The first international Jorma Panula Conducting Competition was held in Vaasa on 22-26 November 1999, when 19 contestants from six countries were chosen on the basis of videotapes. The members of the Jury were Jorma Panula and conductors Arvo Volmer (Estonia), Leo Berlin (Sweden), Arve Tellefsen (Norway), Ole Schmidt (Denmark) and musician representatives Jyrki Paalanen (Finland) and John Alén (Finland). The soloist for the competition orchestra which consisted of members of the Vaasa and Umeå City Orchestras was Pekka Kuusisto, violin. The first competition was won by the 28-year-old Estonian Olari Elts. The second prize went to Tibor Bogányi, Finland and the third to Dima Slobodeniouk, Finland.
Since 1999 the competition has been arranged every third year. The winners of the competition are listed below. Next competition in 2024 will also feature a junior conducting competition in order to give the opportunity to new very young students of conducting to simultaneously compete and follow young professional conductors competing.
A foundation to support classical music in Vaasa.
The Vuorio Foundation was founded in 1998 after the siblings Viljo and Maire Vuorio as they donated most of their heritage to a Foundation with the legislation to support classical music interests in the City of Vaasa. Viljo and Maire Vuorio Foundation is the main organizer and financer of the competitions. Thanks to the cooperation with academician Jorma Panula, the competitions that carry his name are made possible. https://vuorionsaatio.fi/fi (only in Finnish)