UISO Concerto Competition

UISO Concerto Competition


All currently enrolled Music Majors (undergraduate and graduate) to compete in the UI Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition, except those who have won the competition previously. Students compete in the preliminary round within their performance area, and area faculty choose candidates for the final round.


Friday, February 14, 2025 at Noon ­– Finalist nominations submitted via the submission form available here on February 1, 2025.
Friday, February 28, 2025, 4:00-9:00 PM – Final round in Smith Recital Hall

Preliminary Round

  1. Each of the following performance areas (Keyboard, Strings, Voice, Woodwind/Brass/Percussion) will have its own preliminary round. The format utilized for the preliminary round will be decided by each area.
  2. Memorization is not required for the final round, however individual areas may decide to require memorization for their preliminary round.
  3. Each area may advance up to the maximum number listed below (There will be no exceptions to these limits):
    1. Woodwind, Brass and Percussion – 5 (2 + 2 + 1)
    2. Voice – 2
    3. Strings – 2
    4. Keyboard (piano, harpsichord, organ) – 4

Final Round

  1. The final round of the competition will be held in Smith Recital Hall and will be closed to the public.
  2. Each finalist will be invited to play for a maximum of 15 minutes (timed from the first note played).
  3. Finalists may prepare cuts to best show their work within the 15-minute time frame, but may be asked to stop and start within any movement at any point during the audition.
  4. The use of an accompanist is required for all pieces not written for solo instrument.
  5. The judges will be chosen by the Director of the School of Music and will represent a broad spectrum of instrumental/vocal areas.
  6. The judges will be instructed to choose the best student performer(s), regardless of instrument or repertoire. The number of winners will be determined by the judges in consultation with the UI Symphony Orchestra Music Director.
  7. Voice repertoire: Cycles or groups of pieces written for voice and orchestra are required for this competition.  Appropriate selections would be: Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, Don Quichotte à Dulcinèe, Les Nuits d’Etè, Brentano Lieder, etc. Opera arias are not permitted.
  8. Please direct any questions music-pe@illinois.edu.


  1. The winning student(s) will be invited to perform with the UISO during the 2025-2026 academic year, circumstances permitting. If a winner is not on campus during that year, he/she will be invited back to perform with the Orchestra. The School of Music will reimburse the winner for travel and hotel expenses incurred for the performance, up to a maximum of $1000.
  2. In rare cases, it is possible that the Music Director of the UISO and a winning student, in consultation with the studio teacher, will need to negotiate a change in performance repertoire.
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