The Department of Music holds a biennial Concerto Competition, which is open to all registered students at the University and to all members of the performance ensembles. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, winners of the 2020 University of Chicago Concerto Competition are being featured on the current 2021-22 concert season, and thus the competition originally planned for February 2022 is being postponed by a year. The next University of Chicago Concerto Competition will take place during the Winter Quarter 2023. Performances of the winners of that competition will be scheduled for Spring Quarter 2023.
Contestants in the UChicago Concerto Competition should audition on the piece that they would like to perform in concert, and repertoire must be suitable for performance with the University Symphony Orchestra, University Chamber Orchestra, or University Wind Ensemble, both in terms of difficulty and in terms of instrumentation. The full orchestral score and parts must also be available from some library, publisher, or other lending source, and all repertoire selections are subject to the approval of the USO, UCO, and UWE directors before an audition will be scheduled. Either complete concertos or single movements are eligible for consideration; those who wish to perform an entire concerto must audition with excerpts from at least two movements of that concerto. In general, concerto performances are limited to 25-30 minutes in length, with 15-20 minutes as both an average and an appropriate length.
Depending on the auditions during any given year, the committee of judges may select one winner or multiple winners, and performances may be scheduled for a springtime Concerto Showcase Concert or on another concert during the subsequent academic year. Recent Concerto Competition winners have performed such major repertoire as the violin concertos of Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, Khachaturian, and Beethoven; piano concertos by Brahms, Liszt, Schumann, Beethoven, and Mozart; and instrumental concertos by Ibert and Gershwin, as well as vocal arias by Donizetti and Strauss.
In preparation for the 2023 Concerto Competition, please refer the 2020 Concerto Competition Guidelines. The 2023 guidelines and audition date will be posted in advance of the 2022-23 academic year.