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Tokyo International Viola Competition

The 4th Tokyo International Viola Competition to be held from May 26 to June 3, 2018


Press release
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“Viola Space 2018” – a festival for viola – hosts the 2018 edition of the triennial

viola competition

Contestants from 13 countries/regions selected

Press conference to be held after the announcement of the final results,

followed by a concert by the winners on the next day


From May 26 – June 3, 2018, Viola Space 2018 will host the 4th Tokyo International Viola Competition (TIVC), the only international competition in Asia-Pacific exclusively for the viola.


Viola Space is a festival for viola founded in 1992 through the initiative of internationally distinguished violist Nobuko Imai and dedicated to "celebrating the viola, introducing outstanding works and new works for viola, and promoting young artists". The TIVC was launched in 2009 as a part of Viola Space. It is held every three years, and offers winners the opportunity to perform at concerts held during Viola Space in future years.


In every edition of the TIVC, talented violists from all over the world gather to perform various pieces in the rich viola repertoire. Each stage of the competition from the first and second rounds to both parts of the final round is open to the public. In addition, in parts 1 and 2 of the final round, the audience will participate in the selection of the winner of the Audience Award. The winners in the previous three editions of the TIVC have gone on to shine on the world stage as performers and instructors, demonstrating their talent in various ways.


In this year's edition, 83 entries were received from 22 countries/regions. A pre-selection by video was held at the end of last year, and 40 contestants were selected. The complete list of registered contestants, with violists from 13 counties/regions, can be found on our website:


The final round will be held on the 2nd and 3rd of June, and this year's 1st prize winner will receive JPY 1,000,000 and a viola d’amore, made and donated by Robert Blaszauer, along with opportunities to perform in concerts. The 2nd and 3rd prize winners will receive JPY 600,000 and JPY 300,000 respectively. There are several other special prizes, including an Audience Award, where the winner will be selected by audience vote in the final rounds.


The 2018 jury is composed of Nobuko Imai, Antoine Tamestit, Hariolf Schlichtig, Pamela Frank and Ichiro Nodaira. Please refer to our website for further details. It is worth noting that this year, the work commissioned by the Competition to be performed in the second round is by one of the jury members, Ichiro Nodaira.


In addition to the competition, there are regular concerts and open master classes by jury members and other top-class performers, with the various activities aiming to introduce the audience to the appeal and potential of the viola.


The gala concerts by jury members are a unique and very popular part of the Competition. This year's theme is "children". The pieces to be performed have been selected with a focus on childhood experiences and on the connection between music heard as a child and the present.


Furthermore, we also aim to make the experience of participating, not just competing, meaningful to all the contestants, providing opportunities for unsuccessful contestants to consult jury members, and participate in workshops.


With a jury led by world-class performers like Nobuko Imai and Antoine Tamestit, and a spectacular repertoire of works for the viola ranging from the classical to the contemporary, as well as young, up-and-coming violists from all over the world gathering to demonstrate their talent, the Competition is bound to be a dramatic experience. We hope that you will assist us in spreading the word so that music fans from around the world visiting Japan can also enjoy this unique experience.


Please also note that on Saturday, June 2, after the announcement of the results of the Final round 2 "Concerto", there will be a press conference by jury members and competition winners. We hope you can also join us on this occasion.


The overall schedule is as follows. (For detailed information please refer to the following website:


May 26 (Sat) & May 27 (Sun) 10:00              First round

May 29 (Tue) & May 30 (Wed) 10:00             Second round

May 31 (Thu)       19:00                               Gala concert 1

June 1 (Fri)          10:00                               Final round 1 "Sonata and Contemporary"

                           19:00                               Gala concert 2

June 2 (Sat)         15:00                               Final round 2 "Concerto"

                                                                   Announcement of the results

                         18:30                              Press conference (details TBA)

June 3 (Sun)        14:15                                Prize award ceremony

                           15:00                                Prizewinners’ concert

                           17:30                                Closing reception


(For prizewinners)

June 5 (Tue)                                                  Prizewinners’ gala concert at the Phoenix hall in Osaka

June 6 (Wed)                                                 Prizewinners’ gala concert at the Munetsugu hall in Nagoya

June 8 (Fri)                                                    Prizewinners’ gala concert at PaToNa hall in Sendai



We look forward to welcoming you to the event.



Finally, below are some comments from each of the jury members, taken from a press conference held on June 6, 2015 following the 3rd TIVC.


■Nobuko Imai (violist) / President of the jury

"This year's first prize winner, Andrea Burger, also participated in the previous edition, and even then I felt that she had a lot of potential. Kei Tojo, in second place, was impressive in the naturalness of her style. The third prize winner, Louise Desjardins, expressed her every thought in her playing".


■Antoine Tamestit (violist) / Vice president of the jury, Programming director of Viola Space

"In selecting the pieces to be performed in the competition, I paid careful attention to the aesthetics of the viola. During the competition, I found myself enjoying listening to the pieces, as if I was at a concert, which shows how difficult it sometimes can be to be a jury member".


■Hariolf Schlichtig (violist) / Jury member

"In each round of the competition, I could see that the contestants all found new potential in themselves, and they all demonstrated their own musicality. I would like to congratulate each and every one of the contestants".


■Pamela Frank (violinist) / Jury member

"The future of the viola is dependent on Viola Space. I am proud to have been able to join the jury alongside colleagues I truly respect".


■Ichiro Nodaira(pianist / composer)/ Jury member

"It is very significant that this competition pays tribute to contemporary pieces, not only in the commissioned works, but in various other aspects of the overall programme".



  • Organizer
    Tokyo International Viola Competition Executive Committee 
  • Cooperator
    Ishibashi Memorial Hall, Ueno Gakuen
  • Special Sponsor
    NTT Finance Corporation
  • Sponsor
    NTT Comware Corporation / East Japan Railway Company / Central Nippon Expressway Co., Ltd. / Asahi Kasei Corporation / 
    Daiwa House Industry Co., Ltd. / The Tokyo Club / Aoyama Music Foundation / Nomura Foundation / The Asahi Shimbun Foundation / 
    Expo'70 Fund / Rohm Music Foundation
  • Special Cooperator
    Fuji Television Network, Inc. / Nippon Music Foundation / Ueno Gakuen University / Toho Gakuen School of Music
  • Supporter
    Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan / Agency for Cultural Affairs / Taito City / Taito City Board of Education
  • Administration
    TV Man Union, Inc



For more information, please contact:

Yuri Kajitani (,  Kie Ichimura (


Tokyo International Viola Competition Secretariat
c/o TV MAN UNION, Music Division
5-53-67 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku
Tokyo 150-0001 JAPAN

Tokyo International Viola Competition official website:


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