Piano Concerto Competition

Piano Concerto Competition

Date: November 21-22, 2020. (9:00a – 4:00p)

Winner’s Concert: TBA

Venue: Nevada School of the Arts, 401 S. Fourth Street, Suite 125, Las Vegas, NV, 89101


Age groups:

  • Level 1: 11 and under
  • Level 2: 12 – 14
  • Level 3: 15 – 18

Contestants will be graded on the following criteria, using a rating scale of 1-10:

  • Musicality and artistry: Students who score well will not only play their selected pieces cleanly, but will demonstrate an appropriate understanding of aspects of performance including artistic and stylistic interpretation. Judges will look for attention to details of musicality such as phrasing, dynamics, touch, and shaping, and who can elevate their performance from merely playing the written notes, to giving a dynamic and engaging performance.
  • Technical mastery: Students who score well will demonstrate that they can meet the technical requirements of their selected pieces. They should be able to comfortably navigate the technical challenges of the literature. Their performance should be free of major note or fingering errors. Students should look to utilize an appropriate tempo and, when required, clean pedaling.
  • Adherence to the score: Students who score well will demonstrate a nuanced understanding of the composers’ intent in the pieces they perform. Their performances should reflect instructions given by the composer in the score including (but not limited to) tempo, style, pedaling, dynamic markings, etc., as well as customs of the period in which their selected piece was written.
  • Stage presence: Students should demonstrate a high level of professionalism throughout their audition. Students should keep in mind that if they win the concerto competition, they will be expected to perform in front of their peers, guests, and with an orchestra. This includes wearing appropriate performance attire.
  • Memory: Students are expected to perform their selected pieces without referring to the score. The judges may, in the case of a memory slip, choose to prompt a student at their discretion; however, such instances will detract from the student’s overall score.

Additional Regulations:

  • Age requirements apply to applicant’s age as of Novemeber 22, 2020. Applicants must reside in the State of Nevada and will be required to provide proof of age (any government issued photo ID, i.e. birth certificate, passport)
  • Application fees (made out to Nevada School of the Arts):
    • Level 1: $50
    • Level 2: $75
    • Level 3: $100
  • Students, teachers, parents, and audience members should not approach the judges for any reason during the competition.
  • Assigned performance slots are final. If a competitor misses their turn, they will have forfeited their chance to participate (no refunds will be offered).
  • Judges will be announced on the NSA website at least one month prior to the competition. If a change is made, this will be announced by NSA prior to the competition.
  • Close relatives or students who study or have studied with any of the announced judges are not eligible to compete. A refund will be issued to these students.
  • Competitors are responsible for their own expenses to participate in the competition, including the cost of their travel.
  • Contestants should wear their best performance attire.
  • Qualifying competitors must perform live (or online TBA) in order to be considered.
  • Judges reserve the right to cut off a performance at their discretion.
  • Evaluations for each round of the competition made by the jury committees are final. Participants and their families and teachers are not allowed to communicate with the judges.
  • NSA reserves the rights to photograph, record, or video the auditions of contestants and winners and to use these documents for marketing and promotional purposes. No extra fee will be paid to the contestants.
  • Each winner is solely responsible for reporting and paying any and all applicable taxes related to the prize(s) and paying any expenses associated with any prizes, which are not specifically provided for in the official rules. Each winner must provide NSA with valid identification and a valid taxpayer identification number (if applicable) before any prize will be awarded. Any person winning over $600 in prizes from NSA will receive an IRS form 1099 at the end of the calendar year and a copy of such form will be filed with the IRS.
  • NSA reserves the right to the interpretation of the Terms and Conditions of the Regulations.


Candidates registered for Level 3 must include in their entire musical program works from three out of five of the following periods: baroque, classical, romantic, modern and contemporary. The etude is considered as representative of a period. The musical program of the first round must include contrasting works and movements so that the candidate’s musicality can be heard in various tempi (slow and fast).


Level 1: 7 min 

  1. One Baroque or Classical Piece
  2. One Romantic or Modern Piece

Level 2: 10 min

  1. J.S. Bach: One Sinfonia or one Duetto or one Prelude and Fugue (from WTC)
  2. One movement of a sonata by C.P.E. Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven or of the sonatinas Op. 59 by Kuhlau

Level 3: 15 min

  1. One Etude (chosen from the list of etudes)
  2. Baroque: (chosen from one of the three below)
    • One sonata by Scarlatti or Soler
    • A complete work
    • A minimum of two contrasting movements of a work by J.S. Bach or Handel (for a suite or a partita, a minimum of three contrasting movements is required).
  3. Classical: One movement of a sonata from the classical period or one work from the classical period (in one movement).

List of Etudes for Level 3

Coulthard All
Moszkowski All
C. Pascal All
Chopin All
Debussy All
Liszt All
Martinu All
Mendelssohn All
Morel All
Papineau-Couture Etude in B flat minor
Pierné Etude de concert Op. 13
Prokofiev Op. 2, No. 4
Rachmaninoff All
Saint-Saëns All
Scriabin All
Stravinsky All
Szymanowski Op. 4


Contestants must choose from the concerto list below:

  • Beethoven: Piano Concertos 1, 2, or 3
  • Mozart: Piano Concertos K. 271, 453, 488, 503, 414
  • Haydn: Piano Concerto in D Major, No. 11
  • Mendelssohn: Piano Concertos 1, 2


Level 1: $50
Level 2: $75
Level 3: $250

Each prize winner will have the opportunity to perform a concerto movement with the NSA Chamber Orchestra, if awarded by the judges.


Competition rounds will be held on the campus of Nevada School of the Arts, 401 S. 4th Street, Suite 125, Las Vegas, NV, 89101. The Awards Concert will be with the NSA Chamber Orchestra in a regularly programmed concert open to the public.