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The Musical America Guide to Competitions
2017 Top Competitions
The Musical America Worldwide Guide
Competitions may be controversial, grueling and, in the end, heart-breaking, but there’s no  denying that winning one can launch a major career. Culled from the hundreds of competitions in our data base, we’ve come up with a select list; in it you'll find information on frequency, deadlines, disciplines, semifinal and finals dates, eligibility, awards options (such as performances, management, and recordings), and much more.
In a special feature article, we asked five top competitors about what they’ve learned, both as winners and losers, through their experiences. "I always imagine myself being as nervous as possible and still playing well," said Austin Larson, winner of the International Horn Competition of America—just one nugget among many uncovered in our interviews.



Fifteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition
Fort Worth, Texas
Quadrennial international piano competition held in Fort Worth, TX. Cash awards: $50,000/$25,000/$15,000. Winners also receive three years of artist management services and tour booking, audio recording, and distribution, and other prizes. The competition will be streamed live online, and a documentary will be produced for PBS and international distribution.

Thomas and Evon Cooper International Competition
Oberlin, Ohio
Oberlin Conservatory and the Cleveland Orchestra collaborate on this international competition for musicians ages 13-18, alternating violin and piano. Total cash awards amount to $40,000. First prize is $20,000 in cash with performance of a full concerto with the Cleveland Orchestra and a four-year full- tuition scholarship to Oberlin Conservatory.

Global Music Awards
La Jolla, California
Global Music Awards is a well-known international showcase for original music, unique voices and emerging artists. It has a large international following.
Entries go through a multi-layered judging process including listener impact, technical quality, uniqueness and styling. All first-level judging is conducted by Global Music's in-house professionals.

International Violin Competition of Indianapolis
Indianapolis, Indiana
Hailed by musicians, media, and critics as one of the world's most important competitions for launching a career, "The Indianapolis" quadrennially attracts the greatest young talent in the world. For over 30 years, the competition has searched the globe for the latest violin sensations to emerge on the concert scene.

Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition
Charlotte, North Carolina
The Jensen Foundation auditions 110 of America's most promising young opera singers and chooses 12-15 of them to perform in the finals competition. Singers compete for more than $40,000 in awards, including $15,000 first place.

National Music Theater Competition
Jacksonville, Florida
As the first national competition for music theater soloists, this competition's winners are finding success on Broadway and other theaters across the country.

NATS Artist Awards (NATSAA)
Jacksonville, Florida
The biennial NATS Artist Awards competition is designed to assist singers prepared to launch a professional career.

NATS Art Song Composition Award
Jacksonville, Florida
The NATS Art Song Composition Award program's purpose is to stimulate the creation of quality vocal literature through the cooperation of singer and composer. The performance of the first place winning composition will be premiered at the NATS National Conference in Las Vegas, June 22-26, 2018.

NATS National Student Auditions
Jacksonville, Florida
Originally for classical repertoire only, the NATS National Student Auditions categories have been expanded to music theater and (in even-numbered years) the Hall Johnson Spirituals.

Takamatsu International Piano Competition
Kagawa, Japan
The Takamatsu International Piano Competition is an artistic event that provides a forum to bring together top musicians from all over the world. Encouraging young people to pursue their dreams and goals of self-development, the competition also aims to foster a new culture of music in the local area.

