Wilhelm Stenhammar International Music competition

The competition is an eight day competition and musical festival. Entrance is free of charge for the competition days, but ticket is needed for the final concert. WSIMC gives the audience a unique opportunity to discover future opera stars!

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Biennial since 2006

Wilhelm Stenhammar International Music Competition, or WSIMC, was inaugurated in June 2006 with King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia as guests of honor. Since then the competition has been held every two years. The competition has an obligatory part where the contestants must perform a work by Wilhelm Stenhammar. Since 2012 there is given a special prize for the best Stenhammar interpretation.

The first of it’s kind in Sweden

Sweden has previously not had an international music competition for classical music, even thou it´s a large and vibrant branch of the musical world. International music festivals have mostly been aimed at rock and pop music. 

Through the WSIMC, singers and audience get contacts all over the world. Young singers get a chance to introduce themselves, which can be helpful, to start their career. The Swedish singers are encouraged to conquer, and be compared, with other international singers.

The Stenhammar family – a family with a long local lineage​

Östergötland is the inherent place for a music competition with influences of the well-known Swedish composer Wilhelm Stenhammar. The Stenhammar family can be traced back to the 16th century in the area.

Hosting in private homes during the competition

The competition is being held in Norrköping and a number of good and lasting friendships have been formed, by singers living in host families. Accommodation in a host family usually lends a nice introduction to the city and is also great for the families, who later can follow “their” singers and hear them sing on foreign scenes.

Collaboration with Norrköping Symphony Orchestra

The collaboration with The Norrköping Symphony Orchestra is of great importance for the quality and performance of the competition. The Final Concert must always be performed together with a professional symphony orchestra. The competition takes place in one of Sweden’s most beautiful Concert Halls – De Geerhallen. With its 1300 seats and a central location in Norrköping’s historic industrial landscape, it offers beautiful surroundings and a stimulating and exciting environment.

Success for participants after the competition

We often receive good news about singers who have participated in WSIMC. Several of our first-time award winners are now singing at the major opera scenes around the world.

The soprano Ekaterina Godovanets, Russia (1st prize 2006) is now permanently engaged at the Staatstheater Nürnberg. Julia Novikova, Russia (3rd prize winner in 2006), together with world tenor Placido Domingo, was engaged to sing in a large television broadcast of the opera Rigoletto which was broadcast in 28 countries. Julia has also been involved with the Staatsoper in Vienna and recently she made a success in Stravinsky’s opera “The Nightingale” at the Prague Opera.
Layla Claire, Canada (3rd prize winner in 2008) has sung with world conductor James Levine at the Metropolitan in New York. Tenor Jaesig Lee, South Korea (1st prize 2010) regularly sings on the big scenes in Germany.


At the 2012 competition, the quality was so high that the jury selected two first prize winners. We are particularly pleased that one of them was Swedish – the tenor Daniel Johansson, who shared the first prize with the Russian soprano Alexandra Popandopulo. Daniel Johansson now sings on several major opera scenes, The Norwegian Opera, The Royal Opera in Stockholm, The Geneva Opera and others.
2016 also had a Swedish first prize winner – soprano Christina Nilsson, who also received the audience’s award. Christina sings regularly at famous opera scenes all over the world – as Frankfurt, Lausanne, Vienna and others. 2018 she had a great success in Aida at The Royal Opera in Stockholm.

Finalist and award-winners concerts

We have, after some of the competitions, given Finalist concerts in Stockholm Concert Hall, Gothenburg Concert Hall, Dalhalla and the operas in Cairo, Alexandria and Doha.

Wilhelm Stenhammars Foundation

The Wilhelm Stenhammar Foundation was founded in 2005 by Edla Stenhammar, Olof Stenhammar, Sonja Stenhammar, Olof Svenfelt and Norrköping Municipality.

The foundation is non-profit. The gifts and grants received by the foundation and any revenue are used for the purposes of the music competitions.
Funds donated are managed and used in accordance with the wishes of the respective donors, within the framework of the foundation’s activities.

  • Claes Egnell – president
  • Olof Stenhammar – honorary president
  • Sonja Stenhammar – member (initiator, artistic director)
  • Henrik Marmén – artistic director Norrköping Symphony Orchestra
  • Åse Berglund – member
  • Camilla Lundberg – member
  • Karin Veres – member
  • Kerstin Högberg Karlström – co-opted member