Competition

For over a century, the Pacific Musical Society & Foundation has nurtured the growth of gifted musicians by awarding merit-based scholarships to promising students in the Bay Area and surrounding regions. Each year we hold a competition for instrumentalists, pianists, vocalists, chamber groups, and composers in various age categories. For most categories, the competition requires entrants demonstrate significant musical skill and versatility by performing a variety of selections in styles from baroque to modern. Finalists are selected and perform for our competition judges and the public in an exciting live finals. Winners receive scholarship awards to support their ongoing musical education.

For the 2020 competition, we have made significant changes to the competition format to provide a more visible showcase for competition finalists and winners and to help make time constraints more manageable for busy students. See the list of 2020 Finalists, and make plans to hear them perform on March 8th at Herbst Theatre in San Francisco at the Live Finals and Winners Showcase.

For a taste of the talent on display by our competition finalists, see highlights of the performances from the 2019 Competition Finals below: 

 

2020 Competition Finalists

2019 Competition Winners

2018 Competition Winners

Photos and Videos from our 2017 Winners Concert

Sample List of Past Winners (2009-2017)

Announcements

Important Update on Competition Finals due to COVID-19: On Friday March 6th we learned that due to COVID-19 the San Francisco Office of the Mayor has directed the Herbst Theater to cancel all events through March 20 (see the Mayor's press release here). Hence our 2020 Competition Live Finals will not be held on Sunday, March 8 as planned. Please stay tuned for updates as we evaluate our options for how to proceed. For those of you who have purchased tickets, we expect that City Box Office will be contacting you directly regarding refunds.

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Preliminary judging has been completed for our 2020 Annual Competition! Thank you to all our entrants -- we were very impressed by the amount of talent in the applications we received. The list of Finalists and the schedule for the Live Finals are posted here. Finalists will also receive an email with details on next steps.

The combined Live Finals and Winners Showcase will be held on March 8, 2020, from 10am to 7pm. This year, for the first time we have combined the Finals and Winners Showcase into a unified event in the main hall at Herbst Theatre in San Francisco, giving our talented finalists the magnificent venue they deserve to showcase their musical talents. We’ve updated the format so the finalists will perform complete works. And we have an impressive panel of judges, including Ruth Slenczynska, Arkady Serper, Sheri Greenawald, César Ulloa, Zakarias Grafilo, and Jassen Todorov.

This is a public performance event, and tickets are available now at the City Box Office. The Instrumental Finals will run from 10am - 1pm, the Piano Finals from 2pm - 5pm, and the Vocal finals from 5:15pm - 6:45pm. A detailed schedule is available on the Finalists page.

Please Note: Competition Changes for 2020

For the last year we have been working hard to evolve the competition format in order to help make time constraints more manageable for busy students and to provide a more visible showcase for competition finalists and winners. Thus we are excited to announce several changes for this year:

  • The Competition Finals and Winners’ Concert will be merged into a combined Live Finals and Winners Showcase. This will be a public performance event, held in the main hall at the Herbst Theater in San Francisco.
  • Competition finalists will perform in front of a live audience (as well as the judging panel), and winners will be announced at the end of each category.
  • This year’s finalists will be required to perform one submitted piece in its entirety for the judges, in addition to selections from others.
  • All Finalists will receive professionally-recorded videos of their performances.
  • More details can be found in the Competition Information Pack