Rules of the Competition

Rules of the Competition
Photo: Heikki Tuuli




1 The Finnish Cultural Foundation is organising the eighth Mirjam Helin International Singing Competition in Helsinki, Finland, on 20–29 May 2019. There will be two categories: one for women and one for men.

2 The Mirjam Helin Competition is open, regardless of nationality, to women born in 1989 or later and men born in 1987 or later.

3 Applicants for the Mirjam Helin Competition undertake to abide by the rules, the regulations on performance and the decisions of the Jury, and to refrain from all professional engagements or duties during the competition.


4 Singers wishing to enter the Mirjam Helin Competition must apply online using the application form at by 31 December 2018. The application form must be accompanied by a quality audiovisual recording for the pre-selection procedure.

The application form, its attachments and other notifica­tions mentioned later in the rules must be submitted by the dates indicated. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

5 Should the number of participants have to be restricted, adjudicators nominated by the Competition Committee will carry out a pre-selection procedure on the basis of the received application documentation and recordings. Applicants selected for the  ompetition will be informed in writing by 25 January 2019.

6 Amendments to the repertoire stated by the applicant will be accepted up to 8 February 2019.

7 Competitors must register in person (passport/other form of identification required) at the Competition Office in Helsinki between 2 and 5 pm on 18 May 2019 and be present at 6 pm for the ballot for the order of performance.


8 The following regulations apply to competitors without their own pianist:

  1. Clear, easily legible sheet music must be provided for the official pianist.
  2. In special cases the Executive Director may require that the music be submitted in advance for preliminary study.

9 The scores and parts required by the orchestra will be provided by the Executive Director. If the work with orchestral accompaniment chosen by the competitor has no publisher, or if the work is not generally obtainable, the competitor must on the request of the Executive Director deliver the orches­tral scores and parts to the Competition office by 8 February 2019.

10 A competitor who intends to perform unpublished works or ones outside the standard European repertoire must, at the request of the Executive Director, bring a copy of the music for the Jury.


11 There will be three rounds:

‑ Preliminary round 20–23 May 2019

‑ Semifinals 25–26 May 2019

‑ Final 29 May 2019

12 Sixteen to twenty competitors will be selected in the Preliminary round to take part in the Semifinals. Eight semifinalists will be selected for the Final.

13 The order of performance decided by ballot for the Preliminary round will be the same in each round of the competition.

14 Any competitor who is not ready to appear at the allotted time may be disqualified. A singer who falls ill during the competition may be allowed to sing at a later stage during the round in question, on production of a certificate from the Competition Doctor.

15 A competitor wishing to leave the Helsinki region while still taking part in the Competition must seek the permission of the Executive Director.

16 Competitors may bring their own pianist. The Executive Director will place a pianist at the disposal of competitors without their own pianist. Each competitor is entitled to one rehearsal (maximum 60 minutes) before the Preliminary round and to one before the Semifinals. The finalists will be entitled to one orchestral rehearsal on the day before the Finals. Any additional rehearsals must be arranged and paid for by the competitor. Competitors who reach the Final must be prepared to perform at the Prizewinners’ Concert.


17 Each competitor must, on application, state the repertoire he/she intends to perform. Any changes to this repertoire must be submitted by 8 February 2019.

18 Repertoire

Preliminary round

1. An aria from a passion, oratorio, mass or cantata composed before 1760.

2. Two solo songs, of which at least one must be a Lied sung in German.

3. An opera or concert aria.

Each competitor will have a maximum of 20 minutes at his/her disposal.


1. A song by a Finnish composer.

2. A group of solo songs (lasting 15–20 minutes).

3. An opera or concert aria.

Each competitor will have a maximum of 30 minutes at his/her disposal.


Two works with orchestral accompaniment, of which at least one must be an opera, oratorio, cantata or concert aria.

Each competitor will have a maximum of 20 minutes at his/her disposal.

The group of solo songs in the Semifinals may, for example, consist of an entity comprising a song cycle or part of one, a group of songs by one composer, or a group of songs by different composers but having a common topic. The songs must be ones composed specifically for voice and piano or arranged by the composer him/herself for voice and piano.

19 The repertoire must include works sung in at least three languages. Each piece may appear only once in the competitor’s repertoire.


20 In each round, each competitor will perform his/her entire programme without interruption.

21 Each competitor will decide the order of his/her pieces. The indicated maximum duration must not be exceeded.

22 The repertoire, including the oratorio arias, must all be performed from memory. All arias must be sung in the original key or in a commonly used transposition. Solo songs may be transposed. All songs must be performed in the original language, except for those by Finnish composers, which may be sung in translation.

23 The Jury may, regardless of Rule 21, request a competitor to repeat a piece already performed.

24 All the Mirjam Helin Competition events will be open to the public. The audience is required to observe any instructions announced at the beginning of each event.


25 The performances will be adjudged according to the principles and procedures laid down in the Regulations for the Competition Jury, approved by the Competition Committee.

26 In choosing the finalists and in adjudicating the Final, the overall impression given by each competitor in all the rounds will be taken into account.

27 The decisions of the Jury will be final.


28 An honorary diploma will be awarded to all the finalists and a diploma to all the semifinalists. The prizes are:

                        Women                       Men                               

I                     €30,000                               €30,000

II                   €20,000                               €20,000

III                  €15,000                               €15,000

IV                  €10,000                               €10,000

A prize of €3,000 will also be awarded for the best performance by a non-Finnish singer of a Finnish song.

The semifinalists will, excluding the prizewinners, each receive an award of €1,000.

The Jury reserves the right to distribute the prizes differently.

29 The Jury may also award other prizes approved by the Competition Committee.

30 The prize-giving ceremony will be held after the Finals on the same evening. Each prizewinner must be present to receive his/her prize in person.

31 A Prizewinners’ Concert at which all the finalists will sing will be held in Oulu on 31 May 2019.


32 The Organiser has unlimited rights to transmit and record content and to broadcast competition performances on TV, radio, the Internet and other data networks without any payment to the competitors or their pianists.

The Organiser or an agreed third party also reserves the right to archive and disclose details of the competitors and to broadcast their competition performances on TV, radio and the Internet with no time or country restrictions. Competitors will not be sent recordings of their performances.

33 Competitors eliminated in the Preliminary round or Semifinals will be given a chance to discuss their results with members of the Jury.

34 The Executive Director may disqualify any competitor who does not abide by the rules. The competitor may appeal to the Competition Committee against the decision during the round in progress.

35 The original language of these rules is Finnish. Any disputes will be decided by reference to the original Finnish text.

 You'll find the rules of the competition translated also into Chinese, FrenchGermanRussian and Spanish