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Participating students must be in grades 7–12 and enrolled in a New York school district within 90 miles of Syracuse or home schooled in one of those districts (this includes Ithaca, Utica, Watertown, and Rochester).

Ensembles must be comprised of 3 to 8 musicians playing on standard orchestral instruments. Ensembles competing in past years have included string trios and quartets, trios and quartets that include piano, woodwind and brass quintets, woodwinds with strings, and ensembles of all the same instrument (e.g., cello or saxophone quartets).

We prefer classical repertoire that has been composed for the designated instruments—arrangements and transcriptions are discouraged. The piece or pieces performed must have contrasting sections, with one to three movements and a total duration of 5 to 15 minutes.

Each ensemble must have a coach.

Two musical scores must be presented to the judges.

All competing ensembles will receive written evaluations from our two judges, and a photograph of each group will be displayed on the SFCM website.

The judges will, at their discretion, select a single Best Ensemble. All competing ensembles are eligible for this award. If any of the students in that winning ensemble live in a school district more than 30 miles from Syracuse, then the judges may also select a Best Syracuse-Area Ensemble. (Canastota, Fulton, Auburn, and Cortland are all within the 30-mile radius.)

Each of the musicians in the Best Ensemble (and the Best Syracuse-Area Ensemble, if different) will be awarded $100, as will their coaches.

The decisions of the judges are final.

Syracuse Friends of Chamber Music, at its discretion, may invite one of the ensembles to perform its selection(s) at a Syracuse Friends of Chamber Music subscription concert. The students would play at 7:30 PM, the regular concert start time, to be followed by the featured professional ensemble.


Each group is notified about its audition time. Ensembles may request particular audition times; we will try to accommodate those requests. Email questions to  or call 315-682-7720.

Parents, teachers, and friends are encouraged to attend the competition.

When: TBA
Application Deadline

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Our concerts are made possible with support from CNY Arts, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, and Syracuse Sounds of Music.

© 2020 Syracuse Friends of Chamber Music
P.O. Box 215, DeWitt, NY 13214    315-682-7720