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Mary West Solo Competition
Rules and Regulations


Have any questions or comments for this event? Contact Faith Farr or Daniel Keeler.

Timeline, Dates, Locations

Registration deadline is October 24, 2023.

November 11, 12:00–6:00 p.m. - First & Second Rounds, Anderson Music Hall, Augsburg University

November 12, 7:00 p.m. - Winners Recital, Lloyd Ultan Recital Hall, UMN School of Music

April 21, 2024 - Grand Prize Concerto Performance with the Bloomington (MN) Symphony


Elementary/Intermediate Division: $50

Junior/Senior Division: $65


The Mary West Solo Competition is held annually each fall for students of the violin, viola, cello, bass, harp and classical guitar. Participants must be MNSOTA members or students of MNSOTA members. Participants must live or study in Minnesota. Students are eligible to win the Givens Violins Grand Prize once in their career. Students are eligible to win the Division Prizes once in each age category. Previous prize winners are always welcome to participate for consideration for the Winners Recital.

Age and Requirements

Elementary (age 11 and under)

Intermediate (age 12-14)

Junior (age 15-18)

Senior (age 19-25)

Elementary Division (age 11 and under) and Intermediate Division (age 12–14) students prepare one piece. Junior Division (age 15–18) and Senior Division (age 19–25) students prepare two pieces in contrasting styles by different composers. (Determine your student’s age as of January 1, 2024. Students whose birthday is on January 1 should compete in the younger category.)


Students are required to play all works by memory, except Classical, Romantic or Modern sonatas.


Students must prepare complete works or complete single movements; cuts are encouraged in piano tutti sections. Because the audition time may be shorter than the entire length of the piece(s), teachers should suggest appropriate cuts for the audition presentation. However, students are expected to prepare the entire piece(s), and the judges may ask for any portion outside of the cuts the teacher suggests.


Elementary and Intermediate level students are scheduled in 6-minute audition slots to play a maximum of 4 minutes of music from one piece. Junior and Senior level students are scheduled in 10-minute audition slots to play a maximum of 8 minutes of music from two contrasting pieces. There is no penalty for short pieces that take less than the maximum time. The competition timer will ensure no-one goes over the maximum time by starting timing when the audition performance begins, and stopping students at the conclusion of their 4 or 8 minute time limit. Tuning to the piano prior to a performance is not included in the playing time limits, but any transition time needed between the two pieces for Junior and Senior level students is counted, as the clock only stops at the end of the maximum allotted playing time. The remaining two minutes of each audition slot allows for passing time between students, tuning of the next student, and for judges to finalize their feedback in written comments.

When registering, make sure you have the following information:

  • personal information including email

  • teacher’s name; teacher’s email

  • complete program information for your piece(s)

  • length of piece(s)

  • whether your piece is a concerto / concert piece suitable for performing with the Bloomington Symphony

  • accompanist’s name and email

  • your brief (100 word) bio to be used in the program if you are selected for the Winners Recital

  • your credit-card payment ($65 Senior and Junior; $50 Intermediate and Elementary)



Students must provide their own accompanist. To aid the flow of the competition we request that accompanists schedule themselves for no more than 3 hours of music. Please contact your chosen accompanist early before they commit to other students.


MNSOTA recognizes that e-editions of accompaniment parts are becoming more commonplace. However, ASTA has advised MNSOTA that we should follow the copyright laws strictly. As it is awkward to confirm that an e-part is legally published, MNSOTA recommends that accompanists work from traditionally published editions. 


Accompanists will not perform at the second round. Students should ensure that their accompanist will be available to perform with them at the Winners Recital, if they are selected.

Scheduling and Second Round

Please plan on being available for the entire afternoon of the competition: 12:00–4:30 p.m. for the First Round, and 4:30–6:00 p.m. for the Second Round if you are playing a concerto/concert piece suitable for performance as a solo with the Bloomington Symphony. 

