Jean Sibelius (1913)

The Sibelius Competition in Helsinki took a decision which is as hard as it is understandable, regarding the Finnish history, Russian oppression in occupied Finland, and the more recent developments in Ukraine: They excluded Russian participants.

Here is the statement: « A record number of young violinists applied for the XII International Jean Sibelius Violin Competition organised in Helsinki in May 2022. The war in Ukraine and the atrocities that have been uncovered have led to a situation in which the Competition Committee has decided to exclude Russian participants from the competition in order to protect other competitors and the competition as a whole.

The preliminary jury of the XII International Jean Sibelius Violin Competition selected 49 young violinists to compete in the competition to be held in Helsinki on May 18–29, 2022. The competition, which was originally scheduled for late 2020 and postponed due to the pandemic, received a record number of applications.

On March 7, 2022, the Competition Committee decided that all competitors would be judged purely on their artistic merits. Two young Russian violinists qualified in the preliminary selection process. The preliminary jury followed the guidelines of the World Federation of International Music Competitions (WFIMC) that competitors should not be excluded from the competition solely on the basis of nationality. The Jean Sibelius Violin Competition is a member of the world federation.

However, the situation has changed since the beginning of March as the war in Ukraine has continued to intensify. Therefore, on 8 April 2022, the Competition Committee re-examined the possibilities for Russian competitors selected for the Jean Sibelius Violin Competition and concluded that, in the current exceptional circumstances, participation in the competition was not possible. The horrors of the war and the recently uncovered atrocities have meant that the Competition Committee has no moral or ethical option but to exclude the Russians from the competition. With this decision, the Competition Committee also wants to guarantee a neutral and peaceful environment for all competitors. »

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