Each year the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony & Classical Orchestra sponsors a piano concerto competition for local young pianists. The winner receives a $300 cash prize and performs with the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony at its winter concert.


Student pianists ages 15 to 21 are invited to compete. Specifically, a contestant:

  • Must be at least age 15 but not yet age 21 by January 1 of the performance year.
  • Must be between a high school sophomore and a college sophomore, inclusively, in the current school year.
  • Must reside and attend high school (or home school) or college in one of the following Michigan counties: Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Newaygo, or Ottawa.
  • May win this competition only once.
  • Must submit a $20 application fee by check payable to GRYS or via PayPal.
  • Note: There is no requirement for music club affiliation.


  • The audition piece will be the piece performed if the contestant wins.
  • The choice of piece is up to the contestant, but it must be a work, or a movement of a work, for piano and orchestra.
  • The piece’s total playing time must be at least 8 and not more than 12 minutes in length.
  • The work must be performed from memory at the audition.


  • Contestants must be accompanied at the competition.
  • Contestants must provide their own accompanist.

Audition Process

  • Apply Online (2019 applications are not yet open)
  • Application deadline: December 1
  • Application fee: $20 (pay here)
  • Audition date: Saturday, January 11, 2020
  • Location: Kretschmer Recital Hall, Aquinas College
  • Audition times are randomly selected and are not negotiable.
  • Contestants will be notified of their audition time by mid-December.
  • Contestants who arrive after their audition time will be disqualified.
  • A warm-up room will be provided 30 minutes before the audition time.


  • Winner: $300 plus the opportunity to perform with the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony at DeVos Performance Hall at its winter concert, typically in March.
  • Alternate: $50 and the opportunity to perform if the winner is unavailable.

More Information

Call the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony office at 616-842-6566 or email the competition coordinator at competitions@grys.org.