Duke Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition
"There is no top. There are always further heights to reach." -Jascha Heifetz

Duke Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition Guidelines


The DSO Concerto Competition provides an opportunity for students to audition for and be selected to perform a concerted work with the Duke Symphony Orchestra as part of the educational experience of all involved.

A general outline of events connected with the annual Concerto Competition is included below. A copy of the guidelines, including eligibility, repertoire, and procedural requirements, will be posted on Professor Davidson's information board (outside of 077 Biddle) and is also available from applied music faculty and the Music Department Office. For questions regarding this schedule or any matter concerning the Concerto Competition, please contact Professor Davidson at (919) 660-3324 or via e-mail.


The competition is open to any Duke University student (including undergraduate, graduate, music major, and non-music major students). A student who has been selected to perform is ineligible to audition the following year.


Repertoire should consist of a single-movement work, a movement or combination of movements, or 1 or 2 arias from the standard literature. The same movement(s) or excerpts must be performed at both the competition and the concert(s). The maximum performance length will be 20 minutes.


The orchestra Music Director will announce the date of the competition approximately 2 months in advance. Students must apply and have their repertoire approved by the Music Director by at least 1 month after the initial audition announcement and 2 weeks prior to the competition. If requested, the student must provide a full orchestral score to the Music Director in advance of this date. Applications are available from applied music teachers, the Music Director, or from the Music Department Office.

One week prior to the competition, the Music Director will announce the competition schedule, including an assigned time for each auditionee. Any changes to the published schedule must be approved by the Music Director and are generally discouraged.

An accompanist is required for each auditionee, and it will be the responsibility of each auditionee to secure one.

Auditionees must perform from memory during the competition, and at the concert(s) if selected. Any exemption from this rule will be decided solely by the Music Director. The only reasons for such exemptions will be due to difficulty of contemporary literature or instrumental performance practice.


The jury for the competition shall consist of a minimum of two or as many as three music department faculty members with the Music director serving as facilitator and advisor. Each auditionee will provide at least 3 copies of the score of the concerto for the jury. The jury is charged with selecting the performance(s) of the highest caliber. Written comments from each jury member are required. The evaluation system used by the jury will be at its own collective discretion.

In conjunction with the Duke Symphony Orchestra's programming for the academic year, the jury will select a student or students to perform with the Orchestra on one or two of its regularly scheduled concerts during the spring semester. However, the jury should limit itself to a total of one or two 20-minute pieces of music respectively. The Music Director will advise jury members in this regard. Honorable mentions and/or runners-up may also be awarded at the jury's discretion.