NEWS concerning the 2nd round of the competition

 read here

The 2nd round, to which you were invited last year, will take place on Thursday 20th of May 2021 at the Abbey Melk.
You will get ~30min. rehearsal time as well as a rehearsal room right in the Abbey Melk. After your rehearsal time you have the chance to perform in front of the jury.

- For your information: There was a change in the Jury, so that instead of David Bergmüller, Johannes Weiss will enrich the jury-team with his expertise for stringed instruments.


2nd round | Preliminary performances of the accepted contestants in Melk

The programme of the first round has to be extendet with one more piece of music, which you can choose yourself. The jury will choose the pieces to be performed in the second round – on the performance day.

Please note: If you wish to engage an accompanist it is up to you to get in touch with her/him! On demand we will send you a list of possible accompanists. Please take into account that you have to pay the accompanist and that the rehearsal times are limited.


Please send the 4th piece of music (title and composer) to till March, 26th 2021.


The final (3rd round) of the 10. Johann Heinrich Schmelzer Wettbewerb will then take place on Saturday, 22nd of May 2021.


3rd round | Public Finale

The contestants must choose the musical pieces for the finale from the programme of the preliminary rounds. The overall duration of the programme should be 15 minutes.

Please note: If you wish to engage an accompanist it is up to you to get in touch with her/him! On demand we will send you a list of possible accompanists. Please take into account that you have to pay the accompanist and that the rehearsal times are limited.


Further information as well as the exact rehearsal times will be sent to you in April, because until then we have decided if the competition will take place as planned.

The 10th InternatIonal Johann Heinrich Schmelzer Competition

The promotion of young talents has been a central concern of the ›Internationale Barocktage Stift Melk‹ festival from the very beginning. In 1993 Prof. Helmut Pilss, the founder of the festival, established the >International Johann Heinrich Schmelzer< competition to offer a platform to aspiring musicians. Michael Schade, who has been an avid advocate for young talented musicians for years, continued to develop the programme ever since he was named artistic director. He was able to enlist the Capital Bank as a patron of the competition. In 2020 the >International Johann Heinrich Schmelzer< compition will be held for the 10th time as part of the ›Internationale Barocktage Stift Melk< festival.

The competition is open to...

vocal and instrumental soloists as well as vocal and instrumental ensembles of any nationality. Musicians born on or after 28 May 1985 are eligible to participate, for ensembles the age limit applies to all musicians within the ensemble. Applicants are required to prepare three recital pieces, which must be composed between 1550 and 1750 and are to be performed in the original setting and on period instruments or replicas.



Johann Heinrich Schmelzer Prize

• EUR 5.000,– sponsored by Capital Bank.

• Concert recital at the ›Internationale Barocktage Stift Melk‹

Motivational bursary

Assessment by jury and audience
• EUR 1.000,– sponsored by Prof. Gerhard Stabentheiner, the president of the Friends Association of the >Internationale Barocktage Stift Melk<.



1. Submission of application

Completed applications including audio recordings and confirmation of payment have to be submitted online until no later than March 6th, 2020. Once the online-application has been received, a Dropbox-link for the upload of the audio recordings will be provided via email. Please note, that we are able to provide the link only during our office hours (Mon.-Fri. 9am - 4pm). See below for application form and competition guidelines.

2. Preliminary performances of the accepted contestants in Melk

Thursday, 28 May 2020 at 10:00 a.m. / Dietmayrsaal, Melk Abbey

After the initial short-listing process by the jury, successful applicants will receive an invitation to perform in Melk as well as further information about the competition
via e-mail by April 20, 2020.


3. Public Finale in Melk

Saturday, 30 May 2020 at 3:30 p.m. / Barockkeller, Melk Abbey


Registration deadline & fees

Full applications (including the upload of the audio recordings and confirmation of payment) must be submitted by no later than March 6, 2020. Only complete applications will be
considered for the initial short-listing.

