For Musicians

Y.A.C. Audition Rules

Young Artist Competition

  1. Contestants will be auditioned on the piano or any symphonic instrument. Vocal soloists and past first-place winners are excluded from this competition.

  2. Auditions will be held June 11, 2023, at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM.: Preliminaries (9:00 AM-1:30 PM) and Finals (3–5 PM). All contestants and their accompanists must be available for the finals time frame.

  3. Two young artists will be chosen to perform with the CYS Senior Orchestra. In the case of a double or triple concerto, an “artist” is defined as a group of soloists.

  4. Auditions are open to all who have not attained their 19th birthday on or before the competition date.

  5. Contestants are expected to have a COMPLETE approved concerto or concert work for solo instrument and orchestra ready to perform from memory. The concerto must be approved by the CYS Music Director before it can be accepted. If the concerto listed on the Application Form is unacceptable, CYS will contact the contestant. For more information, refer to the page Approved Concerti for the 2023 Competition.

  6. In the preliminary round, contestants will select a 5-7 minute program that best represents their ability to perform their concerto. Each contestant will play for at least five minutes, but the judges may end the audition before the full seven minutes. The judges rarely ask the contestant to play from any other parts of their piece (although they can do that).

    In the final round, the judges will request which parts of the concerto they want to hear. They may ask for entire movements, cadenzas, or other passages. Each finalist will play for 15-20 minutes in total. 

  7. The competition winners must perform the same concerto with the orchestra that they performed at the competition. Competition winners agree to attend and perform with the orchestra for four Sunday rehearsals before the first scheduled performance. All competition winners must be available for rehearsals (4-5 Sunday rehearsals) and performances. Competition winners also agree to send a biography and a photograph by July 15.

  8. Each contestant is expected to perform with a piano accompanist; contestants are responsible for providing their own accompanist.

  9. CYS will require proof of COVID vaccination for all eligible participants, accompanists, and judges who enter the theater unless they have a valid medical or religious exemption—the initial series and at least one booster dose when eligible is required.

  10. Wearing a mask is optional for all musicians and staff indoors and around others, regardless of vaccination status.

  11. Contestants will provide one copy of the composition for the judges to use during the audition. 

  12. Because of the economics of any public concert performance, we prefer that our contestants not have performed their audition concerto with another major Bay Area orchestra. If you are performing, or have performed, a concerto with another orchestra in the Bay Area under these circumstances, you cannot use this concerto for the CYS competition this concert season. If you win the CYS competition, you agree not to perform your concerto with another orchestra in the Bay Area until after you have performed it with the California Youth Symphony. The “Bay Area” means all the East Bay and West Bay cities, including San Francisco and San Jose. Please call and direct any questions on concerto eligibility to the CYS Executive Director.

  13. Audition times will be emailed to all contestants one week before the competition date. 

  14. Three judges will preside. The decision of the judges will be final.

  15. Winners will be announced at the end of the final round.

  16. A non-refundable fee of $75 must accompany your application submission to complete your registration. Payments are now only processed through PayPal.

  17. The application deadline will be announced when applications open in March.

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