Saxophone Competition

The Carinthian International Jazz Award (CIJA)

We aim to culturally vitalize and diversify the region. In addition we hope to create much needed performance and career opportunities for young deserving jazz musicians. We accept applicants from every country around the globe. The CIJA is held annually and accepts applicants who are under the age of 30. The CIJA is an equal opportunity event. Accordingly, we only accept audio files to ensure the highest possible degree of fairness and objectivity.

How the Competition Works

  • Application deadline: June 10, 2023
  • Finalists announced: June 23, 2023
  • Send link to audio files to:
  • Eligibility: Saxophonists under 30 (as of July 29, 2023)
  • Finals: July 29, 2023 in-person in Arnoldstein, Austria.
  • Application Guidelines: See Below
  • Prizes:
    • 1. EUR 600,-
    • 2. EUR 400,-
    • 3. EUR 200,-

We also provide free accommodation (hotel or Airbnb) for all finalists from July 29th – July 30th, 2023.

The winner will get to perform one song as a featured soloist with the Kelag Big Band after the placements are announced to close out the evening.


  1. Fill out the registration form
  2. Submit the payment of the application
  3. Send the link to your audio file. Follow the instructions below.

How to Pay

CIJA Registration Fee


How to Apply


Submit ONE LINK TO AN AUDIO FILE containing TWO CONTRASTING PIECES. The two selections must be from two different categories.: 

Category 1 Ballads: “Body and Soul,” “In a Sentimental Mood,” or similar.

Category 2 Bebop: “Donna Lee,” “Anthropology,” or similar.

Category 3 Blues: “Tenor Madness,” “Billie’s Bounce,” or similar.

Category 4 Standard: “There Will Never Be Another You,” “Have You Met Miss Jones,” or similar.

Category 5 Latin: “Recorda Me,” “Blue Bossa,” or similar.

  • You have to be accompanied by a backing track or other musicians.
  • The performance must be no longer than 6 minutes in total. 
  • We will not listen to your file before we have received your application fee.

Meet the Judges

Jure Pukl is an acclaimed Slovene jazz saxophonist. He received Slovenia’s most prestigious arts award in 2015. Pukl studied saxophone in Vienna, The Hague, and Berklee College of Music with Joe Lovano and George Garzone. He also holds a master’s degree from The University of Music and Performing Arts Graz. Pukl has collaborated with renowned musicians such as Dave Liebman, Branford Marsalis, and Esperanza Spalding. He has performed at prestigious venues and festivals worldwide, including Blue Note, Ronnie Scotts, and the Berlin Jazz Festival. Pukl pushes the boundaries of jazz and improvised music, blending modern jazz, avant-garde, free jazz, and contemporary styles. His innovative approach emphasizes band interaction and has earned him praise from influential publications such as Downbeat and The New York Times. Pukl has released eight albums and contributed to over 50 side projects. PC: Aljoša Videtič

John Arman toured with piano legend Richie Beirach and had the good fortune to work with Vincent Herring, Jeremy Pelt, Joris Dudli, Harry Sokal, and Jesse Davis, among others. Over the years, John Arman has emerged as one of the brightest young jazz guitarists in Austria and Europe, touring regularly and recording as a sideman with various groups, as well as leading his own organ trio, which released its debut album in 2016. In 2015, the “John Arman Organ Trio” performed at the Lucerne Theater, premiering a concerto written for the trio and the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra in a sold-out performance. John Arman currently lives in Vienna and teaches guitar at the Conservatory of Tyrol. PC: Eckhard Derschmidt

Hans Lassnig-Walder is the chief conductor and arranger of the kelagBIGband, whose infrastructure allows him to work regularly with international and regional soloists. In collaboration with other large ensembles (e.g., Kärntner Landesjugendchor, EURO Symphony SFK, Girardi strings), his attention as a composer and arranger is focused on developing a sound that reflects the landscape, languages, and mentalities of the Alps-Adriatic region. Hans Lassnig-Walder has been an integral member of the CIJA since its founding in 2018.


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