Competition rules - 4th edition

Updated on 14/01/2021



The International Early Music Competition in Loire Valley is open to all instrumental ensembles performing repertoire from the 17th and 18th centuries on period instruments (Baroque chamber ensembles). 

Co-organized by Stradivaria- Ensemble Baroque de Nantes and Anacréon (Angers), the aim of this competition is to promote ensembles of young musicians who specialize in this repertoire. 

The International Early Music Competition in Loire Valley 2021 will take place from June 4th in Fontevraud to June 5th in Nantes, France. The theme will be:

« La sonate en trio à la fin du Grand Siècle » (“Trio Sonata at the end of the 17th century”). 


1st of December 2020: Opening of online applications ( 

31st of March 2021: Applications deadline

First-half of April 2021: Shortlisting from files

27th of April 2021: Announcement of the selected ensembles

3rd of June 2021: Instruments and practice rooms will be available for rehearsals – Nantes (44)


4th of June 2021: Semi-Finals in Fontevraud, Chapelle Saint-Benoît (49)

5th of June 2021: Final in Nantes, Chapelle de l’Immaculée (44)

6th of June 2021: Concert by the 1st Prize winner - Angers, Chapelle des Ursules (49) 



Chapelle Saint-Benoît

Abbaye Royale de Fontevraud



Chapelle de l'Immaculée

Rue Malherbe

44000 NANTES

Laureate concert

Chapelle des Ursules

Rue des Ursules

49000 ANGERS


William CHRISTIE, President of the Jury - harpsichordist, director and founder of Les Arts Florissants 

Daniel CUILLER, violonist and director of Stradivaria, Ensemble Baroque de Nantes


Ashley SOLOMON, head of the historical performance department of the Royal College of Music in London 

Catherine CESSAC, musicologist, research director at CNRS

Claire GUIMOND, artistical director and founding member of Arion Orchestre Baroque

Françoise MARMIN, professor at CRR in Anger

Nicolas BUCHER, organist et harpsichordist, director of Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles 


The awards are as follow:

  • the 1st Prize Winner will be awarded a 4,000€ prize. In addition to the prize, the organization will ensure the promotion of the winning ensemble by organizing a concert within the early music series in Nantes, plus the recording of a promotional video clip, in the identical musical form of the competition;

  • the 2nd Prize will be awarded a 2,000€ prize;

  • an Audience Prize.



The Competition is open to all instrumental baroque ensembles, whose average age will not exceed 30 years old on the day of the final. The Competition is only open to instrumental ensembles. All programmes with voice will not be taken into account.


Applications must be submitted only online on until 31st March 2021.


Required documents:

  • a clear copy of a proof of age document (ID or passport) of each member (.jpg format);

  • a document with the biographies of each member of the ensemble, the ensemble’s CV and its activity;

  • audio files in .mp3 format (5 files maximum), with a piece or a group of pieces which represent(s) the ensemble’s repertoire. The length of the recording must not exceed 15 minutes and must be accompanied by details on the programme (author, title, key, opus number). The recording must be representative of the competition’s theme (17th and 18th century)
    COVID19 MEASURE: Due to the current sanitary situation, edited recordings are accepted (audio containing several tracks) to enable multinational ensembles’ participation. However, the recording must be as authentic as possible (no effects, unfair editing…);

  • application fees (50€) will be paid by bank transfer or by Paypal.


Applications are not considered complete until all documents and fees have been received by the administration of the competition, not later than March 31st 2021.

Selection process

The preselection committee, composed of two personalities appointed by Anacréon and Stradivaria, will meet to listen at the recordings received with the application in order to select ensembles for the Competition. 

The results of this preliminary selection will be published online and communicated to all candidates by the end of April 2021. 

The selected ensembles will then have to send by May 17th 2021 at the latest, to the following e-mail address

  • a high-definition color photo of the ensemble in .jpg format;

  • detailed programmes (author, title, key, opus numbers, length) of what the ensemble will play.

For the semi-finals, the programme of the ensemble will have to be based on the following theme:
« La Sonate en trio à la fin du Grand Siècle » (1650 - 1715) (“The trio Sonata at the end of the 17th century”)

It will have an overall duration of 20 mn. This programme will be different from the one presented for the Final.

For the final, the selected ensembles will have to perform one of François Couperin’s “Nations” (La Française, L’Espagnole, L’Impériale and La Piémontaise).

The First-Prize winner will offer a Gala concert on the 6th of June 2021 in the Chapelle des Ursules in Angers. The programme of this concert can incorporate some pieces performed during the Competition.



Candidates are responsible for paying their own travel and accommodation costs.

The Competition will give to the candidates a list of accommodations near by the venues of the competition in Nantes and Fontevraud.



The semi-finals will take place on Friday, June 4th 2021 from 10am at the Royal Abbey of Fontevraud (France). The semi-finals will be open to the public. 

Semi-finals will be held in la Chapelle Saint-Benoît. Several practice rooms will be available for rehearsal before performing in front of the Jury. 


The stage and a practice room will be available on June 4th 2021 to all the ensembles who want to practice and rehearse. On June 3rd 2021, the stage and a practice room will be available on demand; rehearsal time on stage will be limited to 30mn by ensemble. On June 4th 2021, the semi-finals will be held in Chapelle Saint-Benoît. 


The Final will take place on Saturday, June 5th 2021 at Chapelle de l’Immaculée from 6.00 pm. The Final will be open to the public. 

A practice room and the room of the final will be available for rehearsal all day on June 5th 2019. Selected ensembles will have the possibility to rehearse under competition conditions. Each ensemble will have 30 mn of rehearsal time on stage before the beginning of the Final. Ensembles will also be able to rehearse in the practice room 30mn, before performing in front of the Jury. 

Instrument available

1 double-manual Franco-Flemish harpsichords 2 x 8’ + 4’ + lute (practice room) 1 double-manual French harpsichord 2 x 8’ + 4’ + lute

1 positive organ 8’ + 4’

The instruments will be tuned at A=415Hz (1/6 SC “softened”). 


Practice room:

1 double-manual Franco-Flemish harpsichord

1 positive organ 8’ + 4’ (if needed)

Stage in front of the jury:

1 double-manual Franco-Flemish harpsichord (2 x 8’ + 4’ + lute)

1 positive organ 8’ + 4’

Instruments will be tuned and available for the candidates during the opening hours of the competition. 



In principle, Stradivaria and Anacreon will not compensate for any physical, material or mental damage caused or incurred by the competitors during the period of the Competition and other programs corresponding to the Competition. Each competitor is responsible for necessary insurance. 


For any performance that takes place during the trials, the Competition has the right to:

  • broadcast it via television, radio or internet;

  • record it, whether the recording will be broadcasted or not;

  • take recordings, photos or videos.


According to the French taxation law, prize money is not subject to taxes.


Anacréon and Stradivaria will, if needed, amend any of the rules stated.



Daniel CUILLER, Artistic Director

Arnaud AURAY, Administrator

Armelle MIGNON, Manager

1 rue de l’Evêché
44 000 Nantes
Tél : +33 (0)2 52 10 16 21 


9 rue de Jemmapes 49000 Angers
Tél : +33 (0)6 67 55 60 28

Contact :



1, rue de l'Évêché

44000 NANTES

+33 (0)2 52 10 16 21


9, rue de Jemmapes
49000 ANGERS

+33 (0)6 67 55 60 28


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© CIMA, International Early Music Competition in Loire Valley 2020