Registration for the 2020 Concerto Competition is now closed. We thank all that registered and invite everyone to the winner's showcase on April 11. To get early access to the 2021 competition, please subscribe to our mailing list using the form at the bottom of this page.

Email with any further questions or concerns.

The Utah Philharmonic Orchestra Concerto Competition has been held annually since 2005. It is the only statewide competition with open categories for all ages and all instruments and a separate category for vocalists. Winners of each age group are invited to perform as soloists with the Utah Philharmonic Orchestra in the last season concert, the Spotlight Spectacular, on Saturday, April 11, 2020.


Eligibility to compete in the Utah Philharmonic Orchestra Concerto Competition is open to singers and instrumentalists of all ages and all instruments with one exception: winners from previous Utah Philharmonic Orchestra competitions may not compete again in the same age category. Competitors will be divided into age categories based on age as of January 1st of the contest year).

Winner Categories
Youth – Primary - age 5-8
Youth – Instrumentalist or Vocalist - age 9-12
Junior - Instrumentalist – age 13-16
Junior - Piano –age 13-16
Senior - Instrumentalist – age 17-20
Open - Instrumentalist or Piano – age 21+
Vocalist – age 13+

Date and Location
The 2020 Utah Philharmonic Orchestra Annual Concerto Competition will be held Saturday, February 1, 2020, at American Preparatory Academy in West Valley, Utah. Individual contestants will be assigned a specific time for performance based on their performance category.

Contestants should prepare a single movement from a concerto, aria from an opera or oratorio, or other standard solo with orchestral accompaniment. Orchestral scores and parts must be readily available through standard commercial sources, and free from performance restrictions. (If you have any questions about the suitability of your contest repertoire, contact us about it before entering the contest. Failure to meet these criteria is grounds for disqualification, and the entry fee is non-refundable.) Please note that “Broadway” or “Pops” selections do not generally meet the above guidelines. Musical selections are ineligible if they have won in ANY category, in the last 2 years of the competition. Movements of works not on the 2020 List of Ineligible Pieces may be performed. Please review the list of winners and corresponding pieces or the list of ineligible pieces for 2020 BEFORE submitting your entry form.

Contest Performance
Each contestant should perform the movement or segment of the work intended for performance but will only be allowed a maximum of five to six minutes to perform at the competition. Contestants should make necessary cuts to fit the allotted time. Judges may lower the scores of contestants who go over this allotted time. There will be a piano available for accompanists, but contestants must provide their own accompanist. Any contestant may choose to perform unaccompanied; however, piano entries MUST play unaccompanied. Harp and guitar entries may perform with an accompanist if the contestant provides his/her own amplification system so they can be heard above the accompanist. There is no memorization requirement.

Contact Information
Contestants may contact the Utah Philharmonic Orchestra by email at

Entry Information
Each contestant must submit a complete entry which consists of:


Entry Form

Completed and signed entry form (if minor, parent/legal guardian must also sign). Registration may be completed one of three ways. 1) Online: complete online application, sign electronically, pay fee online or send check or money order; 2) E-mail: download application, sign electronically or sign and scan, pay fee online or send check or money order; 3) US Postal Service: download application, sign, pay fee online or send check or money order.

Entry Fee

Utah Philharmonic Orchestra prefers payment of the Entry Fee online at the Utah Philharmonic Orchestra website. However, the $50.00 Entry Fee may also be paid by check or money order made payable to Utah Philharmonic Orchestra,  5526 West 13400 South #525, Herriman, UT 84096 . This fee is non-refundable. Registrations received after the deadline will be charged an additional $10. If paying by check, please include the late fee if postmarked after January 14, 2019.


A photo of the contestant. (Color 8×10 is the preferred format. Any size larger than wallet size is fine). Photo may uploaded in the online registration form or e-mailed to


Please attach a résumé or a short biographical sketch to your form (online or printed form). Résumé may also be e-mailed to


Registration may be submitted online or postmarked by January 14, 2020 for timely consideration. Contestants will be notified by email of contest time slots no later than January 24, 2020. Late entries received on January 15, 2020 through Friday, February 1, 2020, will be considered, and may be accepted based on contest time-slot availability. Late entries will incur an additional $10.00 late fee.



Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Concerto Competition?

The Utah Philharmonic Orchestra Concerto Competition is an annual contest for talented musicians and vocalists around the state to compete for an opportunity to perform with the UPO in the annual “Spotlight Spectacular” performance which will be held on Saturday, April 11, 2020 at Waterford School. Please refer to the Contest Guidelines for detailed information about the competition and to print an application.

What are contestants judged on?

The same Performance Evaluation Rubric is used for each competitor for technique and artistry. Technique includes pitch/intonation, rhythm/tempo, tone, articulation, dynamics, and technique. Artistry includes phrasing, interpretation, overall musicality, and stage presence.

Do I need to bring a music score for judges?

No, it is not a requirement of the competition to provide a music score for the judges but it is a good idea for contestants in any performance evaluation.

How do you judge a pianist on “Pitch/Intonation”?

Pianists will not be graded on intonation. They are, however, like every other musician in the contest, graded on producing the correct pitch. This is the same criteria used by the Utah High School Activities Association for Solo and Ensemble Adjudications. The UHSAA adjudication sheets for Solos and for Large and Small Ensembles use “Intonation” as the title of a major “Area of Concern”, where it is explicitly defined as “accuracy to printed pitches”, which is also the definition used in the official Utah State Music Curriculum.

Why don’t the judges provide an explanation to competitors on their performance?

