Youth Chamber Music Competition

Every year, we attract talented young musicians around the region to compete in our Youth Chamber Music Competition. If you know a classical musician under the age of 18, or a music teacher, please let them know about the opportunity to enter our 18th YCMC!

Important dates:

  • Submissions open: January 1, 2021
  • Submissions deadline: March 20, 2021
  • Awards Ceremony: 7:30pm Saturday May 15, at the Emerging Artists Showcase

Benefits: Monetary awards of $500, $300, and $200 will be awarded to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place ensembles respectively, to be divided equally among ensemble members. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place ensembles, and honorable mentions at our discretion will perform, or their audition videos will be broadcast the Emerging Artists Showcase. Additionally, ensembles performing Baroque-era music may be invited to perform in concert IV or V of our regular festival season.

Submission Guidelines:

  • Fill out the entry form:
  • Make a video of your audition performance:  Time limit: 10 minutes. Videos must be recorded between January 1st and March 20th, 2021. They must be unedited, with all members of the ensemble clearly visible for the entire length of the video. The camera must remain motionless and stable for the entire performance. You are responsible for maintaining a safe performance and rehearsal environment: perform with adequate distance, in a well ventilated space, masked if your instrument permits.
  • Include the score with your submission: Judges need a copy of the score in order to judge the quality of performance. Make sure to include a pdf of the score with your audition submission.
  • Send your entry to: For large files, we recommend sending the using
  • Repertoire: All music for which there is a written score is acceptable without bias in terms of scoring. However, only Baroque music will be considered for inclusion in concerts IV or V of our regular season.
  • Eligibility: The competition is open to musicians 18 years old or younger on the submission deadline residing in Santa Cruz, Monterey, Santa Clara, or San Benito counties.

By entering the competition, ensemble members affirm their ability to attend the Emerging Artists Showcase, May 15, 2021, should it be held in person. Admission will be free for family members and the public. If it cannot be held in person due to the pandemic, we require that competitors view from home via an internet connection.

For additional information about our organization you may email, or call (831) 457-9693.

Thank you for sharing this opportunity with your talented young musicians and their parents. Please feel free to forward this notice to other interested teachers.

Competition Q & A:

Who is eligible to participate?
The Santa Cruz Baroque Festival challenges and encourages youth musicians that will become the next generation of professional concert artists. All applicants must be 18 years old or younger, and reside in Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, Monterey, or San Benito counties.

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. Any music that has a written score is eligible.

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?
A chamber group should have between two and eight musicians performing together.

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!