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The Musical America Guide to Competitions
The Musical America Guide to Top Competitions
We narrowed down the nearly 500 competitions in the Musical America database by reviewing prize winnings, missions, disciplines and industry profiles. We then asked the remainder about their purposes and backgrounds, non-cash prizes (such as performances), artistic disciplines, eligibility guidelines, jury chairs and whether they were open to the public.
On another note, rarely is a competition winner the unanimous choice among judges; rarer still does the audience agree with the jury’s decision. We asked author, pianist, and well-travelled jury member Stuart Isacoff to write about his own experiences behind closed doors (see Confessions of Seasoned Jurist) and to discuss some of the different ways competitions are judged (Competition Judging: Keeping Evil out of the Jury Room).



The Azrieli Music Project
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
The AMP celebrates fosters and creates extraordinary opportunities for new orchestral works on a Jewish theme. There are two prizes: The Azrieli Prize in Jewish Music (international, works composed after January 2005) and the Azrieli Commissioning Competition (Canadian residents, proposals for new works).

Cleveland International Piano Competition
New York, New York
The Cleveland International Piano Competition and Festival consists of four rounds of performances, symposia, films, and social events, offering something for casual listeners and music aficionados. Finalists perform concerti with The Cleveland Orchestra, an experience unmatched by other competitions and one afforded to only a few pianists in the world.

Thomas and Evon Cooper International Competition
Oberlin, Ohio
Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the Cleveland Orchestra collaborate on this international competition for musicians ages 13 to 18, which alternates annually between violin and piano.

Forte International Music Competition
New York, New York
The Forte International Music Competition is open to piano, strings, woodwinds, brass and vocalists, ages 4 to 35. It consists of three rounds, with the final round of the competition taking place at Carnegie Hall. Participants receive valuable feedback and are also rewarded with certificates, cash prizes, and other awards.

International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition
Warszawa, Poland
The competition was established in 1927 and runs every five years. Five previous Chopin Competition winners will serve on the 2015 competition jury.

Montreal International Musical Competition
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
The mission of the MIMC is to discover and support young singers, violinists and pianists who demonstrate exceptional mastery of their art. Since its first edition dedicated to voice in 2002, more than 2,300 hopefuls have entered the competition and nearly 400 have performed in Montreal.

Wilson Center Guitar Competition & Festival
Brookfield, Wisconsin
The Wilson Center Guitar Competition & Festival is an annual, multi-genre competition featuring four different categories: Rock/Blues, Fingerstyle, Jazz, and Classical. Four competitions, one festival! The Competition is open to all ages and the contestants compete for $22,000 in prize money. The 2015 Festival will take place during the Competition semifinal and final rounds, August 13 to 15.

