Press Releases | Reviews | Special Reports | Guide to Competitions

The Musical America Guide to Competitions
The Musical America Guide to Top Competitions
We've combed through our database of 500-plus listings of national and international competitions to come up with a special list, chosen either by virtue of their prize monies, their prestige, their unusual nature, or a some combination of these attributes. You'll find information on frequency, deadlines, disciplines, semifinals and finals dates, eligibility, awards options (such as performances, management and recordings), and much more.
Also, while not every artist who wins a competition ends up a star, there's no denying that a win can be a major boost to a career. We sat with mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, recent Richard Tucker Award winner and someone on an astonishingly swift career trajectory, to try to find out her approach. Pretend it's just another job, she says, because "doing your job doesn't make your mouth go dry and your legs shake."



Fifteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition
Fort Worth, Texas
The Van Cliburn International Piano Competition is quadrennial and held in Fort Worth, TX. Cash awards: $50,000/$20,000/$20,000. 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, and a documentary will be produced for PBS and international distribution.

Thomas and Evon Cooper International Competition
Oberlin, Ohio
Oberlin Conservatory of Music and The Cleveland Orchestra collaborate on this international competition for musicians ages 13-18 (alternating violin and piano). New for 2016 is a $20,000 first prize cash award. Awards total more than $40,000 in cash prizes, performance of a full concerto with the Cleveland Orchestra live broadcast on WCLV Classical 104.7 FM, and a full four-year tuition scholarship to Oberlin Conservatory.

MTNA National Student Competitions
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.

NATS Art Song Composition Award
Main office: Jacksonville, Florida
Competition: Chicago, Illinois
The purpose of the NATS Art Song Composition Award program is to stimulate the creation of quality vocal literature through the cooperation of singer and composer.

NATS Artist Awards (NATSAA)
Main office: Jacksonville, Florida
Competition: Chicago, Illinois
The biennial NATS Artist Awards competition is designed to assist singers prepared to launch a professional career.

National Music Theater Competition
Main office: Jacksonville, Florida
Competition: Chicago, Illinois
The National Music Theater Competition is seeking out the best emerging music theater soloists. As the first national competition for the music theater soloist this competition's winners are finding success on Broadway and other theaters across the country.

NATS National Student Auditions
Main office: Jacksonville, Florida
Competition: Chicago, Illinois
Originally for classical repertoire only, auditions now include music theater, and the Hall Johnson Spirituals categories.

Wilson Center Guitar Competition & Festival
Brookfield, Wisconsin
Featuring $22,000 in prize money, the Wilson Center Guitar Competition & Festival is open to non-professional competitors of all ages. This annual festival features four separate competitions: Fingerstyle, Classical, Jazz, and Rock/Blues. The fourth annual Festival will take place August 18 to 20, 2016.

