About Us

The Foundation


The Sion Violin Music Foundation (SVM) is the result of the reunification of the Tibor Varga Music Academy, the Sion Festival and the Tibor Varga Sion Valais International Violin Competition. Founded in 1962, 1964 and 1967 respectively by Hungarian violinist Tibor Varga, these three sub-organizations have gone on to be very successful. In the early 2000s, the Academy, the Festival, and the Competition were split into three different organisations, with the competition further split into two different sections until 2013. In May 2017 the three organizations were reunited under the name “Sion Violin Music Foundation”. The three sub-organizations each remain professionally and artistically independent, while often finding opportunities to collaborate.


The Academy consists of an artistic commission of 6 members. The International Tibor Varga Violin Competition has it’s own Jury president and the Festival has it’s own Artistic Director (Pavel Vernikov, 2013 – present). The Tibor Varga International Violin Competition occurs every two years, running on the odd years. Since 2018, the Junior Tibor Contest occurs on the same basis, every other year, for violinists aged between 14-17 years. The Foundation Board consists of 11 members, most of whom are active volunteers for one or more of the foundation’s events. The Board meets twice a year to decide the strategy and activities of the foundation. The steering committee meets monthly and is composed of 5 members who lead the work of the administrative team. The professional administrative team is made up of of 3 permanent employees. Over summer, when the festival is running, an extra 15 staff members join the team to assist with the extra administrative requirements.

The events

The Festival - the foundation flagship

The Sion Festival is held in August, and is the most visible part of the Foundation. Thanks to its diverse concerts presented by some of the best international artists around the world, the audience numbers and support for the festival continues to grow, with more philanthropists subscribing to the Festival Friends Club and the Philanthropist Circle each year. www.sion-festival.ch

The academy - a meeting space

The Tibor Varga Music Academy is a meeting space for aspiring masters student and world renowned professors.  It is dedicated to talented music students from Valais and greater Switzerland who are current students at cantonal conservatories. The concerts organized by the academy present an opportunity for novice musicians to collaborate with internationally recognized professionals, and also offer numerous unforgettable moments for the audience. www.sion-academie.ch

The contest - the artist's proving ground

The Tibor Varga International Violin Competition is dedicated to young professional musicians under the age of 26. The competition is a well-regarded aspect of the foundation, and brings many young artists to Sion who will almost certainly play for the Festival in the future. The Junior Tibor Contest, which occurs every other year, offers an opportunity for young musicians aged between 14-17 years to experience a professional and friendly competition environment. www.sion-concours.ch


The Sion Tourbillon

Each year the violin competition is an opportunity to be captivated by a rising generation of promising and brilliantly talented artists. More and more candidates from all over the world come to Sion each summer and remind us that, more than ever, the world of classical music is alive and has an exciting future. However, where would these violinists, full of youth, virtuosity and sensitivity, be without the benevolent, demanding, rigorous teachers behind them? The teacher is the keystone of a young artist’s development; they are the ones who accompany, inspire, assist, and continually develop a young musician’s knowledge of art and self. The Sion Festival, aware of the necessity and value of this master-student relationship, has therefore decided to create a new award which will henceforth recognise a particularly remarkable teacher each year: the Tourbillon de Sion. The tourbillon, a rotating cage that mechanically absorbs the small disturbances caused by gravity, is the quintessence of watchmaking perfection – it is a symbol of brilliant technicality, at the service of precision and elegance. For the people of Sion, the word Tourbillon also evokes the beauty and durability of a solid heritage, resistant to numerous conflicts over the centuries. These are many of the qualities that contribute to the richness and depth of a fruitful teaching.

The Tibor Junior Competition

Since 2018, the Foundation is pleased to present the Tibor International Junior Violin Competition for violinists aged 14 to 17 years old. This event will be distinguished by several original features:

– the selected candidates will be accompanied by a professional orchestra from the 1st round on.

– the international jury is composed of artists with successful international artists.

– Candidates who do not pass a round are then invited to participate in the judging of the next round which will help them gain an understanding of the challenge of judging.

– In the first round, the candidates will play in duet with another candidate. In the 2nd round and in the final, the candidates will play in duet with members of the jury.