Registration fees

Soloists: EUR 50,–
Ensembles: EUR 80,–



Michi Gaigg  | head of jury
Rainer Trost | voice

Michael Schade | voice (may 30 only)
David Bergmüller | string instruments
Claire Genewein | wind instruments
Anne Marie Dragosits | keyboard instruments



0043 2752/54060 568 
0043 664/60499 568

Checklist & Competition Guidelines

Competition Guidelines


The international Johann Heinrich Schmelzer Competition was founded in 1993 and named after the composer and violinist at the Viennese Royal Court of the House of Habsburg in the 17th century. It is held triennially during the “Internationale Barocktage Stift Melk”.

Schmelzer, born around 1620 near Scheibbs, is regarded as the first “Austrian” to hold the title of “Imperial Court Capellmeister”. He influenced the development of the sonata and left an eclectic oeuvre, despite only parts of his works remaining in present times. Of the works that did remain, only parts have been studied, thus a vast and valuable treasure still lies in the archives, waiting to be rediscovered.

Helmut Pilss, founder of the concerts on Whitsun in Melk, and Bernhard Trebuch wanted to utilise this competition to strengthen the interest in the works of Johann Heinrich Schmelzer, Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber or Johann Joseph Fux again. In addition it was ment as an initial spark for the young, rising baroque music scene which developed all over Europe.

Thus a unique competition was founded, one that acknowledges and promotes the individuality and variety of the scene. Young musicians and soloists had then the opportunity to compete in five different categories in front of a jury: Vocal, Ensemble, String-, Wind- and Keyinstruments.

The promotion of young artists has always been a matter close to Michael Schade’s heart and through initiating the Young Singers Project at Salzburg Festival and Stella Maris International Vocal Competition he has shown great commitment in that respect previously to his nomination as artistic director of the “Internationale Barocktage”. Both are regarded as showcase projects by now. In Melk, Michael Schade is attending to further develop this long-standing competition. Through his commitment and the sponsoring of Capital Bank the prize money could be raised to EUR 5000,-. Additionally the young artists receive a concert commitment in the >Stella Juventutis< series the following season.

The flutist Jan can Hoecke, who won the competition in 2011 recounts:

“…the high level of musicality was impressive. I got to know many musicians through the competition whom I still work with today. Winning the first prize and on top of the audience prize was an amazing feeling and let me advance in my career as a musician a bit.”

Likewise the winner of 2014, Tabea Debus, also a flutist,

“…enjoyed performing in such fitting a venue – one doesn’t want to stop playing music there! Despite the concentration and excitement that come with such a long-standing competition, I used the opportunity to connect with the other competitors as well as the very knowledgeable and keen but also critical audience. A great and rewarding experience.”



"How many ensembles is one allowed to take part in as a participant? Is it possible to apply as a soloist and a chamber music ensemble member?"
- Yes, it’s possible, but we do not recommend more than two or three participations, because overlaps of rehearsals may occur on the day of the preliminary performances due to a small number of time slots and rehearsal rooms. A separate application is required for each ensemble.
- You are also allowed to take part in the competition as solist and in an ensemble. You need to sign in twice.


"Do all members of the ensemble have to play during all pieces of music?"
- Yes they do.


"Does „playing in original occupation“ mean, that you have to bring a chamber orchestra to the audition?"
- Your arias may be accompanied by harpsichord.


"Do the music pieces on the audio-files have to be in full lenght or is it possible to just play excerpts of it?
Are they necessarily part of the second round?"
- Just excerpts are fine otherwise it would go beyond the maximum length of the recordings fulfilling the task of sending different styles.
- Yes, the excerpts from the 1st round are also part of the preliminary performance!

With the support of


Dorothee Oberlinger (head of jury), Maximilian Volbers (Winner of the 9th International Johann Heinrich Schmelzer Competition), Sibylle Dolecek-Anselment (Capital Bank), Michael Schade (Artistic Director).


Maximilian Volbers at the prize-winners concert at Schloss Pielach. (Internationale Barocktage Sitft Melk 2018)

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