Each year the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony & Classical Orchestra hosts the Skip Gates Concerto Competition for its members. Winners are selected for both the Youth Symphony and the Classical Orchestra, and the first-place winner from each group performs with their ensemble at the spring concert.


  • Contestants must be current members of the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony or the Classical Orchestra.
  • All members are encouraged to participate!


  • The audition piece will be the concerto performed if the contestant wins.
  • The concerto must be performed on the student’s orchestral instrument, and it must have an orchestral accompaniment.
  • Total playing time for the full piece is limited to 9 minutes. Contestants may choose the movement or portion of the concerto that best highlights their strengths.

Youth Symphony members: Select one movement of a concerto of your choice.

Classical Orchestra members: Your concerto must be a baroque or classical piece (a movement from a concerto or a standalone piece) with a total playing time of no more than 9 minutes. You are encouraged to choose one of the following pieces*:


  • Vivaldi: Concerto in A Minor, movement 1, 2, or 3
  • Vivaldi: Concerto in G Minor, movement 1,2, or 3
  • Bach: Double Concerto in B Minor, movement 1 (this requires two soloists)


  • Vivaldi: Concerto in D Minor, movement 1 or 3
  • Telemann: Concerto in G Major, any movement
  • Telemann: Double Concerto in G (this requires two soloists)


  • Vivaldi: Double Concerto in G Minor, any movement (this requires two soloists)
  • Vivaldi: Sonata No. 5, any movement (Mr. Varineau will provide string orchestra accompaniment)

Bass: Check with Mr. Varineau

*Classical Orchestra members: If you want to perform something other than these recommended concertos, please check with Mr. Varineau first.

Audition Process

  • Apply online here [link to form]
  • Application deadline: January date TBA (no late applications accepted)
  • Application fee: FREE
  • Audition date: March date TBA
  • Contestants are not required to play from memory.
  • No copies are needed for the judges.
  • Auditions are closed to all listeners.
  • Written critiques will not be provided.
  • Contestants who arrive after their audition time will be disqualified.
  • A warm-up room will be provided 30 minutes before the audition time.


  1. First Place:
    • Youth Symphony members: $500 plus the opportunity to perform as the soloist with the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony at DeVos Performance Hall at the spring concert.
    • Classical Orchestra members: $300 plus the opportunity to perform as the soloist with the Classical Orchestra at DeVos Performance Hall at the spring concert.
  2. Second Place: a monetary prize plus 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.