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For everyone's health, the 2021 competition was not an in-person event. See below for details concerning this modified competition.



Participating students must be in grades 7–12 and enrolled in a New York school district within 90 miles of Syracuse or homeschooled 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. Some of the ensembles competing in past years have included string trios and quartets (sometimes with an added piano or wind instrument), woodwind and brass quintets, and ensembles of all the same instrument (e.g., cello or saxophone quartets). 


Each ensemble must have a coach.


We prefer classical repertoire that has been composed for the designated instruments — arrangements and transcriptions are discouraged.  The music performed must include contrasting sections/movements of a single composition or consist of contrasting pieces, with a total duration of 5 to 15 minutes.


Please contact us if you have questions about the suitability of your repertoire.


Each ensemble must provide a link to a video recording of its performance of 5 to 15 minutes of music, as indicated under the heading "Repertoire."  We ask that this be a continuous recording of a performance of the piece or pieces that the students are presenting. 


The judges will not receive information about the identity of the musicians, the coach, or the school district or location. It is important to preserve this anonymity in the video submission, so please do not include any information that would identify the coach or the ensemble's school(s) or school district(s). Also, please do not include the names of the student musicians in the video. That information will be on the Youth Competition Entry Form. Identifying information can be included in any email (or other communication) to SFCM that accompanies the submission. (SFCM will communicate with the judges without including that information.)


Students who are not able to produce their own video recording should contact us, and we will try to help them identify resources for making a suitable recording.


Musical scores for all pieces must be available for the two judges. Mail or email the scores to us, or provide us with links if the scores are posted online. See below for addresses. (Most music that is published before 1923 is available at the IMSLP website, but please ensure that the edition there matches the one the students are using, if that site is to be a source for the judges.  For later works, contact us if there are questions about how to get scores to us.)


All competing ensembles will receive written evaluations from our two judges.

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 "Syracuse-area" radius.)


Each of the musicians in the Best Ensemble (and the Best Syracuse-Area Ensemble, if selected) 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 the beginning of SFCM's final subscription concert, featuring the Dover Quartet (this virtual performance will be recorded on Sunday, April 11). 


Email questions to sfcm00@gmail.com or call 315-682-7720.


Application: Applications for the 2021 competition are now closed.


Deadline for submission of recordings: April 5, 2021

Email video recording or link to: sfcm00@gmail.com. Expect to receive a receipt confirmation within a day.

Download a copy of these rules.