EAR-ly 2022 - seventh NORDEM Nordic competition for young early music ensembles and soloists

The seventh NORDEM EAR-ly 2022 Nordic competition for young early music ensembles and soloists will be held in Kretinga, Lithuania in 2023. Applications are open from autumn 2022. Information about exact dates will be published here during springtime 2022.




Swedish winner of the NORDEM EAR-ly 2020 competition!



On Sunday June 20th 2021 the finals of EAR-ly 2020 took place in Riga, Latvia. This was the sixth edition of the Nordic-Baltic competition for young early music ensembles and soloists, hosted by NORDEM (Nordic Early Music Network).

The first prize was unanimously awarded to the Swedish theorbo player Jonatan Bougt for his “graceful playing, stage presence that leads the listener to the music" and for his "elegant and natural way of playing as well as understanding of style and musical rethoric”.

The jury consisted of Lisa Beznosiuk (UK), Paolo Pandolfo (Italy), Italy, Catalina Vicens (Chile/Switzerland) and Mats Lillhannus (Finland/NORDEM). 

You can see and listen to the finals here:

Stockholm, 2021-06-20




A Young Generation Goes for Early Music: EAR-ly 2020 Competition Finalists!

EAR-ly 2020
Left to right: Augustina Vizbaraitė; Gertruda Jerjomenko; Jonatan Bougt; Maija Kļaviņa

NORDEM, the Nordic Early Music network, is excited to have received entries of such a high calibre this year for the sixth NORDEM EAR-ly competition for young musicians, and is proud to present a new generation of young Nordic professional musicians who are genuinely interested in revitalising the performance of the baroque, renaissance and medieval repertoires. The overall aim of the EAR-ly competition is to encourage the formation of new early music ensembles and to stimulate an interest in Early Music among young musicians throughout the Nordic and Baltic countries.

Judging for the first round of the EAR-ly 2020 competition has now taken place, and we are pleased to announce that the shortlist comprises:

Jonatan Bougt, Sweden - theorbo
Augustina Vizbaraitė, Lithuania - violin
Maija Kļaviņa, Latvia - baroque flute
Gertruda Jerjomenko, Latvia - cembalo

The NORDEM Jury this year will be:

Lisa Beznosiuk, UK
Paolo Pandolfo, Italy
Catalina Vicens, Chile/Switzerland
Mats Lillhannus, Finland (NORDEM representative)

The final round of the competition will take place in Riga on 20 June 2021, hosted by NORDEM and The International Bach Chamber Music Festival, in conjunction with the next NORDEM Members' meeting. The final concert, open to members of the public, will take place on Sunday 20 June.




EAR-ly 2020

Please click on the links below in order to read the competition rules for EAR-ly 2020:

Early rules



Early Poster




​​Clara Guldberg Ravn & Johannes Geworkian Hellman

Danish winner of the NORDEM EAR-ly 2018 competition!

On Saturday 22 September the finals of EAR-ly 2018 took place in Copenhagen. This was the fifth edition of the Nordic-Baltic competition for young early music ensembles and soloists, hosted by NORDEM (Nordic Early Music Network).

The first prize was unanimously awarded to the Danish recorder player Clara Guldberg Ravn for her "varied and convincing playing, the good dramatic line in her program me  and the clearly professional level of her whole  approach". The prize gives the winner three concerts at Nordic or Baltic early music festivals over the next year. Clara Guldberg Ravn was accompanied by Swedish hurdy-gurdy player Johannes Geworkian Hellman.

"I am very happy to win the prize, because competing in music is difficult. It is amazing and a great step forward in my career" said Clara Guldberg Ravn. The Audience Prize was also rewarded to Clara. 

The jury consisted of Katharina Bäuml, Berlin, Else Torp, Copenhagen and Peter Pontvik, Stockholm.

The overall aim of the EAR-ly competition is to encourage the formation of new early music ensembles as well as the development of young early music soloists, and to stimulate an interest in Early Music among young musicians throughout the Nordic and Baltic region. NORDEM is a representative network of Early Music festivals, organisations and promoters in the Nordic-Baltic area.

Stockholm, 2018-09-23




EAR-ly 2018

The 2018 edition of EAR-ly competition will be held 21-22 September in Copenhagen, Denmark, hosted by Copenhagen Renaissance Music Festival. The overall aim of EAR-ly is to encourage the formation of new early music ensembles and to stimulate the interest in early music among young musicians throughout the Nordic and Baltic countries.


Download & print the EAR-ly 2018 poster and spread the word about the competition!



