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Photo Credit: Helge Krückeberg

Semi-Finalists Announced at Hannover’s Joachim Violin Competition

The Semi-Final round will be held from the 4th to the 7th of October and will be streamed LIVE here on The Violin Channel


Open to international violinists born between October 10, 1989, and September 26, 2005, who are ready to commence an international career, this year's eight semi-finalists are: 


  • Claire Bourg (26, USA)

  • Lorenz Karls (20, Sweden & Austria)

  • Elli Choi (20, USA)

  • Javier Comesaña (22, Spain)

  • Maria Ioudenitch (25, USA)

  • Minami Yoshida (23, Japan)

  • Sara Domjanic (24, Liechtenstein)

  • Chiara Sannicandro (23, Germany)


With the appointment of the two new Co-Artistic Directors for this edition of the competition, violinists Antje Weithaas and Oliver Wille, a number of changes and challengers have been made to this year’s Semi-Final round — to potentially further test the musicians' artistic boundaries.

The new two-part semi-final round will ask the eight candidates to each play and conduct a Mozart Violin Concerto with the Camerata Bern, and then serve as the ensemble's acting Concertmaster for a performance of Bartok's "Divertimento".

In the second semi-final component, each candidates will present a 60-70 minute recital that they have curated themselves inspired by the following quote from prominent German author Carolin Emcke's 'How we desire':

"Home is where we start from, and it is no more and no less than that. It is where we begin, where we set off from. It’s not where we stay; it’s not somewhere that accompanies us unchanged. When we set off on our wanderings in pursuit of our desire, we are driven by a restless and a sense of exile to search for another home, another homeland.” 

The only requirement is to include a previously undisclosed Haydn String Quartet movement witin the recital, to be played with members of the Kuss String Quartet - however with the first violin part sheet music will be provided to the candidate only approximately 40 hours in advance of the performance.


The 2021 international jury comprises Carolin Widman (Chairwoman), Eleonore Büning, Ana Chumachenco, Suyoen Kim, Robert Levin, Andrew Manze, Christine Schäfer, Ulf Wallin, Zohrab Tedevosyan and Donald Weilerstein.

“This year we are seeking inquisitive minds who demonstrate an impeccable command of their instrument while remaining humble servants of the great composers and their scores,” Antje Weithaas said.

“Our jury want to discover young artists who bravely strive for individuality, who are making bold musical statements with their instruments and whose voices inspire deep emotions and show an exceptional degree of versatility,” she said.


As the competition's official media and broadcast partner, all rounds will be streamed LIVE here on The Violin Channel and will be available for playback.


This year's first prize winner will receive the €30,000 "Joseph Joachim" Award and the three-year use of a 1765 Giovanni Battista Guadagnini fine violin — on a generous loan from the Fritz Behrens Foundation.

In addition, each of the 2021 four finalists, including the first prize winner, will receive €10,000 and will have earned the right to bear the title "Laureate of the Joseph Joachim International Violin Competition Hannover."

A new chamber music prize has been added this year, while the audience prize and the prize for best interpretation of the commissioned work will remain from past competitions. 

G. Henle Verlag will also award €2,000 worth of sheet music vouchers, to be divided amongst the finalists.

About 30 concert promoters will also extend invitations to a candidate of their choosing from any of the semi-finalists, who will perform as part of their concert series, season, or festival — including engagements from the Beethovenfest Bonn, the Bozar Center for Fine Arts, Camerata Bern, Poznan Philharmonic, Cologne Philharmonic, Schleswig-Holstein Festival, the NDR Radiophilharmonie, and the Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich. 

For the first time in the competition's history, Warner Classics will also select one candidate of their choosing to record a debut album — which they will release and market internationally under their label.

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