Tom Wilhelmsen’s Foundation donates NOK 10 million to the Queen Sonja Singing Competition

The contribution will ensure the competition’s continuous work to sustainably develop Norwegian and international singing talent within opera and classical music.

Her Majesty Queen Sonja with Jasmin White, First Prize Winner 2023. 
Photo: Per Ole Hagen.

The Queen Sonja Singing Competition is awarded NOK 10 million by the Tom Wilhelmsen Foundation.

Since 1988, the mission of the singing competition has been to create an international music arena in Norway that highlights young music performers and gives them the opportunity to be assessed at an international level.

Record high number of applicants
The competition in August 2023 had a record number of applicants. 521 singers from 58 nations applied to participate. 40 singers were invited to compete in the preliminary rounds in Oslo. 

Throughout the competition, the singers participated in a programme focusing on artistic development and career building. Opera managers and other industry experts from leading international opera houses coached the Norwegian and international participants on the new demands and expectations of the opera industry. 

– “We have continuously worked towards helping young Norwegian and international music talents achieve sustainable careers. It is truly inspiring and motivating to be seen and recognised by the Tom Wilhelmsen Foundation. This gratifying and generous support will help the Queen Sonja Singing Competition strengthen and continue its position in Norwegian and international music life, for the foreseeable future”, says Lars Hallvard Flaeten, Executive Director of the competition.

In 2022, Tom Wilhelmsen’s Foundation distributed more than NOK 90 million to cultural, maritime, medical, and humanitarian causes. Last year, the foundation distributed approximately NOK 60 million.

About the Queen Sonja Singing Competition
The competition’s prize winners can boast significant international careers.

The Queen Sonja Singing Competition has positioned itself as one of the world’s leading international classical music competitions. This position has been achieved through determined efforts since the competition was established as an independent foundation in 1988. Since its establishment, a significant and strong personal commitment from Her Majesty Queen Sonja has been of great importance for the competition’s development and impact. 

Today, the competition is an attractive partner for the top tier of young singers on the threshold of an international career. The foundation aims to contribute to the international exposure of Norwegian music and music life. Developing the careers of our foremost Norwegian singers is key. The competition receives annual funding from the Ministry of Culture. Support from private donors, foundations and funds are an essential prerequisite for achieving the Foundation’s goals and ambitions.

About the Tom Wilhelmsen Foundation
The foundation is a private and independent foundation founded by ship owner Tom Wilhelmsen’s gift certificate in 1965. The Foundation’s home is Nøtterøy.

The Foundation’s purpose is to distribute gifts or contributions to institutions, groups or individuals to support any measure of a scientific, social, humanitarian and cultural nature, as well as by scholarships or similar, to cater for performing artists and encourage the ability of youth or others to continue their education, study or research.

The grant was awarded by Monica Wilhelmsen of the Wilhelmsen Foundation, to Lars Hallvard Flaeten, Executive Director of the competition. The Norwegian Academy of Music, 23 January 2024. 
Photo: Peder Ebbesen

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