The purpose of the First Round of judging is to choose 1–3 performers from each age group to perform in the Winners Recital. The First Round will be held in several rooms early in the afternoon. Because judges must hear students in the same age group in a block, we can accommodate special scheduling requests only within that block. If you have any special scheduling requests, you must indicate that on the application form. Scheduling will be adjusted to give accompanists playing for many students a sensible schedule, especially if they need to switch rooms for different age groups. If it makes sense, younger age groups will be earlier in the afternoon, as they are less likely to be involved with the Second Round for consideration for the Givens Violins Grand Prize. 

Please bring a legally published copy (not a photocopy) of your music for the judges. If you are using a printout of downloaded music (e.g. from or an e-purchase) you should include verification that the download is legally published (e.g. a screen shot of the IMSLP window that verifies your piece is public domain in the U.S. or a verification of your e-purchase). While there is no penalty for not having music for the judge, it is a common courtesy that we encourage. 

The music you give the judges should have all your cuts clearly marked, e.g. with post-its for start/stop and paperclips to facilitate page turns. When you enter the audition room, have your music open for the judges, with the first piece on top if you are playing two pieces. 

The purpose of the Second Round of judging is to choose the Claire Givens Grand Prize winner from students in all age categories who present a concerto/concert piece suitable for performance with the Bloomington Symphony. Students selected for the Second Round will be asked to play their concerto/concert piece (without accompanist) at around 4:30–6:00 for the full panel of judges. These call-backs will be announced soon after the end of the First Round, when the judges have made a thoughtful decision. Students should be prepared to play their entire piece, or a maximum of 8 minutes of music in a 10-minute Second Round slot. If the piece is over 8 minutes, the judges have the option of requesting a specific section for you to play. 

We know that it is a long day for students involved in the Second Round. We appreciate good humor from parents and students to help make the day go smoothly for everyone. If you are playing a concerto/concert piece and are assigned an early First Round time, please plan on filling the time until the Second Round is announced. Bring a book or your homework; go to nearby restaurants.

Winners Recital

Students chosen for the Winners Recital should represent all age groups competing. Students can be invited to play on the Winners Recital even if they are not involved in the Second Round. 

Students selected for the Winners Recital and the Givens Violins Grand Prize Winner will be announced in person at the end of the Second Round of judging. In addition, all entrants will receive an email on the evening of the competition with the list of prize-winners and performers on the Winners Recital. Students in the Junior and Senior Divisions selected for the Winners Recital will be told which of their 2 pieces they should play; the Grand Prize Winner will perform their concerto at the Winners Recital. Please add competition coordinators Faith Farr and Daniel Keeler ( to your address book to ensure that you receive all competition communications. All entrants and their teachers will receive an email a few days after the competition containing their comment sheets.

Claire Givens Violins


$250 cash prize from Claire Givens Violins, Inc. and a concerto performance with the Bloomington (MN) Symphony — awarded to one over-all winner. (Rehearsals with the Bloomington Symphony will be on April 14 (evening) and April 20 (afternoon); performance April 21, 2024, 3:00 p.m.)


Division Prizes from Claire Givens Violins, Inc — three gift certificates of $75 each to be awarded to winners in different age groups


Performance Awards — performance on the Winners Recital awarded to 8-10 contestants selected from all divisions.

Event Cancellation/Refund Policy

Since events cannot be rescheduled, during normal times MNSOTA is committed to holding all events as planned and will cancel an event only in cases of a safety emergency (e.g. road conditions/weather), based on state advisories. If an event is cancelled, participant fees paid to an outside organization such as GetAccptd cannot be refunded. However, at the discretion of the board, a partial refund of participant fees paid to MNSOTA may be considered after expenses have been paid.


Augsburg University does not sponsor or endorse the activities conducted by MNSOTA on the Augsburg University campus. The relationship between MNSOTA and Augsburg University is solely that of licensor and licensee as it relates to the campus location where the activities are conducted.


The University of Minnesota is not endorsing or sponsoring the activities conducted by MNSOTA on the University of Minnesota campus. The relationship between the University of Minnesota and MNSOTA is solely that of licensor and licensee.

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