Preparations for the 5th Schoenfeld Competition in Harbin continue as planned for 15-29 July 2020

Schoenfeld Competition

The Ulysses Quartet, chamber music category winners at the 2018 Schoenfeld Competition

In response to the lockdown of cities worldwide in efforts to curb the Covid-19 pandemic, the Schoenfeld International String Competition 2020 has announced a new extended deadline to applications, and new arrangements to the way submissions are received by the organisers.

The competition has officially extended the application deadline to 15 May 2020.

The following modifications have been made to the applications procedure: 

  • All pre-screening application fees are to be waived.
  • The required video recordings can now have been conducted within the past three years, instead of within the past year as previously required. 
  • Repertoire requirements for the  violin and cello divisions have been revised in response to the difficulty of ensembles and chamber groups rehearsing and performing together.

The press statement issued by the Schoenfeld Competition:

At the beginning of 2020, a novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) unknown to mankind quietly struck central China. Even the home city of the Schoenfeld International String Competition, Harbin, in China’s northeast Heilongjiang Province, was affected. After two months of effort, the government and people of China began to control the spread of the epidemic in their nation.  The virus, however, is currently rapidly spreading around the rest of the world, including Iran, Europe, and the United States. As local governments began to ban public gatherings and deploy stronger measures to lock down cities, many schools and institutions had to suspend their operations. Thousands of large-scale cultural and sports activities, including concerts and competitions, were postponed or cancelled. We know the situation is now bringing tremendous worry to people and music students.

After assessing the available information, the organizing committee and leadership of the Schoenfeld decided to prepare for this July’s competition as planned, and we will continue to do so unless advised otherwise by health and government experts. We are continuously monitoring the global development of COVID-19 and our administration team has been working in close coordination with artistic leadership and government officials to ensure all of our activities adhere to the most stringent international guidelines.

We encourage applicants to continue to apply and, in light of the uncertainty many of the applicants are experiencing, we are officially extending the application deadline to May 15, 2020. On this basis, the organizing committee has also modified the application procedure and submission requirements in order to assist our applicants who are facing difficulties in preparing materials due to the global epidemic. 

The following are the modifications:

All pre-screening application fees are waived. All players who apply for Schoenfeld 2020 will not have to pay any application fees for the pre-screening, including violin, cello and chamber music divisions.

The video recordings required may now have been conducted within the past three years, instead of the previously required one year. This measure, which applies to all divisions, was taken in order to reduce the inconvenience caused by school closures during the epidemic. For ensembles applying the chamber music division, it is necessary to ensure that the players in the submitted videos are the same as the members participating in the Schoenfeld 2020.

Sonata repertoire is no longer required, though it may still be submitted as an extra reference.  As local traffic restrictions during the outbreak caused great difficulties for ensemble and chamber playing, we now require the violin and cello applicants to submit only the videos of the solo works in the pre-screening repertoire. The following are the revised repertoire for the violin and cello divisions.


1. N. Paganini

·   One Caprice of 24 Caprices for Violin Solo, Op. 1

2. J. S. Bach’s unaccompanied violin work

- one of the followings:

·   Sonata No. 1 in G Minor, BWV 1001, I and II movements

·   Sonata No. 2 in A Minor, BWV 1003, I and II movements

·   Partita No. 3 in E Major, BWV 1006, I and II movements

·   Partita No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1004, V movement “Chaconne”



1. Etude

- one of the followings:

·   D. Popper’s High School of Cello Playing, Op. 73: No. 13, 17, or 28

·   A. Piatti’s Caprices for Cello Solo, Op. 25: No. 3, 7, 9, or 12


2. Prelude and one other movement from J. S. Bach’s unaccompanied cello suite

- one of the followings:

·   No. 3, BWV 1009

·   No. 4, BWV 1010

·   No. 5, BWV 1011

·   No. 6, BWV 1012

As one of the most important international competitions to bring together multiple string disciplines, we’re proud to count colleagues, fans, and supporters from all corners of the globe.  Because of that, the top priority of The Schoenfeld 2020 is the safety of our entire community, including the contestants, audiences, production partners, juries, and educators who make our competition so special. We hope that the global epidemic can be effectively controlled as soon as possible. 

Let us uphold the utmost belief in art and humanity. Let us treasure the opportunity to share the great musical gifts and talents of our generation. And let us again commit to the mission of our founders, Alice and Eleonore Schoenfeld, to connect the world through music.

Please stay strong and well.  Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about the new arrangement or any special circumstances during the application process.  We will work with you through this difficult time.

Read: Schoenfeld International String Competition launches 5th edition in Harbin
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Read: Postcard from Harbin, China: the Schoenfeld Competition