The SPPTA Concerto Competition is open to any age student up through high school who would like to perform an accompanied concerto movement and receive a critique from two judges. From the preliminary round participants, six finalists are selected to perform again in the evening for the Finals Round, where the two daytime judges are joined by a third. Cash prizes are awarded for those musicians placing 3rd, 2nd, and 1st, with the 1st-place winner also earning the opportunity to perform their same concerto movement in concert with the Mississippi Valley Orchestra.
Awards from the Scholarship Fund:
1st Place - $250 and Concert Soloist
2nd Place - $150
3rd Place - $100
Registrations will be accepted between September 1st and October 15th, 2023. The registration fee is $50 per student for SPPTA Members, $75 per student for non-members, and is waived for MusicLink students when the teacher’s MusicLink ID is noted on the registration form.
Competition Preliminaries: Saturday, December 2nd, 2023 from approximately 10:30 am-5:00pm
Competition Finals: Saturday, December 2nd, 2023 from 6:30pm-8:30pm, with doors opening at 6:15pm.
Winner’s Concert with the Mississippi Valley Orchestra
Concerto Competition Winner’s Performance
Sunday May 19th, 2024
Benson Great Hall
3900 Bethel Dr,
St Paul, MN 55112
If you would like to financially support this unique opportunity, contributions and Memorials can be made to the Honors and Awards Fund. All gifts are tax deductible. You may donate using the DONATE NOW button below.
Concerto Competition Rules and Regulations:
1. Registration limits The SPPTA Concerto Competition accommodates up to twenty-four students. Any registrations received beyond this amount will be placed in a lottery to establish alternates in the case of cancellations. Teachers with more than one student in the lottery will have the opportunity to rank them. Registration forms must be postmarked by October 15th to be accepted.
2. Fee. $50 per student for SPPTA members; $75 per student for non-members. Checks must be written by the teacher and payable to SPPTA. This fee is waived for MusicLink students when the teacher’s MusicLink ID is noted on the registration form. Refunds are given only if students are unable to participate due to program capacity.
3. Eligibility. This competition is open to any student through grade 12. The teacher must complete and sign the registration form and take care of all the details. If a student has transferred teachers within the last 6 months, please note the previous teacher’s name, so we can honor both teaching contributions While a student who has won the competition may continue to participate in subsequent years to receive the judges’ critiques, he/she cannot be awarded 1st place again.
4. Repertoire. Teachers may choose any concerto. A full movement must be prepared. Please note that each time a student participates in the competition, a different movement or concerto must be performed. Concerto selections cannot be changed after the registration deadline. Some concerto suggestions are provided online at the SPPTA website: https://img1.wsimg.com/blobby/go/a1f45167-e11d-4dc7-acef-67fc75514fda/downloads/1clhjbv3a_691901.pdf?ver=1629774276978
5. Time Limits. A student’s performance time at the preliminary auditions may not exceed ten (10) minutes and should be one (1) movement, except as noted on the suggested concerto list. The teacher should make and clearly mark all appropriate cuts in the tutti to allow the student to play as much of the movement as possible, allowing time for the entire cadenza to be heard. Finalists may
expand their playing time to no more than twelve (12) minutes including tutti. Each student must play the same movement for the final auditions as was played for the preliminaries.
6. Finalists’ Concert. At the judges’ discretion, a maximum of six (6) students will be chosen to play in the final auditions. A winner may or may not be chosen.
7. First-Place Winner. The first-place winner must be available to rehearse and perform with the Mississippi Valley Orchestra. Once a student has won, he/she will not be awarded 1st place again in subsequent years, even if he/she was unable to perform with the orchestra when selected.
8. Accompanist. A student must provide his/her own accompanist.
9. Music for Judge. Each student must provide clean, non-photocopied music for the judge. Printed public domain pieces are acceptable. Make sure pencil marks are erased, and measures are neatly numbered. Mark all cuts clearly (sticky notes, paper clips, etc.) to ensure the judges can easily follow the performance.
10. Cadenzas. Cadenzas may be photocopied with all measures numbered.
11. Contestant Minimum. In case of low registration numbers, the program may not be offered.
12. Audition Format. All auditions must be done in person, on the date of the competition. No other form of performance submission will be accepted unless the event is forced to be virtual, in which case all auditions will be submitted by YouTube video, four days or more before the competition.
13. Open to the Public. Both preliminary and final auditions are open to the public, and all participants are encouraged to attend the finalists’ evening auditions.
14. Videotaping. From a location that allows the judges to clearly see the pianists, a parent may videotape their own child’s preliminary round performance, but not the performance of any other participant. (revised Oct. 2022)
15. Communication with the Judges. If a student has transferred teachers within the last 6 months, please note the previous teacher’s name, so we can honor both teaching contributions. If you have any questions or concerns about the event, please speak with the concerto competition coordinator. No one is allowed to discuss performance details with the judges, and the decision of the judges is final.
16. Memorization. While memorization is not required to participate in the preliminary round and receive the judges' critiques, only those individuals performing their concerto memorized will be considered as possible finalists.
17. Disqualification. Please review these guidelines well, and discuss them with your students, as infractions of these rules will result in disqualification.
Register and pay online at:
or via mail Registrations accepted September 1st – October 15th, 2023.
Mail registration forms to:
Attn: Concerto Competition
1017 Glen Paul Court,
Shoreview, MN 55126
Beverly can be reached at Bev@BenchandBow.com and (651) 341-0353 if you have questions.
If you would like to financially support this unique opportunity, contributions and Memorials can be made to the Honors and Awards Fund.
All gifts are tax deductible. .
Find out about the SPPTA Concerto Competition. Listen to this message from Beverly Olson, the Concerto Competition Chair.
Contributions and Memorials can be made to the Honors and Awards Fund to help us provide Concerto Competition to piano students. All gifts are tax deductible. Your generous gift is appreciated.