In 2001, when the world celebrated the centenary of the birth of Jascha Heifetz, the musical society of his native Vilnius did not stay aside. In commemoration of an outstanding violinist the Violin Days and the International Violin Competition dedicated to the one-hundredth anniversary of Jascha Heifetz were organised. During the competition, the famous Gidon Kremer headed an international jury and the participants were numerous gifted young people from both Lithuania and abroad. The event aroused a great interest of the society and the hall of the National Philharmonic Society was full during the closing concert. The organisers fostered a dream to make this competition dedicated to the anniversary of Jascha Heifetz a regularly occurring event.
Thanks to competition enthusiasts – Professors of Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre Petras Radzevičius and Jurgis Dvarionas – as well as to state cultural institutions, this dream did come true. The second competition, which took place in the middle of February, 2005, was also enthusiastically welcomed by music professionals and abundant music lovers of Vilnius. Gidon Kremer, who was the head of the jury, emphasized high criteria of this competition and stated that playing in the hall with the portrait of Jascha Heifetz was an extraordinary task and responsibility to all young musicians. The competition now takes place every four years, the third competition being part of the “Hommage à Heifetz” project at the start of Vilnius’ year as European Capital of Culture in 2009.