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Result: Carl Nielsen flute and clarinet prizes are restored after widespread protests

Professor Milan Vitek, who led the protests two months ago against the abolition of the flute, clarinet and organ sections of the Carl Nielsen competitions, has contacted us with a victory whoop. Toot all flutes and clarinets. Here’s Milan’s happy outcome:


It seems that protesting about cuts in the cultural sector can make a difference… Odense City Cultural Commission has decided that all Carl Nielsen Competitions are to be reinstated and has instructed Music Director Finn Schumacker to make it happen.

The planned flute competition in 2014 will take place, as will the violin competition in 2016. The organ and clarinet competitions will then take place in 2018 and 2020, from what I understand, though I do not know in which order. This may very well be a sensible solution, since it will provide more time for Odense Symfoniorkester to promote the competitions.

The only thing which is and remains highly regrettable is that Marianne Granvig, the competition Chairperson for the last 30 years, is not being rehired. I am not happy about this, and wonder what Finn Schumacker’s reasoning behind maintaining her firing is. In a radio interview – Also only in Danish, alas – he was asked directly and repeatedly why Marianne Granvig would no longer be in charge of the competitions. He “fudged” his answers, to use an American expression meaning that he provided no good reason at all.

Some readers’ letters published in Fyens Stiftstidende have suggested that the Carl Nielsen Competitions become a separate organizational entity run by the Odense Cultural Commission with Marianne Granvig in charge. Perhaps these suggestions merit further consideration, since the alternative of their remaining under the aegis of Odense Symfoniorkesters management does not inspire a great deal of confidence in their continuing level of professionalism achieved under Marianne Granvig.

Thank you to everyone who got engaged in this matter and for your support and letters in support for all the Carl Nielsen Competitions!

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  1. That’s fantastic, many thanks to Professor Milan Vitek!

  2. Milan Vitek says:

    Thank you Laura, and give thanks, too, to the many musicians and Odense residents who protested that the competitions they have come to respect and love were threatened. Without everyone’s involvement, I doubt I would have changed any minds among the decision-makers in Odense on my own.

    The latest news is that The Odense Symphony plans to hold the flute and clarinet competitions at the same time every fourth year as is the case with the violin competition, so there would potentially be a competition(s) every second year instead of one every year (i.e., after the Flute Competition in 2014 and the Violin Competition in 2016, the next Clarinet/Flute Competition would be in 2018 followed by the next Violin Competition in 2020 and so forth). There seem to be some divided opinions about this solution for the wind instrument competitions, but I’ll leave that discussion to the Jury Presidents of those two competitions.

    The Organ Competition is apparently being resurrected subject to negotiations with its Jury President, Domorganist Randi Mortensen. I do not know what the details of those negotiations will be, but hopefully – presumably? – the Organ Competition will be allowed to continue as well, though I have no idea what the schedule would be. If I get any publicly confirmed news on this matter, I will make sure to post it.

  3. Thankyou Milan!
    This result involved many people, but you spearheaded the protests. Kudos to you!
    Best wishes, alexa

  4. Dear Milan, this is fantastic news. I am delighted to hear that the competition will go ahead. I was very fortunate to have been a prize winner back in 1998 – I believe the 1st Flute Competition. It was a great experience and and I am glad that future flautists will continue to benefit from this important event in the flute competition calendar. Congratulations on this great achievement.

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