Altamura/Caruso International Voice Competition
American Pianists Awards
Union City, New Jersey
The competition was founded in 1988 by Carmela Altamura. Its first president was mezzo-soprano Giulietta Simionato The competition's philosophy is to use the arts for the improvement of social, ethnic, cultural, and professional relations in the world. This year's winners will go to Europe for performance engagements.
Indianapolis, Indiana
The American Pianists Awards are held every two years to discover the best young American jazz or classical pianists. The innovative competitions span 13 months and provide a platform to engage artists across varied formats. Winners receive cash and two years of career advancement valued at over $100,000.
Blue Danube International Opera Conducting Competition 2017 (7th Edition)
Cleveland International Piano Competition for Young Artists
Vienna, Austria
The competition comprehensively tests (over three rounds) how well a conductor works with a professional orchestra, choir, and soloists. The jury evaluates the conductor's ability to rehearse, guide, and inspire those on stage, both verbally and non-verbally through gesture and command. Several operas in diverse styles are required.
Shaker Heights, Ohio
CIPC for Young Artists is a competition and institute that seeks to develop the performance capabilities of young piano students, renew their commitment to piano studies, and provide an important learning and development experience.
Concours Musical International de Montréal
Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition
Montréal, Quebec, Canada
The Concours musical international de Montreal (CMIM) seeks to discover and support young singers, violinists, and pianists who demonstrate exceptional mastery of their art. It's the only international competition in North America to be held annually and to present three disciplines in a three-year rotation.
Notre Dame, Indiana
Founded in 1973 by Joseph E. Fischoff and fellow members of the South Bend Chamber Music Society, the competition provides an innovative way of encouraging young people to pursue chamber music study and performance.
Gawon Award
Marcello Giordani International Voice Competition
Seoul, Korea
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Gawon International Music Society presents the Gawon Award every two years, offering a $10,000 cash prize to a promising pianist. The Society's advisory board, consisting of internationally acclaimed pianists, reviews the application package and provides jury members.
Charlotte, North Carolina
In 2011, the Marcello Giordani Foundation estab-lished the first annual Marcello Giordani Voice Com-petition in Italy. In 2013 and 2014, the Italy compe-tition was joined with competitions in the United States. This year will mark the third U.S. edition.
HKIVS Shlomo Mintz International Violin Competition
International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition
Beijing, China
The HKIVS Shlomo Mintz International Violin Competition is created to offer all violin students the opportunity of participating in a great competition, with minimum cost and minimum investment of time—a new competition for a new generation.
Vienna, Austria
Since 1982 the International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition is one of the world’s best networked singing competition with qualifying rounds in more than 70 cities world-wide each year. The singers are judged by a jury consisting of artistic and casting directors from the world's most prestigious opera houses.
IPCL Percussion Duo Competition 2018
Johansen International Competition for Young String Players (Ages 13-17)
The International Percussion Competition Duo, founded in 1989, strives to achieve two main goals: to give percussion ensembles the chance to compete among themselves, and to demonstrate the various percussion instruments to the public. IPCL is a member of the WFIMC.
Silver Spring, Maryland
The competition is funded by a charitable trust established by Anna Storch Johansen, who wanted to encourage young musicians with a significant cash prize at a time when they need it most. With a total of $67,000 in prizes, there are equal prizes for each instrument.
2nd Manhattan International Music Competition
MTNA National Student Competitions
New York, New York
The competition is judged from video recordings and requires no traveling, other than to the winners' concert. The awards include three recitals in the 2017-18 season, a CD recording with a complimentary supply of 1,000 CDs, international management, and gold and silver special awards.
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
The competition offers master classes and the opportunity to concertize, and stays in touch with its finalists through its Creating Careers program, enabling them to access international network of theaters, universities, and opera managers.
New York, New York
A first in the world of competitions and a unique feature of the NYIPC, no participant is eliminated throughout the competition. The Foundation presents a cash award to each of the contestants not receiving a major prize. The NYIPC includes seminars, master classes, ensemble playing, and concert and recital appearances.
Plowman Chamber Music Competition
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Finalists have four rehearsals-with second pianist, conductor, chamber ensemble, and full orchestra-prior to performing a full concerto with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in the final round. The Artist Training Institute offers contestants classes on engaging audiences with concert conversations. During the concurrent festival, each performs outreach concerts.
Columbia, Missouri
The Plowman Chamber Music Competition celebrated its inaugural year in 2006. It provides an opportunity for non-professional musicians to perform in front of an outstanding panel of nationally chosen judges for the cash awards that include a grand prize of $5,000.
Rapido! 14-Day Composition Contest
Schadt String Competition
Atlanta, Georgia
The Rapido! Contest promotes the creation of new chamber works and highlights lesser-known composers. Participating composers write a five- minute work in just 14 days. The national grand prize winner receives a cash prize, premieres in five cities by five chamber ensembles, and a commission from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
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.
Franz Schubert and Modern Music
Solti International Conducting Competition 2017
Graz, Austria
The competition is unique in its combination of traditional and contemporary music, such that both participants and audience can get in touch with both genres. The contemporary pieces are the results of composition competitions established particularly for this event.
Pecs, Hungary
Filharmonia Hungary is happy to announce the Solti International Conducting Competition SICC, which will be taking place in October and December 2017 in Hungary. The competition will receive wide media coverage and provide an excellent opportunity for young conductors to prove their talent.
Stulberg International String Competition
Suzhou Jinji Lake International Piano 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, strong reputation, and high caliber of judges.
Suzhou, China
In its inaugural season, the Suzhou Symphony Orchestra will host and present the first piano competition and festival of its kind in the area. Dynamic Suzhou welcomes talented pianists from all over the world to come and create a new chapter of music history in this ancient city.
VSA International Young Soloists
Washington, District of Columbia
Each year outstanding young musicians with disabilities from around the world receive the VSA International Young Soloists Award, $2,000, and the opportunity to perform at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C.

AGO/ECS Publishing Award in Choral Composition
New York, New York
Banff International String Quartet Competition
Banff, Alberta, Canada
Berliner International Music Competition
New York, New York
Besançon International Competition for Young Conductors
Besançon, France
Canadian International Organ Competition
Montréal, Quebec, Canada
Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition
New York, New York
Discover National Chamber Music Competition
Highwood, Illinois
Fleischmann International Trophy Competition
Pope's Quay, Cork, Ireland
Forte International Music Competition
Brooklyn, New York
2017 Hilton Head International Piano Competition
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Honens Piano Competition
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition
Warszawa, Poland
The 16th International Edvard Grieg Piano Competition
Bergen, Norway
International Franz Liszt Piano Competition
Utrecht, The Netherlands
International Telekom Beethoven Competition Bonn
Bonn, Germany
51st International Vocal Competition 's-Hertogenbosch
's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands
Lyon international chamber music competition
Villeurbanne, France
M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition
Ann Arbor, Michigan
The Mahler Competition
Bamberg, Germany
Eleanor McCollum Competition
Houston, Texas
Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition
Evanston, Illinois
National Chopin Piano Competition of the USA
Miami, Florida
Osaka International Chamber Music Competition
Osaka, Japan
Queen Elisabeth Competition - Belgium - Brussels
Brussels, Belgium
The Queen Sonja Interational Music Competition
Oslo, Norway
The 15th Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition
Tel Aviv, Israel
Franz Schubert and Modern Music
Graz, Austria
Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition
Shanghai, China
The Solti Foundation U.S.
Evanston, Illinois
Sphinx Competition
Detroit, Michigan
Toru Takemitsu Composition Award 2018
Tokyo, Japan
33rd Valsesia Musica International Competition 2017
Piedmont, Italy
Viotti International Music Competition, Vercelli
Vercelli, Italy
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