The first edition of EAR-ly took place as a national competition and was organised by Stockholm Early Music Festival in Sweden in June 2008. Since 2010, the competition is a Nordic event arranged by NORDEM – Nordic Early Music – and held every second year in one of the Nordic countries, hosted by one of the federation’s member festivals. In 2010 the final took place in Stockholm, in 2012 in Oslo, in 2014 in Skálholt (Iceland), and in 2016 in Vantaa (Finland).


Early music means medieval, renaissance or baroque repertoire, performed according to the latest HIP standards. An emphasis on older repertoire is encouraged. The criteria for selection are musical quality, detailed stylistic knowledge, communicative authenticity, and, in the final round, overall artistry.

Former winners of EAR-ly

2016 - Juho Myllylä (Finland)

2014 - Bastard Barock (Sweden)

2012 - Duo White Sparrow (Finland)

2010 - Norwegian Cornett & Sackbuts (Norway)

Rules for participation

EAR-ly 2018 is open to

  1.  vocal, instrumental or mixed ensembles consisting of a minimum of 3 (three) and a maximum of 8 (eight) members;
  2.  vocal or instrumental soloists, performing either alone or with 1 (one) accompanist;
  • An individual musician may compete in a maximum of 2 (two) ensembles. Soloists may perform in both categories: as a soloist and as a member of 1 (one) ensemble;
  • All entrants must without exception be born no earlier than 1 January 1985. This age limit does not apply to soloists' accompanists;
  • All participants must be either citizens of one of the Nordic or Baltic countries or permanent residents of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Åland, Greenland, Faroe Islands, Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania. Accompanists are exempted from this rule.
  • The competition has two parts: a preliminary round and a final presentation.
  • Audio files for the preliminary round (see APPLICATION PROCESS 1) must include a minimum of 2 (two) separate works, or parts of works, with a total duration of no more than 12 minutes.

Application process

Deadline: 23:59 (CET) on 1 May 2018.

Please prepare: 

  1. A high quality unprocessed audio file of minimum 6 and maximum 12 minutes, containing a minimum of  2 (two) separate works or parts of works. The audio file must be marked with a pseudonym. Please use one of the following formats: mp3, aiff or wav.
  2. A PDF document containing the following information:
    1. Name of the participants and details of                  instrumentation/vocal parts;
    2. A copy of each participant's (including accompanist's) passport (photo page) or national ID card;
    3. E-mail, postal address and phone number of a contact person;
    4. Full and complete details of the final presentation in performance order. The total length should be c. 30 minutes;
    5. A biography or CV of the soloists/ensembles, max.1000 characters;
    6. Programme notes for the final presentation, max.1000 characters;
    7. A link to the ensemble's/soloist's Facebook page and/or website;
    8. A PR picture of the participants in print quality (300 dpi/inch). Please specify the name of the photographer.
  3. Send the prepared material via to 
  4. DEADLINE for applications is 23:59 (CET) on 1 May 2018. 
  5. All applications will be evaluated anonymously by a jury consisting of NORDEM members.


The final

  • 4 (four) ensembles and/or soloists will be selected for the final presentation. They will be informed by e-mail on 31 May 2018 at the latest.
  • The final presentation will be held in in Copenhagen 21-22 September 2018.
  • The first day includes a combined workshop/masterclass for all finalists. The second day will be used for rehearsals, and for the final presentations in front of an international jury and an audience.
  • The accompanists of the soloists will not be evaluated.
  • After the final presentations, each of the finalists will have a 15 minute feedback session with members of the jury.
  • NORDEM will cover a portion of the finalists' travel expenses.
  • Simple accommodation and meals will be provided by KoncertKirken and NORDEM
  • By taking part, participants agree that the final presentations may be recorded, filmed and broadcast live and/or subsequently by radio, television and internet with no fee obligation.


Prizes and Awards

  • The winning ensemble/soloist of the EAR-ly 2018 competition will be invited to give 2-3 concerts within NORDEM member festivals during the seasons 2019-2021. All expenses will be covered, including travel and accommodation, and the ensemble/soloist will receive a symbolic fee.
  • The jury reserves the right not to select a winner.
  • The audience will select one ensemble/soloist for the special EAR-ly Audience Award. The winner of this award will be invited to perform at KoncertKirken in Copenhagen during the season 2019-20.


For general inquiries, please contact

Peter Pontvik (NORDEM Chair)

For questions concerning the venue, please contact 

Björn Ross (KoncertKirken)