The first Vendome Prize took place at the UNESCO Palace in Paris in November 2000, under the patronage of Catherine Tasca, then France’s Minister of Culture and Communication. The first prize was awarded to Alberto Nosé (Italy), and the runner-up was Russian-born Evgenij Sudbin.
As of 2003, the Vendome Prize moved to the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon and became part of the Sintra Summer Festival. The Gulbenkian Symphony Orchestra, then conducted by Lawrence Foster, joined our finalists in the Gulbenkian concert halls in Lisbon and Sintra. The competition remained located in Lisbon for the next two editions (2006 and 2009). In 2014 it moved to Verbier, Switzerland and became part of the prestigious music festival.
Past jury members included Byron Janis, Christa Ludwig, Constantine Orbellian, Cyprien Katsaris, Elizabeth Leonskaya, Jeffrey Tate, Joan Sutherland, Philippe Entremont, Richard Bonynge and Stephen Kovacevich, to name a few.
Performance musicians generally enter the most difficult period of their lives immediately after they have finished their studies, a period that lasts until they have finally gained a solid foothold in the professional world. At this stage of their career, young artists need help, advice, funding, and a chance to prove themselves in front of a large audience. A proper recording, participation in master classes, publicity materials, and active management are other elements necessary to winningly introduce a talented performer to the public.
Study alone will never yield the charisma, originality, or sheer musicality necessary for an artist to succeed on what is a shrinking circuit of performing opportunities for classical musicians.
The purpose of the Vendome Prize is to seek out, reward, support, and guide future professional artists who are technically perfect, magnetic, original, and ambitious, in possession of a large repertoire and ready to undertake the challenges of a performing career.