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The 2023 competition is again being held virtually. 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. Separate movements or pieces should not be recorded separately.


The judges will not be given any information about 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 identifying information in the recording. Names and locations are entered on the Youth Competition Entry Form and can be included in any email or other communication to SFCM that accompanies the submission. 

Musical scores for all pieces must be made available to the two judges. Mail or email the scores to us, or provide us with links if the scores are posted online. See below for our addresses. Most music 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. 


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. Each coach will receive $100 as well.

The judges' decisions 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 April 1, 2023 subscription concert.


Email questions to or call 315-682-7720.

Application deadline: Applications are now closed.

Recording and score submission deadline: March 17, 2023.

Email video recording or link to: Expect to receive confirmation of receipt within a day.

Download a copy of these rules.

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