The Crain-Maling Foundation CSO Young Artists Competition is a prestigious concerto competition for Illinois’ top young soloists. Applicants audition live at Symphony Center for a distinguished panel of judges. Following a preliminary round, four finalists are selected to perform in the final round in Orchestra Hall, accompanied by the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. The winner is featured on the following season as soloist with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as part of CSO School and Family Concerts.
The 2022 competition instrument group is piano.
Presented jointly by the League of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association and the Negaunee Music Institute of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Applicants must be born before December 31, 2008, and may not have completed their junior year of high school by the time of the preliminary round.
All applicants must be legal residents of the state of Illinois, residing in Illinois. Students are not eligible for the competition if they are past winners or are under professional management.
All applicants are encouraged to be vaccinated against COVID-19. When entering Symphony Center for any Young Artists Competition activity, applicants and their parents or guardians will be required to show either proof of vaccination or proof of a negative PCR COVID-19 test taken within the last 72 hours. Applicants who do not adhere to these guidelines may have their audition canceled. The CSO reserves the right to update its COVID-19 health and safety policies and protocols at any time.
A non-refundable fee of $60, payable to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association, must accompany each application. See the application form for payment details.
All applications are due by December 17, 2021.
A limited amount of financial assistance is available for any family who can demonstrate that such assistance is required. This assistance can include a waiver of the registration fee or assistance with accompanist fees. To apply for financial assistance, the applicant must submit with the application a one-page letter requesting financial aid and explaining why this assistance is necessary.
- Applicants must perform one entire movement of a concerto from the repertoire list. Due to limited time, the preliminary round judges may request that the performer stop or skip sections.
- Applicants are required to perform from memory.
- All applicants must audition with and provide their own accompanist for the preliminary round. Applicants will be accompanied by the Civic Orchestra of Chicago for the final round.
- Applicants selected as finalists must be available on March 16, 17 and 18, 2022 to rehearse with the Civic Orchestra.
- Applicants must provide two copies of the solo part for the judges.
The preliminary round of the competition will take place on Saturday, January 22 and Sunday, January 23, 2022 in Buntrock Hall at Symphony Center.
The preliminary round will be held before a panel of judges and is closed to the general public. Up to four finalists may be selected at the judges’ discretion.
The final round of the competition will take place on Saturday, March 19, 2022 in Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center. All finalists will be accompanied by the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.
The finals will be open to a public audience. After the competition, there will be an awards ceremony during which the winner will be announced.
Prizes and awards
- One winning finalist will be selected to perform with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in the 2022/23 season. CSOA Administration, in conference with the designated guest conductor, reserves the right to determine the repertoire and length of the winner’s performance with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
- All finalists will receive the option to take a one-hour lesson with a musician of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
- Students who participate in the preliminary round of the competition are eligible to apply for a scholarship to be used at a summer program for the audition instrument. This funding will be awarded to one or more promising students who the audition judges feel will benefit most from the experience. Secondarily, the issue of a deserving student’s financial need may be considered. See the online application for instructions.
Applicants must audition by playing a single movement from one of the standard concertos on this list. An applicant may audition with a piece not on this list only if a request is made and approved in writing by CSO Administration prior to the December 17 application deadline. To submit a request please send an email to The Negaunee Institute.
- Beethoven: Concertos No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
- Brahms: Concertos No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15, and No. 2 in B-flat major, Op. 83
- Chopin: Concertos No. 1 in E Minor, Op. 11, and No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21
- Gershwin: Concerto in F
- Grieg: Concerto in A Minor, Op. 16
- Haydn: Concerto in D Major
- Liszt: Concerto No. 2 in A Major
- Mendelssohn: Concertos No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25 and No. 2 in D minor, Op. 40
- Mozart: Concertos No. 21 in C Major and No. 23 in A Major
- Prokofiev: Concertos No. 1, 2, and 3
- Rachmaninov: Concertos No. 1 in F sharp Minor, Op. 1, and No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18
- Saint-Saens: Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22
- Schumann: Concerto in A minor, Op. 54
- Tchaikovsky: Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor, Op. 23