Young Performers Competition

2020 Official Rules & Regulations

Competition Date: Wednesday, March 4th, 2020 (late afternoon & early evening)

To apply, you may fill out this online form, or download the 2020 young performers competition application and a copy of the 2020 competition rules.


Each winner will receive a $400 scholarship to be applied to tuition or the further study of music. In addition to receiving a scholarship, the Grand Prize Winner will perform as soloist with the St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra on April 25, 2020 in Ritsche Auditorium at St. Cloud State University.

  1. The competition is open to student musicians who are enrolled in an educational institution or studying music with a professional teacher, and who have not previously been awarded the Grand Prize (performed as soloist with the SCSO).
  2. Contestants will compete in one of two divisions: School Age Division – Grades 7-12
    College Age Division – Undergraduate
  3. School Age Division students must reside in one of the following counties: Benton, Sherburne, Wright, Meeker, Kandiyohi, Pope, Stevens, Douglas, Todd, Morrison, Cass, Crow Wing, Mille Lacs, Kanabec, Isanti, or Stearns. College Age Division contestants must be enrolled in an institution located within those counties, or have a permanent address therein.
  4. Prizes will be awarded in the following categories:
    School Age Division: Piano
    School Age Division: Brass, Woodwind, String, Percussion and Vocal
    College Age Division: Piano
    College Age Division: Brass, Woodwind, String, Percussion and Vocal
  5. Eligible concerto movements must not exceed 15 minutes in length, and orchestra parts must be readily available. The Grieg Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op 16, Mvt 1 is not eligible for the 2020 competition.
  1. All applications and fees must be received by February 19, 2020. Applications must include a $25 application fee, which is non-refundable. The competition will be held in the Ruth Gant Recital Hall in the Performing Arts Center at St. Cloud State University and will be open to the public. Winner(s) will be announced the day after the competition.
  2. Each contestant will present a concerto movement that they are prepared to perform with the St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra. All movements submitted as an entry (including cadenzas) must be prepared in their entirety, although the actual competition auditions will be limited to 8 minutes. Necessary cuts should be made carefully so that the judges have the opportunity to evaluate the most important segments. If the entry represents two movements, both movements must be represented in the audition.
  3. All contestants (including pianists) must perform the audition with an accompanist, at their own expense. Two pianos will be provided at the audition site.
  4. Contestants must provide the panel of judges with 3 copies of the music score of the prepared concerto movement. Memorization is strongly recommended but not required.
  1. A panel of judges will select winners in each category to receive scholarships and perform on the Honors Concert.
  2. The Grand Prize Winner will be chosen in consultation with Artistic Director Brian Dowdy. Artistic, logistic and financial considerations of the orchestra will be taken into consideration. All decisions are final.
Honors Concert

The judges will select participants whose musicianship displays a readiness for a formal concert setting to perform in the Honors Concert. The Honors Concert will be Wednesday, March 11, 2020 at 7:30 pm in Ruth Gant Recital Hall in the Performing Arts Center at St. Cloud State University.

Grand Prize Winner

The Grand Prize winner(s), if any, must be available to perform with the St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra on April 25, 2020 at 7:30PM at Ritsche Auditorium, and will attend rehearsals as agreed upon between the winner and the conductor, Brian Dowdy.

If you have questions, need more information, or if financial concerns make the application fee a problem, please contact Lucia Magney at 320-252-7276 or

Previous Winners: 

2019 SCSO Young Performers Competition
(Sponsored by Beste & Associates)

Elaine Lo was our 2019 Grand Prize Winner! Elaine will perform as a soloist with the St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra on April 27th, 2019!

Elaine Lo, Piano

Elaine Lo is currently a junior at Sartell High School and enjoys studying chemistry and history. She has played piano for 10 years and is currently studying under Dr. Paul Wirth. In her free time she likes to read and paint, often hanging out with her friends and her sister Elizabeth. Elaine has previously attended several masterclasses and the Young Artists World Piano Festival. She looks forward to college and plans to major in biology.

The following students were also awarded scholarships as part of the St. Cloud Symphony Young Performers Competition, 2019!

Anthony Berndt, Piano

Anthony Berndt is a freshman at Sartell High School. He has played the piano since the age of four and has had two inspirational teachers to guide him in his studies. He studied with Joyce Wood for seven years and is currently studying with Jeannine Barrett. He enjoys cross-country running, Nordic skiing, and jumping events in track on the Sartell High School teams. Anthony also enjoys backpacking and being outdoors. Anthony hopes to continue piano lessons throughout high school and college. 

Yash Hindka, Piano

Yash Hindka is a senior at Sartell High School. Yash began playing piano in 2009 with Mrs. Kara Mather and has continued his studies Dr. Paul Wirth. He was awarded scholarships in the St. Cloud Symphony Young Performers Competition in 2015 and 2017. He has also been selected to perform with the Heartland Symphony Orchestra in January 2019. Yash enjoys captaining his school’s varsity tennis and Knowledge Bowl Teams. In the future, he looks to nurture his interest in math and science by attending an engineering college.

Kate Landsteiner, Piano

Kate Landsteiner is 15 years old and a freshman at Paynesville Area High School. Her parents are Lee and Denise Landsteiner. Kate started taking piano lessons at age seven and has been studying under Jeanine Barrett for the past five years. She has participated in the Junior Young Artist and MMTA piano contest. This is her second year performing at the St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra Honors Recital. She performs with the Paynesville Symphonic Band as well as the High School Jazz Band.

2018 Winners:

John Byun, violin
​Kate Landsteiner, piano
TianYi Zhang, trombone
​Grand Prize – Stephen Kuebelbeck, piano

The goal of the St. Cloud Symphony’s Young Performers Competition is to provide talented young musicians in central Minnesota with an opportunity to compete for scholarship awards, receive written feedback from a panel of distinguished judges, and perform for family and friends on the Honors Concert. The Grand Prize winner will perform as soloist with the St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra.