Reversing a previous decision, the Jean Sibelius Violin Competition announced on Friday that it will exclude Russian competitors from its 2022 competition, which is scheduled to take place May 18-29 in Helsinki.
"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," said an announcement on the competition's website.
In early March, the competition had 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." On April 8, 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."
The Sibelius Violin Competition, which is held every five years, is organized by the Sibelius Society and the Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki. The Competition Committee consists of Chairman Lauri Ratia, Vice Chairman Olli-Pekka Martikainen and Lea Rahkola-Kauranen, Miisa Järvi, Päivi Arjas, Jaakko Ilves, Petri Saavalainen, Emil Viitala, Miikka Maunula and Secretary General of the Competition Päivi Pousar.
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