Since its early days, the Festival has invited international musicians to participate in competitions. Big Bands of the great American universities have spread the name of Montreux in the native land of Jazz. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, solo piano, guitar and voice competitions were held to encourage musicians from these regions to come to Western Europe. From now on, the Talent Awards will focus on the jazz of tomorrow, emblematic of a cultural mix and daring to use new instruments.
Montreux Jazz Competitions are true talent incubators and many winners have been invited to participate in prestigious projects:
- Pedro Martins (Brazil), winner of the 1st Guitar Prize 2015, was chosen by the president of the jury Kurt Rosenwinkel who appreciates him so much that he produced his album Vox.
- Tigran Hamasyan (Armenia), winner of the 1st Solo Piano Prize 2013, is pursuing an international career and has been chosen as official composer by the Armenian government to compose and conduct the Yerevan State Choir for a world tour to commemorate the genocide. The prestigious ECM label has recorded and distributed this project.
- Leandro Pellegrino (Brazil), winner of the 1st Guitar Competition Prize 2013, was chosen to record, alongside Terri Lyne Carrington, Gregory Porter and Richard Bona, Dianne Reeves' Beautiful Life album which received the 57th Grammy in 2014.
- Piotr Orzechowski (Poland), winner of the 1st Solo Piano Prize 2011, plays classical repertoire with the Polish National Radio Orchestra, collaborates with Philip Glass and Steve Reich in contemporary music and plays alongside jazzmen such as Randy Brecker and Avishai Cohen.
- Isfar Sarabski (Azerbaijan), winner ex aequo 1st prize Solo Piano 2009, is part of Dhaffer Youssef's group and has his own quartet
- Beka Gochiashvili, (Georgia), joint winner of the 2009 Solo Piano 1st Prize, is part of Stanley Clarke's group
- Diego Figueiredo (Brazil), winner of the Guitar 2007 competition, chose George Benson as the president of the competition, who said of him: "Diego Figueiredo is one of the greatest guitarists I've seen in my whole life. The world needs to listen to his music".
- Alfredo Rodriguez (Cuba), Solo Piano 2006, is one of the musicians whose career is managed by Quincy Jones.