Concerto competitions for age 23 (24 in Jan 2019) in the San Francisco Bay Area

November 8, 2018, 5:10 PM · I'm a student at Stanford University, and my teacher has suggested to me to apply to some local concerto competitions. (I was a winner of the university concerto competition last year, and will probably not enter it again this year, though I'm undecided.) I'm currently 23 and am turning 24 in January, so I'm at the upper age bracket for youth concerto competitions. A lot of the local ones round here seem to go up to 18 or 22, but I haven't found any that have an age 25 (or greater) limit. Does anybody have any suggestions?

Replies (8)

November 9, 2018, 7:20 PM · Hi Aditya, nice performance of the Chausson!
What's your goal for competitions? Is it to advance a professional career or simply perform? There are a bunch of community orchestras around here that have limited resources to pay soloists–-Redwood Symphony comes to mind–-and you might be able to swing a gig with one of those. I personally think the quality of the Stanford orchestra (and the hall in which they play) is pretty close to the top of what you'd experience in the area, however.
November 9, 2018, 9:36 PM · Thanks for your kind words, Katie! I'm looking to go into academia (focusing on music perception and cognition), but I'm also interested in keeping my playing up to the highest level I possibly can. Having a big concerto performance as a goal would be a useful aim for me at present, and it could be in the context of a competition or something organised directly with a community orchestra.
November 9, 2018, 11:49 PM · Nice Mozart 5 :)
November 10, 2018, 12:04 AM · I liked your YouTube channel too. :-)
November 10, 2018, 7:24 AM · Hi Aditya - once you've aged out of competitions, your best bet is to reach out to local community orchestras. Or you can organize a a group yourself if you are plugged into the student or amateur scene. I've seen this done many times. People in conservatories will do this for their graduation recitals, and most composers have to do this or else their pieces will never get read.
November 10, 2018, 2:41 PM · Ah, you have happened upon the severe ageism of the classsical music industry. Congratulations!
November 12, 2018, 7:30 PM · Thanks all for your kind words and suggestions! I will see if I can reach out to some regional community/amateur orchestras. Beyond Redwood Symphony and South Bay Philharmonic, are there any other groups that I could reach out to? I have a few different concertos requiring different sized forces ready to perform, so am open to string orchestras, chamber orchestras and full symphony orchestras.
November 12, 2018, 10:03 PM · I know that Redwood Symphony (where I played when I lived in the Bay Area, and with whom I performed a concerto) has a concerto competition for its members. They otherwise chooses local performers who can draw an audience, or they bring in lesser-known or young professional soloists (Stephen Waarts, for instance). And in general they prefer less commonly-played concertos, especially 20th or 21st century works.

There's something on the order of five dozen community ensembles in the Bay Area. I believe there's a list online somewhere.

You should probably have a clear sales pitch in mind as to why an orchestra should choose you over featuring one of their members or a local professional.


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