Young Musicians Festival


Revised November 2019
Replaces all previous versions; In effect until replaced by a later version



Every student must be sponsored annually by an individual teacher. Music schools may not be sponsors. The sponsoring teacher must either be a paid-up member of THE SCHUBERT CLUB of FAIRFIELD COUNTY, INC. as of the deadline for Festival applications, or submit a sponsoring teacher fee of $65 for less than 10 student applications on the Teacher Registration Form or submit a sponsoring teacher fee of $75 for 10 or more student applications on the Teacher Registration Form.

The YMF is a non-profit, volunteer enterprise that relies on the active participation of all teachers involved. Teachers entering students will be required to volunteer at least two hours of time to serve as room monitors, day chairs or assistant day chairs.


  • Entrants must be under 19 years of age as of March 1st of the Festival year.
  • Entrants may participate up to and including the senior year of high school.


The cost for a solo or concerto application is $20; for a duo/duet application, $40, and for a quartet, $50. Sponsoring teachers (non-Schubert Club members) submit an additional $65 sponsor fee with less than 10 student applications. Or sponsoring teachers (non-Schubert Club members) submit an additional $75 sponsor fee with 10 or more student applications.

  • Fees are not refundable.
  • Only one check or credit card payment will be accepted from each teacher for all students (regular or special request)
  • All checks must be postmarked no later than January 31, 2020.

Special request fees for Piano Festival only - see below.


  • Applications (and the appropriate fees) with special requests must be received not later than January 31, 2020. The Festival reserves the right to disqualify entrants for infractions of these rules.
  • One application must be completed for each soloist and one for each ensemble of two or more performers.
  • In a given year, entrants may enter only one class in any one event.
  • Please include one check or money order payable to The Schubert Club. Multiple checks from individual families will be returned.
  • No exceptions will be allowed for late registration nor will changes be made after the registration deadline.


  • Families with one student may specify a specific day upon payment of a $20 Special Request fee.
  • Families with more than one student participating may specify a specific day (or days) for the performances upon payment of a $30 Special Request fee. The special request must be made on the application. No schedule changes will be permitted after the application deadline. Teachers should encourage parents to look at scheduled and potential events for March in advance of submitting applications and to choose a date when they are available for the whole day since only the date can be requested and not the time.

Performers and their guests are expected to stay for the entire hour of their class and performance order will not be changed. Late arriving students may perform last.

Entrants in piano solo events as well as piano concerto events must perform from memory while entrants in piano ensemble events may use scores. These memorization rules do vary by festival so be sure to check the rules for the specific festival you are interested in.


Published scores of the required and choice pieces (not photocopies) must be provided for the judges. Permission must be sought from the publisher for music that is out of print, not just unavailable or temporarily out of stock. Please be sure to check online sources for copyright compliance. Just because it’s online doesn’t mean it’s legal to be downloaded!

Required pieces MUST be chosen from the current YMF Syllabus published by the Festival Committee and available from the Festival Registrar.

Entrants in all solo events must perform two pieces: one from the Syllabus of Required Pieces and one choice piece that represents a comparable level of difficulty. The choice piece should not be a required piece. (See below for Special Rules concerning the various piano events).

Entrants in the concerto event are not required to play a choice piece. Only one movement of one concerto from the Syllabus of Required Pieces should be played.

Entrants in all ensemble events must play a choice composition in addition to the required piece. The choice piece may be selected from the same collection or be composed by the same composer as the required piece. (Exception: Entrants in the Piano Quartet event are required to play only one piece from the Required Pieces Syllabus.


Teachers are asked to observe the following guidelines for time limits (combined required and choice compositions). If pieces are likely to exceed these limits (perhaps the required piece or concerto is a long one), please attach a note to the application for the Registrar.

Moderately Difficult - Difficult 8 minutes
Very Difficult - Musically Advanced 10 minutes
Concerti 15 minutes

Repeats should generally be omitted.


In unavoidable circumstances a teacher or other student may substitute for an ensemble player (with no score being awarded to that player).


Video taping will be allowed during Festival performances. Parents will be guided by the Room Monitors to set up equipment in advance of the class performances and to operate phones/cameras from the back of the room to keep disruption at a minimum. Parents may only record their own child.


Entrants who receive a 5 rating should progress to a higher class in the following year except in the following cases:

  • A new required piece at the old level works best for that student.
  • The highest level class in an event may be entered repeatedly with a different required and choice piece

Concerto entrants may stay in the same category (see Special Rules for the Piano Concerto Event below).

Note that this rule also varies by festival.


Each performance will receive a rating from the presiding judges of 5 points, 4 points, 3 points, 2 points or 1 point. A large certificate displaying the points earned will be issued to each Festival participant for each event entered. The number of consecutive “5” ratings earned will be noted on the certificates. Points will be accumulated for each Instrument-Event. When 15 points have been earned in any one category, the first Gold Cup will be awarded, pending points going toward a second cup, etc.

Points in Senior Concerto classes are awarded on a different scale: 8 points, 7 points, 5 points, 3 points, 1 point.

A Gold Cup is awarded each time 15 points are accumulated. Second, third and fourth Gold Cups are successively larger.

In ensemble events, points are awarded separately to each performer.


All points counted toward a Gold Cup must be earned in the same event, with one exception. High school seniors may aggregate points across performance events on a given instrument (i.e. Piano Solo, Piano Concerto and Piano Duet) and with composition.


Entrants are required to play one piece from the Syllabus of Required Pieces plus one choice composition.

Memory is required.

The choice composition must be an original, published composition. Simplified arrangements of the classics are not acceptable. Folk songs, hymns, transcriptions, arrangements or abridgements are not acceptable. Only complete compositions are acceptable.

At the Intermediate 1 level and above, the choice piece should be an original from the works of a non-American composer.

The choice piece should not appear in the Syllabus of Required Pieces, even if listed for a different level.

The choice piece should not be by the same composer as the required piece.

Primary 1 choice pieces must be at least 12 measures long (not including repeats). For Primary 2 and above, choice pieces must be at least 16 measures in length.

Required and choice compositions must represent a comparable level of difficulty. To assist teachers, the Festival Committee has published a Choice Piece Syllabus as a guide to relate much of the standard piano repertoire to Festival class levels. This Syllabus is available from the Festival Registrar.


Entrants must play one movement from the listed concerti in the Required Pieces Syllabus. No other work is required.

Memory is required.

Entrants must provide their own accompanists. The second piano part should be performed with the music. The accompanist should be available for the entire day of performance date.

Long passages in the accompaniment should be reduced. All cadenzas must be played in their entirety.

Entrants may play in the same concerto level for two or more years providing they play a different movement from the listed concerti.

Entrants in the Senior 2 Concerto event may play one movement from any published classical concerto not included on the Junior and Senior 1 levels and not more than fifteen minutes in length without permission from the Registrar.

There are no specific rules for determining what Concerto level an entrant should play versus the Solo level. Teachers are reminded to use good judgment in choosing levels and pieces appropriate for the student.


Every effort should be made to maintain a reasonable level between ensemble players. The solo level of the ensemble partners should be within two levels.

Memory is NOT required. Judges must be furnished a copy of the score.

Entrants must play one composition listed plus a choice composition that represents the same level of difficulty and does not appear in this Syllabus. The exception is Piano Quartet where no choice piece is required.

The choice and required compositions may be from the same collection and by the same composer.

There are no specific rules for determining what Duet, Duo or Quartet level an entrant should play versus the Solo level. Teachers are reminded to use good judgment in choosing levels and pieces appropriate for the student.


Festival Registrar:
Marjie Brake
46 Glenarden Road
Trumbull, CT 06611