The Sion Violin Music Foundation (SVM) in Valais is comprised of three sub-organizations: the Tibor Varga Music Academy, the Sion Music Festival and the International Tibor Varga Violin Competition. First held in the years 1962, 1964 and 1967 under the direction of the foundation’s founder, Hungarian violin player Tibor Varga, the foundation has gone on to be very successful. In the early 2000s, the Academy and 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 organisation were reunited under the name “Sion Violin Music Foundation”. The three sub-organizations each remain professionally and artistically independent, but often find 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, dedicated to violinists aged between 14-17 years.
The foundation committee consists of 11 members, most of whom are volunteers. This committee meets twice a year to decide strategy and actions of the foundation. The steering committee is composed of 5 members who lead the work of the administrative team. This committee meets monthly.
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 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.
The Tibor Varga Music Academy is a the 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.
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.
Each year, the foundation competitions recognize a new generation of upcoming talents from all over the world, and remind us that the future is bright for classical music. The ability of these amazing artists is also a reflection on the great teachers who have spent hours teaching and mentoring these young musicians. Thus, the foundation has then created a new annual award for the most remarquable music teacher : The Sion Tourbillon.
This award gets it’s name from the the Tourbillon, a masterpiece of the Swiss watch industry that counters the effects of gravity – a symbol of excellency, precision and elegance. For Sion residents, the Tourbillon is also the name of the old Castle of the city – a symbol of beauty and endurance over the centuries. Both these symbols and their qualities reflect the skills needed to be an effective and inspiring music teacher.
In 2018 the Foundation has the great pleasure to announce the Tibor International Junior Violin Competition, dedicated to young violinists aged between 14 et 17 years old. The details of this competition are as follows:
-The selected candidates will play with a professional orchestra, including during the first round of the competition
-The jury will consist of successful international artists
-The candidats are unsuccessful in being selected for the final will be included in the jury for the following round of the competition, which will help them gain an understanding of the challenge of judging.
-The finalists will perform the 2nd Movement of the D minor Concerto for two violins, BWV 1043 with a member of the Jury.