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

  • 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.

Sofia Radovic (Viola) 2021–2022 Winner

Sofia Eva Radovic, sixteen years old, began her music education with the study of violin and piano at the age of six and currently studies violin and viola under the tutelage of Desirée Ruhstrat. As a multi-instrumentalist, Sofia has devoted her life to the study of music performance, theory, and composition. Playing her first solo performance at the age of nine with the Fox Valley Philharmonic Orchestra, Sofia has continued to build an accomplished stage presence with multiple competition successes and many solo and chamber performance opportunities with several conductors and orchestras.

Currently, Sofia performs as a member of the Symphony Orchestra with Midwest Young Artists Conservatory under the direction of Allan Dennis along with performing in her competitive chamber ensemble. She is especially grateful to those who have inspired her solo and chamber performances, including her viola/violin coach Desiree Ruhstrat, orchestra director, Dr. Allen Dennis and her piano collaborator and musical coach, Sooka Wang, and Mark Liu -YSDP conductor for his musical inspiration. Sofia’s involvement with the OPUS Naperville chamber organization and Orion ensemble performances have also been instrumental in nurturing her musical growth and development over the years.

Sofia would also like to extend her sincerest gratitude to Maestro V. Kulenovic, her church community organizers/directors, and her choir director for providing her many opportunities to highlight her ethnic roots and cultural diversity with a competitive spirit.

Sofia and her two younger sisters enjoy performing ethnic Balkan folk music along with classical music at surrounding Chicago area churches, community festivals, weddings and cultural events. She also enjoys tennis, drawing, creative writing, creating theatrical music videos and spending time with her friends and family. Her support from family, teachers and mentors play a significant role in pursuing her musical gifts, for which she is truly grateful.

Contact Us

College of Visual and Performing Arts
Office of External Programs

Music Building 132

Kristin Sherman

Join Our CSA Mailing List

Online Office Hours

Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
(lunch from noon – 1 p.m.)

To protect the safety of our staff, students and families, we will operate remotely until further notice. Our staff will be available at their remote offices during normal NIU business hours and can be contacted via phone or email.

Connect with us on