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 have a residence in one of the following Michigan counties: Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kalamazoo, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Ottawa, and Van Buren.
    • May be attending college or university outside of these counties if the primary residence is in one of these counties.
    • OR: May be attending college at any public or private college or university based in one of these counties.
  • May win this competition only once.
  • Must submit a $20 application fee.
  • Note: There is no requirement for music club affiliation.


  • 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 audition piece will be the piece performed if the contestant wins.
  • The piece’s total playing time must be at least 8 minutes and not more than 16 minutes long.
  • The work must be performed from memory at the audition.


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

Audition Process


  • 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 Piano Competition at 616-682-5725 or email the competition coordinator at competitions@grys.org.