Sinfonia Concerto Competition

Application deadline: Oct. 28, 2022
Competition date: Nov. 12, 2022
Registration fee: $50

Linc Smelser directs the CSA Sinfonia youth orchestra, a full orchestra that has performed varied and exciting repertoire in NIU's Boutell Memorial Concert Hall every year since 1999. The Sinfonia Concerto Competition began in 2000.

  • This competition is open to students who are 18 years of age or younger and live within 75 miles of DeKalb.
  • Competitors don't need to be members of the Sinfonia ensemble.
  • Music to be performed must be one movement of a standard solo concerto or an appropriate one-movement composition.

The winner receives a prize of $200 and performs the concerto with the orchestra at the May concert. Winners may not compete again on the same instrument.

Apply to audition today!

Rules and Regulations

  • Due to the exorbitant cost of rental music, we are unable to accept applications with works that are not available for purchase or are not in the public domain.
  • Music to be performed at the audition must be one movement of a standard solo concerto or an appropriate one-movement composition. All music is subject to approval by the music director of the CSA Sinfonia.
  • All selections must be memorized.
  • The time limit for auditions is eight minutes. This rule will be strictly enforced, and exceptions will not be allowed. If the concerto is longer than eight minutes, you may either make cuts or end the piece at an appropriate place within the time limit. If you make cuts, be sure to note them in the judges’ music.
  • Bring the music (original, not a copy) to the audition for the judges.
  • All auditions must be performed with accompaniment. Each contestant is responsible for his or her own accompanist. You may call the office for a list of pianists who might be available to provide accompaniment.
  • Once a musician has won the CSA Concerto Competition, you may not compete again on the same instrument.
  • The winner performs with the CSA Sinfonia at the Concert Hall in the NIU Music Building in DeKalb, usually at the May concert.
  • The winner will receive a prize of $200 to be presented at the concert.

We look forward to receiving your application. You will receive an assigned audition time soon after the deadline for applications. If you have any questions, contact the office at 815-753-1450.

Miriam Kessler (Harp) 2022–2023 Winner

A versatile musician, Miriam Kessler began studying music at age six. What was once a chore has now become a way of life. An accomplished harpist, pianist and composer, Miriam enjoys playing solo, orchestral and chamber music. Currently the principal harpist of Midwest Young Artists Conservatory Symphony Orchestra, she has also performed with several other area orchestras, among them Kankakee Valley Symphony Orchestra, Schaumburg Youth Symphony Orchestra and Youth Symphony of DuPage.

Miriam is especially thankful to all those who have helped her play her best and given her performance opportunities, including: her harp teacher, Erin Freund, D.M.; her orchestra director, Allan Dennis, D.M.; her composition instructor, Jonathon Kirk, D.M.; her music coach and piano collaborator, Sooka Wang; and her church music director, Jonathan Gilley. Miriam is looking forward to beginning collegiate harp studies in the fall.