Youth Chamber Music Competition

Since 2003 the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival has offered an annual Youth Chamber Music Competition to encourage young music students to participate in chamber music ensembles. To participate, a competition entry form must be submitted on behalf of each group (available below). First, second, and third place winning ensembles receive $500, $300, and $200 respectively. Groups are encouraged to compete with Baroque repertoire, any classical music is welcome. Ensembles receive written feedback from a panel of esteemed judges.

Entering the Competition
Please download our Invite letter and PDF form to enter.
Competition Announcement Invitation PDF
Competition Entry Form PDF

Annual Timeline:
(Please check for specific dates on the current Competition Announcement Invitation and Competition Entry Form or contact us).

    • Early December: Competition notices are sent to teachers on our mailing list. Contact us to be included on our notification list for upcoming competitions. Note: Competition Entry Forms may be obtained at the link above, or by contacting us.
    • Early to mid February: Deadline for receipt of competition entry forms.
    • Mid to late February: Performance schedule appointed.
    • February-March: Awards Ceremony at Santa Cruz Baroque Festival’s Concert II or III. Please check the current entry form for details. By entering the competition all applicants affirm their availability to participate in the auditions in February, and, in the case that their ensemble receives first prize, to perform at the awards ceremony. Complimentary tickets to attend the concert and awards ceremony will be available to all competitors (2 guests per student) and their coaches (2 per ensemble).

Competition Q & A:

Who is eligible to participate?
The Santa Cruz Baroque Festival challenges and encourages high school age artists that will become the next generation of professional concert artists. All applicants must be in high school or of high school age, meaning 18 or younger if not actually currently in high school. Students not yet in high school are also welcome to enter.

Does the repertoire have to be Baroque or early music?
No. While we encourage students to explore this repertoire, the competition is judged solely on musical merits. Ideally your selection should exhibit the best of your group’s playing as an ensemble!

Are there any specific requirements for playing multiple movements in varied tempi, styles, etc?
The performance limit is 10 minutes. Most groups prepare one selection or movement. We simply encourage groups to present 10 minutes of their best repertoire.

What counts as a chamber group?
At least 2 musicians, and up to 8 are accommodated on our entry form. Please contact us to compete with more than 8.

Are singers admitted to the competition?
Singers are welcome to enter the competition as part of a chamber ensemble.

May a student participate in the competition as part of more than one ensemble?
Yes! Individual students may participate in up to two different ensembles in a given competition year.

Is there a fee for participating?
There is no fee for participating. However donations are always appreciated!

How can a student find a chamber group to play in?
Ask your music teachers for possible match ups with other students. The Music Teachers’ Association of California is a great resource. Forming a chamber ensemble requires a little bit of extra commitment, but it is all the more rewarding.

What level of musicianship is expected?
Most competing students play at an advanced level. However, the objective of the competition is to encourage music students to pursue chamber music. We invite your participation, even if your group is not certain about winning!