Students who are currently enrolled in primary applied study with a member of the NIU School of Music faculty, including part-time music majors and non-music majors, may enter the competition. The competition is open to all levels, and there is no minimum number of credit hours required.
Selection of Music ‑ As soon as a student decides to enter the competition, he/she should complete an entry form, secure the signature of his/her private teacher, and return the completed form to the Large Ensemble Office no later than two weeks prior to the preliminary auditions. A student will not be permitted to compete unless the entry form has been completed in full. The conductor may advise choosing a different concerto, depending on the suitability of the literature for orchestra and the availability of parts.
Three scores must be provided (at the student's cost) for the judges. They may be photocopied on the condition that the copies are destroyed immediately after the auditions. If the performer is making any changes in the printed score (e.g. cuts, dynamic changes, etc.) these changes must be marked on the judges' scores.
Memorization ‑ Memorization of music for the audition and performance is left to the discretion of the auditionee and the private teacher.
Audition Time Limit ‑ A student will be given ten minutes performance time in the preliminary auditions and fifteen minutes performance time in the final auditions. If a work exceeds the prescribed time limit the judges reserve the right to stop the audition.
Accompaniments ‑ Accompaniments or second piano parts are required for the preliminary and final auditions. Exceptions may be made if a piano reduction is unavailable, but the decision is up to the Concerto Competition Committee. It is the responsibility of the student to secure an accompanist well in advance of the auditions. No faculty member may serve as an accompanist for the competition. Requests for the staff accompanist received after the posted deadline will not be considered.
Normally there will be one winner from each of these four groups: 1) Piano; 2) Strings; 3) Voice; 4) Woodwinds, Brass and Percussion. Should the jury feel that there is no qualified candidate within a given category, it may elect not to choose a winner from that category. In the case of such a vacancy, should there be more than one superior finalist in a different category, the judges may elect to name more than one winner from that category. In no case can there be more than four winners.
The jury may elect to choose Alternate Winners in ranked order to substitute for any winner who is unable to perform with the NIU Philharmonic. The jury may elect to designate one of the four winners as Premier Winner, an honor which carries the concomitant option of performing the complete work.
The jury may elect to award Honorable Mention to any contestants not chosen to perform with the NIU Philharmonic.
The Concerto Competition Committee will select the judges for the preliminary and final auditions from the School of Music faculty.
No faculty member will be asked to judge in an audition in which his/her student is a participant. There will be three judges for the preliminary auditions and three judges for the final auditions which will occur within two weeks of the preliminary auditions. The Concerto Committee will consider faculty members from all areas. No faculty member may serve for final auditions in consecutive years.
Soloists who are members of the NIU Philharmonic may be expected to play in the orchestra if needed during the semester of the Concerto Concert. Soloists who are members of the orchestra will be expected to play all pieces in the Concerto Concert following their solo appearance.
Preliminary and final auditions are normally held in late October and November each year. Each year, audition dates will be posted early in the fall term.