello, Vertavo String Quartet & Associate Professor at
The Norwegian Academy of Music

David Geber
Founding Cellist, American String Quartet (1974-2002) & Cello and Chamber Music Faculty, Manhattan School of Music

Wind Quintet

Bjørn Carl Nielsen - Chairman
Former Principal Oboe, Danish National Symphony Orchestra

Fergus McWilliam
French Horn, Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet and former Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  

Ulla Miilmann
Principal Flute, Danish National Symphony Orchestra

Michael Hasel
Flute, Berliner Philharmoniker, Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet

Andreas Sundén
Principal Clarinet, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra & Clarinet Professor, Royal College of Music, Stockholm & Ingesund School of Music, Sweden


String Quartet

1st prize€15,000

2nd prize€10,000

3rd prize€5,000

Best performance of the commissioned work€2,500

Wind Quintet

1st prize€15,000

2nd prize€10,000

3rd prize€5,000

Best performance of the commissioned work€2,500