American Pianists Association's Jazz Fellowship Awards
Gina Bachauer International Junior and Young Artist Piano Competitions
Indianapolis, Indiana
Competition is open to extraordinary pianists with the potential to make strong contributions to the music profession in general and jazz in particular.
Salt Lake City, Utah
More than 1,000 pianists from 40 countries have competed in the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competitions All candidates for the Competition are accepted through a live audition at a selected worldwide site of their choice Also each person selects their own repertory for audition competition rounds and finals.
Banff International String Quartet Competition
Gawon International Award
Banff, Canada
Since 1983, BISQC has celebrated the art of chamber music while providing career support for emerging string quartets. The 2016 competition will continue this experience allowing for an unprecedented number of public performances and an exploration of a wide variety of music creating a festival atmosphere.
Seoul, Korea
Gawon International Award has been awarded since 2005 to a promising young pianist. The applicant must be able to demonstrate superb potential achievement in piano, such as exceptional recommendations from acclaimed musicians and awards at international competitions.
Michael Hill International Violin Competition
2015 Hilton Head International Piano Competition for Young Artists
Auckland, New Zealand
The Michael Hill is known for the genuine care it shows all its participants. Professional development is provided to all competitors.
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
First prize winner receives $7,000 US plus summer scholarship, return engagement with Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra and other performance opportunities.
29th Edition International Piano Competition Ettore Pozzoli
51st International Vocal Competition 's-Hertogenbosch
Seregno (MB), Italy
Founded in 1959 by Gina Gambini, the piano competition Ettore Pozzoli is a famous biennial event that pays tribute to the great teacher and composer (Seregno, 1873-1957).
Hertogenbosch, Netherlands
This is the sole classical vocal competition in the Netherlands that involves opera and oratorio, as well as art song for singer/pianist duos. Much attention is paid to 20th-century and contemporary music. Highlights include finals with symphony orchestra, master classes, media training, feedback from jury members, career development, possible travel reimbursement, and accommodation at host families.
Liszt-Garrison International Piano Competition
The Lotte Lenya Competition
Baltimore, Maryland
A performance-inspiring experience, the competition offers participants performance opportunities as well as a chance to meet and be mentored by major artists. Contestants are hosted and celebrated regardless of competition results. Programming must show a balanced representation of major works by Franz Liszt, American compositions, and traditional repertory.
New York, New York
A unique international theater singing contest that emphasizes wide-ranging repertoire and the acting of songs and arias within a dramatic context. The competition recognizes talented young singer/actors who are dramatically and musically convincing in repertoire ranging from opera/operetta to contemporary Broadway, including the works of Kurt Weill.
Lee and Bonnie Malmed Young Artist Competition and Mittenthal Chair Scholarship
MTNA National Student Competitions
Skokie, Illinois
Since 1980, the Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra has sponsored a competition to encourage and promote talented student musicians. Past winners hold positions with the major orchestras of Chicago, Cleveland, and Minnesota, and with Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble.
Cincinnati, Ohio
Music Teachers National Association is a nonprofit organization of nearly 22,000 independent and collegiate music teachers committed to furthering the art of music through teaching, performance, composition and scholarly research. Founded in 1876, MTNA is the oldest professional music teachers' association in the United States.
NEUE STIMMEN International Singing Competition
The New York International Piano Competition
Gütersloh, Germany
In October 1987, French contralto Nathalie Stutzmann won the first Neue Stimmen European singing contest. Over the past 25 years, Neue Stimmen has grown into an internationally acclaimed competition with preliminary auditions held around the world and a recognized program of master classes in opera and lieder singing.
New York, New York
A first in the world of competitions and a unique feature of the NYIPC, no participant is eliminated during the competition's four rounds. The Foundation also presents a cash award to each of the contestants not receiving a major prize. The NYIPC includes seminars, master classes, and ensemble playing.
The Parkening International Guitar Competition
The Queen Sonja International Music Competition
Malibu, California
The Parkening International Guitar Competition honors Christopher Parkening's lifetime commitment to fostering musical excellence in young artists as demonstrated by his mentor the great Spanish guitarist Andrés Segovia. It is held on the beautiful campus of Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA, where Christopher Parkening is distinguished professor of music.
Oslo, Norway
The Queen Sonja International Music Competition is one of the world's leading voice competitions. It takes place every other year in Oslo and is open to singers from all over the world. The main goal of the competition is to assist the career development of talented young singers.
Rosalyn Tureck International Bach Competition
Schadt String Competition
New York, New York
The competition welcomes young pianists from the world over who pursue the musical ideals espoused by the late Mme Rosalyn Tureck. It consists of eight categories divided by repertoire difficulty. A competitor may compete in up to three categories and is required to perform a contemporary work.
Allentown, Pennsylvania
Begun in 1997 following a bequest to the Allentown Symphony Association from Edwin H. and Leigh W. Schadt, the competition alternates annually among violin, cello, and classical guitar. The first prize includes a cash award of $8,000 and a solo concerto engagement with the Allentown Symphony Orchestra.
Stulberg International String Competition
University of Louisville Classical Guitar Competition
Kalamazoo, Michigan
Established in 1975, the Stulberg is one of the longest-standing string competitions in the country. Its uniqueness stems from its focus on young string musicians, its strong reputation, and the high caliber of judges.
Louisville, Kentucky
The University of Louisville Guitar Festival and Competition welcomes a roster of top-rate guitarists, devoted students, and casual enthusiasts for intensive study and artistic development. The competition includes free-choice repertoire for all rounds. Works may be repeated in multiple rounds. Time limits vary between 7-15 minutes between rounds.
Wideman International Piano Competition
15th International Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition
Jackson, Mississippi
To encourage and promote young pianist with an opportunity to play with an orchestra, give recitals and win cash prizes. Please visit our website for more information on prizes, winner's recitals and application.
Poznan, Poland
Founded in 1935, this violin competition is the oldest in the world, boasting prize winners such as Ginette Neveu, David Oistrakh, Igor Oistrakh, and Charles Treger. Honorary Chairman: Krzysztof Penderecki. Preliminary selection will take place live: Maxim Vengerov will listen to the candidates in different locations in Europe, Asia and North America.

Barlow Endowment for Music Composition--Prize Competition
Provo, Utah
Besançon International Competition for Young Conductors
Besançon, France
Canadian International Organ Competition
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Cincinnati World Piano Competition
Cincinnati, Ohio
First Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition and Festival
Fort Worth, Texas
Fifteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition
Fort Worth, Texas
Concert Artists Guild
New York, New York
Hilton Head International Piano Competition
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Honens International Piano Competition
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
The Hong Kong International Piano Competition
Hong Kong
Houston Symphony Ima Hogg Competition
Houston, Texas
International Double Reed Society Young Artist Competition
Finksburg, Maryland
The International Oboe Competition of Japan 2015 in Karuizawa
Tokyo, Japan
International Sir Georg Solti Conductors Competition
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
International Tchaikovsky Competition
Moscow, Russian Federation
International Telekom Beethoven Competition Bonn
Bonn, Germany
International Violin Competition of Indianapolis
Indianapolis, Indiana
The Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation
New York, New York
The Gerda Lissner Foundation
New York, New York
The Mahler Competition
Bamberg, Germany
Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition at Northwestern University
Evanston, Illinois
National Chopin Piano Competition of the USA
Miami, Florida
The Walter W. Naumburg Foundation
New York, New York
The Carl Nielsen International Chamber Music Competition
Copenhagen, Denmark
The Parkening Young Guitarist Competition
Malibu, California
Queen Elisabeth Competition - Brussels, Belgium
Brussels, Belgium
Sphinx Competition
Detroit, Michigan
Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition
London, United Kingdom
Wigmore Hall/Kohn Foundation International Song Competition
London, United Kingdom
Young Concert Artists International Auditions
New York, New York