American Pianists Awards
The American Prize
Indianapolis, Indiana
The winner of the American Pianists Awards receives a two-year fellowship worth over $100,000, including a $50,000 cash award and career assistance for two years, to include publicity, public performances, and other opportunities worldwide.
Danbury, Connecticut
The American Prize provides evaluation, recognition, and reward to America's finest performing artists, ensembles, and composers based on recorded performances. There are many different categories and no age limits. The American Prize is proud to have awarded over $40,000 in cash prizes in all categories since 2010.
Banff International String Quartet Competition
BBC Cardiff Singer of the World
Banff, Alberta, Canada
Since 1983, BISQC has celebrated the art of chamber music while providing career support for emerging string quartets. Join the most dedicated chamber music audience on the planet for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Outstanding music-making, enlightening lectures, passionate discussions, delicious food, and spectacular mountain vistas await you.
Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
BBC Cardiff Singer of the World is known throughout the classical music world as one of the premiere showcases for young professional singers at the start of their careers. It is broadcast on BBC Television, Radio and online, and can be seen and heard throughout the world.
Concours Musical International de Montréal
Discover National Chamber Music Competition
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
The Concours musical international de Montréal (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.
Highwood, Illinois
The Discover National Chamber Music Competition is designed to provide an educational as well as a competitive experience for young chamber ensembles. Overall winning ensembles will each receive a cash prize and perform on a winner recital in March.
George Enescu International Competition
Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition
Bucharest, Romania
For three weeks the George Enescu Competition transforms Bucharest and Romania into a platform for young talented musicians who aspire to pursue an international career. It is the only Romanian competition that is a member of the World Federation of International Music Competitions.
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.
Fleischmann International Trophy Competition
Forte International Music Competition
Cork, Ireland
Each year some of the finest amateur choirs are selected to compete at the Cork Choral Festival [April 27-May 1, 2016] for the prestigious Fleischmann International Trophy. The selected choirs will also be scheduled for a range of additional festival activities throughout the week, including fringe concerts and church and informal performances.
New York, New York
Forte International Music Competition is open to piano strings woodwinds brass and vocalists ages 4 to 35 It consists of several rounds culminating with the Final Round at Carnegie Hall Participants receive valuable feedback from judges certificates medals cash prizes including Platinum Award of $1,000 and other special awards.
The 15th International Edvard Grieg Piano Competition
Michael Hill International Violin Competition
Bergen, Norway
The competition will take place at Troldhaugen, Grieg's picturesque home in Bergen, Norway, in September 2016. Competitors will live with host families and those who do not advance through to the second round or semifinals will perform in concert in the Bergen area. First prize is 30,000 euros.
Auckland, New Zealand
The Michael Hill is known for the genuine care it shows all its competitors, all of whom receive professional development.
2017 Hilton Head International Piano Competition for Young Artists
The Third International Conducting Competition for Chinese Music
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
First prize winner receives $7,000 plus summer scholarship, return engagement with Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, and other performance opportunities; second prize is $5,000; third prize is $3,000; the two finalists receive $1,000 each; Sascha Gorodnitzki Memorial Prize is $1000.
Hong Kong
Co-organized by Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra and National Chinese Orchestra Taiwan, this competition not only recognizes and grooms young talent but serves as a milestone in the development of Chinese orchestral music in the main.
51st International Vocal Competition 's-Hertogenbosch
Kerikeri International Piano Competition (New Zealand)
Hertogenbosch, Netherlands
Sole classical vocal competition in the Netherlands that involves opera and oratorio, as well as art song for singer-pianist duos. Much attention paid to 20th-century and contemporary music. Finals with symphony orchestra. Master classes, media training, feedback from jury members, career development, travel refund possible, accommodation with host families.
Kerikeri, New Zealand
Three international judges will chose winners among 14 pianists competing in the semifinal rounds and four in the final rounds. First Prize is $15,000 NZ. An allowance is paid towards travel costs. Home-stay accommodation is provided (if required).
Liszt Ferenc International Piano Competition Budapest
International Franz Liszt Piano Competition
Budapest, Hungary
The tradition of Budapest International Music Competition was established in 1933. The winner of the very first piano competition was Annie Fischer. The event was revived in 1956 whenceforth it has been held annually, in several categories.
Utrect, Netherlands
One of the world's most prestigious piano competitions, it is also known for the thorough and professional support it offers young musicians. The Competition is devoted entirely to the piano works of Franz Liszt.
Monte Carlo Violin Masters Prix Prince Rainier III
The New York International Piano Competition
The competition is open exclusively to finalists of International Competitions around the world.
New York, New York
A first in the world of competitions, and a unique feature of the NYIPC, is the fact that 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.
Northern Lights Music Festival Concerto Competition
Osaka International Chamber Music Competition
Aurora, Minnesota
Two performances with the NLMF Orchestra in Aurora and Hibbing, MN.
Osaka, Japan
The Osaka International Chamber Music Competition has two divisions: Section One is for string quartet; Section Two is for other ensembles, such as wind ensemble, piano trio, etc.
The 15th Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Prior to performing in the finals with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, each finalist rehearses the full concerto with the conductor, then with the conductor and a quintet of MSO musicians, followed by a rehearsal with full orchestra. All contestants are coached on speaking about music and perform outreach programs.
Tel Aviv, Israel
April 25 to May 11, 2017. Stage I: recital (35-40 minutes); stage II: recital (50-60 minutes); final stage (3 concerts): chamber music, classical concerto, grand concerto. Over $120,000 in cash prizes; free hotel accommodations; partial coverage of flight expenses; practice piano in each hotel room.
Schadt String Competition
Schmidt Youth Vocal Competition
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.
Oxford, Ohio
The Schmidt Competition encourages youth in the arts and provides support and inspiration to our next generation of artists. The Schmidt Competition has impacted the lives of over 5,000 youth throughout the country and annually provides scholarships for over 120 high school students.
Stulberg International String Competition
Walgreens National Concerto 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.
Highwood, Illinois
The Walgreens National Concerto Competition is one of the largest youth concerto competitions in the nation with over 200 applicants each year. Winners receive $1000 and performance opportunities with the MYA [Midwest Young Artists] Symphony Orchestra and on the radio programs From the Top and Introductions (WFMT-Chicago).

AGO/ECS Publishing Award in Choral Composition
New York, New York
The Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation
New York, New York
The Azrieli Music Project
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Gina Bachauer International Junior and Young Artist Piano Competitions
Salt Lake City, Utah
Barlow Endowment for Music CompositionPrize Competition
Provo, Utah
International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition
Vienna, Austria
Canadian International Organ Competition
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition
Warszawa, Poland
Cleveland International Piano Competition & Festival
Shaker Heights, Ohio
Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition
New York, New York
Gawon International Award
Seoul, South Korea
Honens International Piano Competition
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
The Hong Kong International Piano Competition 2016
Hong Kong
Houston Symphony Ima Hogg Competition
Houson, Texas
International Art Song Competition Stuttgart 2016
Stuttgart, Germany
International Telekom Beethoven Competition Bonn
Bonn, Germany
International Conductors’ Competition Sir Georg Solti
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
International Violin Competition of Indianapolis
Indianapolis, Indiana
The Lotte Lenya Competition
New York, New York
The Gerda Lissner Foundation in Association with the Liederkranz Foundation
New York, New York
Lyon international chamber music competition
Villeurbanne, France
M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition
Ann Arbor, Michigan
The Mahler Competition
Bamber, Germany
National Chopin Piano Competition of the USA
Miami, Florida
The Walter W. Naumburg Foundation
New York, New York
Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition at Northwestern University
Evanston, Illinois
3rd edition of "il Pozzolino" International Competition for Young Pianists
Seregno, Italy
Queen Elisabeth CompetitionBelgium (Brussels)
Brussels, Belgium
Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition
Shanghai, China
The Solti Foundation U.S.
Evanston, Illinois
Sphinx Competition
Detroit, Michigan
Toru Takemitsu Composition Award 2016
Tokyo, Japan
32nd Valsesia Musica International Competition 2016
Varallo, Italy
Viotti International Music Competition, Vercelli
Vercelli, Italy
15th International Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition
Poznan, Poland
Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition
London, England, United Kingdom
Wigmore Hall/Kohn Foundation International Song Competition
London, England, United Kingdom
Young Concert Artists International Auditions
New York, New York