Concerto Competition - University of Houston
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Instruction for Moores School of Music students in the four divisions of: Piano, Strings, Voice, Winds/Brass/Percussion. 

Moores School Symphony Orchestra 2020 Virtual Concerto Competition

Franz Anton Krager, Director of Orchestras; Myles Nardinger, Orchestra General Manager


Grand Prize $1,000* (Presented in addition to the Division Prize)
Audience Choice $500 (Chosen from the Division finalists)
Division Winners $750; Honorable Mention $250

Competition Chairs

Jo Dee Wright, Moores Society Immediate Past President
Ann Ayre, Moores Society Trustee

Final Division Judges

Vadym Kholodenko, pianist
John Mangum, ED/CEO, Houston Symphony
Ana María Martínez, soprano 
Gerard Schwarz, conductor
Yoonshin Song, concertmaster, Houston Symphony

Competition Award Underwriters

  • Division Winner Award, Piano, $750: Gary Hollingsworth and Ken Hyde
  • Division Winner Award, Voice, $750: Ellen and Alan Holzberg
  • Division Winner Award, Strings, $750: A Friend of the Moores Society
  • Division Winner Award, Winds/Brass/Percussion, $750: Jane and Dick Schmitt
  • Audience Choice Award, $500: Joint contribution by Jo Dee Wright and Ann Ayre

Division Judges Underwriters

  • John Mangum, ED/CEO, Houston Symphony: Jackie and Malcolm Mazow
  • Application Deadline

    November 6, 2020 (by 5 p.m.)

    The application portal will open for applications on Friday, October 30 at 9 a.m. All applications must be completed by Friday, November 6, at 5 p.m.

  • Recording

    November 14 - 21, 2020

    All entries will be professionally recorded in the Moores Opera House. Contestants must supply their own accompanist. Recording schedule TBA after close of Application Deadline.

  • Live stream of Final Round

    Beginning December 13, 4-6 p.m.

    The Final Round will be live streamed on Facebook Live over several days, and viewers may vote online for the Audience Favorite Prize during an open period lasting until Tuesday, December 15, 5 p.m.

  • Announcement of winners

    December 16, 2020, 6 p.m.

    In honor of Beethoven's 250th birthday, winners will be announced at this ceremony to be streamed on Facebook Live.


Division round: Each division will be judged by a panel of MSM faculty composed of two (2) appropriate division faculty and one (1) non-applied faculty member. The judges are tasked with selecting a Division Winner, who will advance to the final round. An Honorable Mention prize may also be awarded. 

Final Round: The final round will be judged by an external panel of five (5) distinguished individuals in the music industry (performers, teachers, critics, managers, etc.). One (1) Grand Prize Winner will be chosen. An Audience Choice Prize will also be awarded by viewers of the livestream broadcast.

Application Process

  • Application portal
  • The application portal will open for applications on Friday, October 30 at 9 a.m. All applications must be completed by Friday, November 6, at 5 p.m.
  • There is a non-refundable application fee of $35 for entering the competition. The link for payment is available at the application portal.
  • Competitors must provide an electronic file of the score of the work to be performed (preferably the piano reduction). PDF files are easily available online from IMSLP or other sources.
  • All competition performances will be recorded professionally (by the Moores School of Music) in the Moores Opera House during the period November 14-21, 2020. All competitors will have one (1) hour, maximum, to record their performance. Recording schedules will be arranged as the applications arecompleted. (University approved protocols for safe recording in the Moores Opera House will be strictly observed).
  • No other recording will be acceptable for the competition. 
  • No late applications will be accepted.

Competition Rules and Procedures

  • All applicants must be currently enrolled at the Moores School of Music to be eligible to compete.
  • Repertoire: All competitors must present a performance of a complete work written for solo instrument or voice with orchestra.
  • Vocal repertoire requirements: concert, opera, and oratorio solo entries must fit a time requirement of 12 (minimum) to 15 minutes (maximum). Multiple solos/works/arias are acceptable, in order to meet the minimum time limit. Vocal orchestral works/song cycles are also acceptable but may not exceed 20 minutes (maximum).
  • Competitors must perform the entire work from memory with piano accompaniment, in a complete and unedited take. 
  • Suitable standard cuts are acceptable in orchestral tuttis, but as the finals will be live streamed, accompanists are asked to avoid disrupting the flow of the music unnecessarily.
  • Both the contestant and accompanist must be clearly, and completely, visible in the video frame at all times.
  • Competitors are responsible for engaging their own accompanist and arranging their recording time with pianist.
  • Adjudication will take place: Division Round: December 9-11 Final Round: December 12-14
  • Each Division will award a Division Prize to the competitor who best exemplifies the characteristics of an orchestral soloist and who is ready to perform. At the Division level, judges may also designate an Honorable Mention Prize, if they feel this is merited. Each Division Winner will advance to the Final Round. Any Honorable Mention designee will not be eligible to advance.
  • If the judges feel that no Division competitor is suitable for advancement to the Final Round, judges may opt NOT to award a Division Prize. In this case, no one from that Division will advance.


Please note: Prizewinners in this virtual Concerto Competition will receive only a cash prize. No live orchestral performances will be possible.

Questions: Contact Orchestra Management at