Competition Rules 2018

The XXIst International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition 2018 will be held in the following categories: Piano, Harpsichord, Violin/Baroque violin. The Competition is open to the public. The Competition will be held in Leipzig from July 10 to 21, 2018.

The International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition expects participants to meet very high standards. They should have a confident stage manner and be experienced at performing in the historical style required in the Competition programme. It is expected that candidates use urtext editions. A great number of manuscripts of Bach’s works can be found at

The Competition is open to soloists of any nationality who are at least 16 years old and who accept the Competition Rules. The participants must have been born after July 21, 1985.

The application must be submitted by March 1; 2018 (date of postmark on the letter and date of e-mail).

a) The application consists of the following:
› A video containing the required preliminary selection programme
› Form stating the acceptance of the Competition rules
› A passport photograph
› Application form
› Programme form
› A scan of a birth certificate, passport or ID card
› For degree holders: proof of musical training (diploma etc.)
› For students: a letter from a teacher recommending participation in the Competition
› A portrait (9 x 13 cm/3.5” by 4.75” at least 300 dpi)
› Artistic curriculum vitae

b) How to send the required materials
by post: form stating the acceptance of the Competition rules, passport photograph
› by e-mail to application form, programme form, birth certificate, passport or ID card (scan), proof of musical training or letter from a teacher, portrait, artistic curriculum vitae
by file transfer (WeTransfer or Filemail, YouTube link or Vimeo link): video with the pre-selection programme (the name of the file must include the name of the candidate)

All forms can be found at

Incomplete applications will not be accepted. Once applications have been verified, they shall be passed on to the selection jury.

The number of participants is limited to a maximum of 50 in each category. The selection jury for the individual categories shall choose entrants to participate in the Competition on the basis of the submitted videos.
Candidates must present uninterrupted video recordings. Splices may be made between individual pieces or movements, but not within a movement.
Recording should be done in appropriate venues; these do not include empty churches or living rooms, but e. g. in halls/studios at the conservatory/university. High sound quality is expected.
Successful entrants shall be notified in writing by the Competition office by April 20, 2018. Applicants shall be entitled to participate in the Competition once they have received this notice and remitted their application fee.

The application fee is Euro 100.
The application fee is to be remitted free of all charges for the recipient by May 22, 2018 to the following bank account.
Bach-Archiv Leipzig
Bank: Sparkasse Leipzig
IBAN: DE39 8605 5592 1100 9010 07
Purpose of payment: Bach Competition 2018 + Name of participant

The remittance slip must include the name of the participant written legibly (especially if the registration fee is transferred by somebody else). The payment confirmation slip is to be presented by the candidate at the Competition office on arrival. Payment may also be made by credit card (Visa, American Express, JCB or MasterCard) supplying the card number and its expiry date. Please note that the application fee will not be refunded in the event that a participant withdraws from the Competition.

Participants must organize and pay for all travel to and from the Competition as well as board and accommodation in Leipzig themselves. Participants who reach the second round shall be granted an allowance of Euro 25 per day until the end of the Competition. This allowance shall not be paid to participants who live or study in or near Leipzig (up to 50 km away).

Participants in the category Violin/Baroque violin are encouraged to bring their own accompanist(s) with them at their own expense. The name(s) of the accompanist(s) must be included on the entry form. If necessary, the Competition office can provide one or more accompanists for a flat fee of Euro 25 per round. This fee must be paid in cash before each round in Leipzig. The bassist for the harpsichord category will be supplied at no charge to the participants. The Competition shall provide participants with practice rooms at no charge.

The Organizer shall be entitled to make audio and video recordings of all the performances and other events during the Competition and to use them in connection therewith. MDR (Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk/Central German Broadcasting Corporation) shall record all performances and other events wholly or in part and shall broadcast them live and/or later (in radio and internet) and/or pass these recordings on to other broadcasters.
Competition participants shall not be entitled to claim any remuneration for these recordings. The prizewinners undertake to perform in the prizewinners’ concert and to allow the recording thereof to be published for non-commercial purpose without a fee.
Recordings arranged by or for participants are not allowed.

On arrival, Competition participants must report in person for registration. The Competition office will be in
Bach-Archiv Leipzig
Thomaskirchhof 15/16
04109 Leipzig

The Competition consists of the first round, the second round and finals. Participants shall appear in alphabetical order based on the first letter of their surname. The Competition management shall determine by means of a drawing at what point in the alphabet the Competition will start. The order of appearance decided shall apply to all rounds of the Competition. Every prizewinner and finalist must be present at the awards ceremony on Saturday, July 21, 2018, in order to personally receive his or her award.

Competition timetable
Participant’s registration // Bach-Archiv
Tue, July 10, 2018 // 2.00 pm–8.00 pm
Announcement of the order of appearance
Piano, Harpsichord // Tue, July 10, 2018 // 9.00 pm
Violin // Wed, July 11, 2018 // 8.30 am
Rehearsals with accompanists
Violin // from Wed, July 11, 2018
Hall rehearsals
from Wed, July 11, 2018
Opening concert // Altes Rathaus
Wed, July 11, 2018 // 8.00 pm
1st round
Thu, July 12, 2018, until Sat, July 14, 2018
Rehearsal day for the 2nd round
Sun, July 15, 2018
2nd round
Mon, July 16, 2018, and Tue, July 17, 2018
Rehearsal days for the finals
Wed, July 18, 2018, and Thu, July 19, 2018
Fri, July 20, 2018
Presentation of prizes // Altes Rathaus
Sat, July 21, 2018 // 3.00 pm
Prizewinners’ concert // University of Music and Theatre
Sat, July 21, 2018 // 8.00 pm

1st Prize: € 10,000
2nd Prize: € 7,500
3rd Prize: € 5,000

The prizewinners are entitled to use the title »Bachpreisträger« (Bach Prizewinner).
The jury shall decide on the award of grants, special prizes and concert engagements for prizewinners and finalists. The decisions will be announced during the presentation of prizes. All participants will receive a diploma documenting their achievement.
Concert engagements have been offered by the Leipzig Bach Festival and the Leipzig Bach-Museum. Further concert venues will announce their interest before the Bach Competition. The Bach-Marschall Foundation offers a grant for a East European candidate. GENUIN classics (CD label) presents as a special prize the production of a CD with one of the prizewinners; Bärenreiter-Verlag presents Urtext prizes in all categories.

The Competition results in each category shall be decided by the jury. The jury’s decision is always final. Legal recourse is excluded. The jury shall assess participants on the basis of the jury regulations which will be published on
Jurors may not take part in the assessment of their own pupils. Assessment shall be carried out confidentially. After each round, jurors shall be available to talk to competitors who are not continuing to the next round as well as after the prizes have been announced. Competitors continuing to the next round are forbidden from talking with jury members.

The German text is legally binding.


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