1) We agree that feedback to the competitor is important. To this end, the scoring categories are quite specific, and the terminology is carefully chosen to reflect that specificity. A judge may have considered that the title of a category would be sufficient to pinpoint an area for improvement. However, we recognize that the meaning of a specific category title may not have been sufficiently intuitive to give a competitor (or their teacher) the information they are seeking. Therefore, in this year’s competition UPO will include a sheet of scoring definitions and criteria as part of the result packet for the contestant. 2) A low category score of “1” or “2” that can be attributed to one or two specific reasons can and should be addressed in a (short) written comment, and judges are encouraged to do so. However, if a performance shows a general deficiency in an area, a judge is neither expected nor encouraged to write an in-depth critique. This event is not a “Solo & Ensemble Adjudication”, and the emphasis of the scoring system is on the performance, not on the details of technique.

Why are contestants ranked within the category?

UPO is well aware that the concept of “ranking” in competitive events is an issue of controversy in today’s society, especially in academic circles. Several different types of musical events considered “Competitions” take extremes to alleviate or disguise any competitive aspect of the event. Many of these events are at least honest enough to call themselves something other than a competition (i.e., “Festival”, “Adjudication”, or “Evaluation”, etc.), and some have both competitive and non-competitive portions, accompanied by stern warnings that a particular portion “is a competitive Event.” Given this environment, UPO tries to make it explicitly clear that the Utah Philharmonic Orchestra Concerto Competition, as the title indicates, is a competitive event. It has been a competition from its inception, and has never advertised itself as anything other than that. One of the defining characteristics of a true competition is that the competitors know their standing in relation to the other competitors. Now, we recognize that the transition from “student” to “competitor” can be traumatic, and we have no desire to make that transition more difficult, especially for the younger participants. Accordingly, we have reviewed our standings system to determine if some sort of median approach is appropriate, especially in the Youth and Junior categories. The Utah Philharmonic Orchestra has modified procedures so that only the top five competitors in a category will be routinely advised of their rankings. Other competitors will only be advised of a ranking upon a written request for that information. UPO has no quarrel with organizations that, for whatever reasons, decide to ameliorate the competitive aspects of their event. Nor do we have any problem with teachers who decide to steer their students toward less competitive evaluations. We expect that the teacher is the person most qualified to judge a student’s musical and emotional preparedness for competition, and in accordance with a young student’s long term goals as a musician, help them determine when, or if ever, competition is the appropriate route for them. As a gentle suggestion, however, a teacher who has students of unusual talent and potential is not doing them any great favors in the long run by shielding them from competition, especially if they have the slightest inclination towards becoming a concert performer. Rather, early preparation to deal with the vagaries of competition might be more beneficial, which ultimately comes only through participation in truly competitive events.

What do I do if I notice mathematical errors on my score sheet?

Contestant’s scores are checked very carefully before they are sent out; however, in a competition of this size it is certainly possible for an incorrect score to slip through. If this has happened to one of your students, we apologize. UPO is ready, willing, and happy to recalculate a contestant’s score (and readjust standings, if necessary) in the event of an error. Please contact to resolve the issue.

Do I have to have an accompanist?

No. Contestants are not required to perform with an accompanist. Contestants performing on the piano must perform unaccompanied. Harp and guitar entries may perform with an accompanist if the contestant provides his/her own amplification system so they can be heard above the accompanist. There is no requirement either way for all other contestants, so the decision whether to use an accompanist or not, is purely an individual choice.

Isn’t it unfair for some contestants to play with an accompanist and some without (not “equal”)?

The use of an accompanist is purely an individual choice by the competitor. We provide instruments for an accompanist as part of the contest venue, but there is no requirement, either for or against the use of an accompanist. If you feel that by using an accompanist, you perform better and display greater maturity as a performing artist, by all means use one. There are at least as many disadvantages as advantages to doing so, however, and we would encourage a careful evaluation of the individual situation before making this decision. It is important to realize that deficiencies in maturity, correct balance, interpretation, etc. are more readily apparent when using an accompanist. The scores of more than one contestant have been adversely affected when it became evident that the accompanist, and not the performer, was the real interpreter of the performance. Contrariwise, more than one contestant has impressed the judges with an ability to “carry the performance” without an accompanist.

Will I be scored differently (lower) if I don’t perform with an accompanist?

The judging guidelines are carefully constructed to nullify the presence or absence of an accompanist as an aspect of the performance, except as the interaction between the performer and the accompanist highlights or reflects on the abilities or deficiencies of the performer. In terms of competition results over the years, there appears to have been no significant difference between using and not using an accompanist. The winners over the history of the competition are quite evenly split as to whether or not they used an accompanist.

Does the Utah Philharmonic Orchestra have a listing of accompanists that contestants can contact if they would like to find one?

UPO does not provide accompanist lists or recommend individual accompanists for contestants. (Such lists are usually available from the Music Departments of local colleges or universities).

If I win, do I play the full piece/movement for the performance or do I use the abbreviated version that I competed with?

Each contestant will be allowed a maximum of six minutes to perform at the competition and should make necessary cuts to fit the allotted time. However, if the contestant wins the category and is invited to play with the Utah Philharmonic Orchestra, the winner will work with the UPO Music Director to choose the length of time for the performance.

If I get sick, have an unexpected conflict, or decide not to compete, may I get a refund on the competition fee?

No. The concerto competition fee is non-refundable.

Can I compete with another musician/vocalist in a double concerto?

Absolutely! Works which require multiple performers (double concertos, ensembles, etc.) are eligible with restrictions. The selection will be judged in the category appropriate to the oldest performer. Each performer must submit an entry application and pay the entry fee.

5526 West 13400 South #525

Herriman, UT 84096

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