The Competition Through the Years

The opening of the Crown Princess Sonja International Music Competition, for pianists

New name: the Queen Sonja International Music Competition, for pianists

Kirsten Flagstad centenary: the first competition for singers, held every two years

1999 – 2007
National competitions held in Stavanger, Trondheim and Bergen

Measha Brueggergosman (soprano, Canada), Second Prize winner and awarded the Troldhaugen Grieg Prize in the 2003 Competition

’10 Years Song’: previous prize winners’ concert with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra at the Royal Palace. Four sopranos: Akie Amou (Japan), Virginia Tola (Argentina), Marita Sølberg (Norway) and Olga Mykytenko (Ukraine). Conductor: Rolf Gupta

Marita Sølberg (soprano, Norway) performing at the Royal Palace, 2005


  • Commissioned works by four Nordic composers for the semi-final: Bent Sørensen (Denmark), Hans Gefors (Sweden), Thurídur Jonsdottir (Iceland) and Veli-Matti Puumala (Finland)
  • Ouverture by Bjørn Kruse, commissioned work premiered at the final concert
  • The Ingrid Bjoner Scholarship established


  • ‘Come as you are’: the Competition repertoire rules were redefined
  • Semi-final and Final Concert in the new Opera House
  • The first masterclasses were established, directed by Catherine Malfitano and Sir Thomas Allen
  • Oscarshall Palace introduced as a concert arena, in collaboration with the Royal Court


  • International opera academies introduced as new partners:
    · Lindemann Young Artists Development Program, Metropolitan Opera, New York
    · Jette Parker Young Artists Programme, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London
    · Bolshoi Opera Young Artists Program, Moscow
    · The Opera Studio, Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich
    · Internationales Opernstudio, Opernhaus Zürich
  • Prize-winner diplomas created by Her Majesty Queen Sonja
  • Touring project with three prize winners as soloists with the Arctic Symphony Orchestra: Bodø, Tromsø, Hammerfest and Alta


  • ‘New Voices’: a song festival in Oslo in August with seven prestigious prize winners
  • Concerts, masterclasses, debate and opera at the City Hall Plaza, the Norwegian National Opera & Ballet and the National Library


  • Celebration of the competition’s 25th anniversary
  • ‘Wagner Prelude’ by Jan Erik Mikalsen, commissioned work for the final concert
  • Extended Competition programme: Prize Winners’ concert with the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra at the Kilden Concert Hall

Jury member Carol Vaness holds a masterclass during the 2013 Competition


  • Donation towards the first prize received from Anders Sveeas’ charitable foundation
  • Concert hosted by H.M. Queen Sonja at Oscarshall Palace
  • Performance by Ingeborg Gillebo (mezzo-soprano, Norway, second prize winner 2011) at the Queen Sonja Print Award ceremony

Concert at the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia ‘Leading Young Opera Singers of the World’. A presentation of previous prize winners and singers from some of the competition’s collaborating International Young Artist Programmes


  • Opera gala with seven prize winners at DR Koncerthuset in Copenhagen
  • Opera gala with eight prize winners at the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia
  • Teatro alla Scala Academy Young Artists Program introduced as new partner

From the Prize Winner Concert at DR Koncerthuset in 2017


  • Opera gala with up to eight prize winners at the Grieg Concert Hall in Bergen
  • Duets and evaluation of stage presence implemented as part of the final concert
  • Extended competition programme: Two vocal masterclasses and one masterclass in stagecraft. Career development session with opera directors, agents, and PR expertise

Competition Covid 19-edition: Digital, live preliminary rounds and semi-final, live-streamed internationally. Live finale at the Grieg Hall in Bergen.


  • Workshop developed by the competition and National Opera Studio, London for the Opera Academy, at Oslo National Academy of the Arts
  • Concert hosted by H.M. Queen Sonja at The Queen Sonja Art Stable
  • The foundation launches their new visual identity along with a new name: Queen Sonja Singing Competition

New career development programme launched for young singing students in Norway: The Opera Academy