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

Applications including audio recordings have to be submitted online until no later than March 6th, 2020. See below for application form and compititon 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 recital pieces) must be received by the event organizer 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
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.”



The 10th InternatIonal Johann Heinrich Schmelzer Competition - Promotion of young talents

The promotion of young talents has been a central concern of the ›Internationale Barocktage Stift Melk‹ from the very beginning.
Already under its founder Prof. Helmut Pilss the festival has frequently been stage and springboard for a profound career. In 1993 the International Johann Heinrich Schmelzer competition was brought into being and it will be held in the course of the ›Internationale Barocktage Stift Melk 2020‹ for the tenth time. KS Michael Schade, who has been an advocate for young talented musicians for years, continued to develop the programme ever since he was named artistic director. In 2014, he was able to gain Capital Bank as a patron. With their support he further expands the promotion of young musicians with the ›Stella Juventutis‹ programme.


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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