Walgreens National Concerto Competition

Midwest Young Artists Conservatory is hosting the 20th annual Walgreens National Concerto Competition, held at the MYAC Center at Fort Sheridan and Bennett-Gordon Hall at Ravinia on December 28 and 29, 2016.

The philosophy of the Walgreens Concerto Competition is to provide young musicians with a positive learning experience in a nurturing and supportive environment. Professional judges of the highest caliber listen to students to provide positive feedback about what the student is performing well and areas in which the student musician can improve. This feedback is given in written form, carefully submitted to be a complete document for use by the student after the competition. Students receive a video of their performance in addition to their juried comments.

The experience is such a positive one that more and more young musicians from the age of 11 through high school enter from all over the globe, and many return year after year. It is a family experience for most entrants. While there are musicians crowned as winners of various divisions each year, the focus of the competition is for each musician who enters to have a positive participant experience where they learn something that will allow them to expand their musical knowledge and help them further develop.

Prizes for this solo competition include an opportunity to perform with the MYAC Symphony Orchestra and on the prestigious From the Top radio program. Walgreens Corporation’s annual sponsorship enabled MYAC to provide students with distinguished judges, a digital recording of their performance, written performance evaluations, and an inviting and nurturing environment in which to participate. The Overall Winners will perform at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall at Northwestern University on February 19, 2017. The other category winners, at the discretion of the director, will be invited to perform at Bennett Gordon Hall at Ravinia on Sunday, February 5, 2017.

Registration is now closed for the 2016 Walgreens Concerto Competition. Please check back for next year's 2017 dates and registration.


There are two Divisions in the contest: MYAC Orchestra Division (MYA Division) and Open Division. Students in the MYAC Division must be an active participant in the MYAC Orchestra Program. All other entrants will participate in the Open Division (including students in MYAC Chamber Music, Choral and Jazz Programs).

There are two Levels in each Division:

  1. Junior: for students in 8th grade and younger
  2. Senior: for students in 9th through 12th grades

The competition is open to all instruments. Each Level is further divided into Categories:

  • String
  • Piano
  • Voice
  • Winds & Percussion
  • Early Music (Please note: Students are automatically entered in the Early Music category - in addition to the relevant instrument category - if the piece they are performing was written before 1800. Strings, harpsichord, recorders, gamba winds and brass are encouraged to participate in this category.)


Students must perform a movement from a concerto or work with orchestral accompaniment. Vocalists should perform an opera aria or similar work for voice and orchestra. Selections must be performed from memory with piano accompaniment. Students will have 10 minutes to perform and will be timed. Appropriate accompaniment cuts are recommended. Please note: It is at the judges' discretion to ask for specific sections of a movement being performed. Please have movements prepared in their entirety. Students must provide the judges with one “clean” copy of their selected music and it must be an original, not a photocopy.

For those entering the Early Music Category only, it is recommended that contestants choose any piece written prior to 1800, to be performed from memory. We do not list suggested literature for all other categories.

Early Music Category Repertoire

Harpsichord, recorders, gamba, winds, and bass are encouraged to participate in this category. If you have questions about repertoire, please contact the MYAC office. Students are automatically entered into the Early Music Category if the piece they are performing was written before 1800.


Scheduling for the Walgreens Concerto Competition will take place immediately after the December 1 deadline. The schedule is determined by age division and by accompanist to ensure that all students have an equal opportunity to prepare for their performance. Unfortunately, this means we cannot guarantee a specific audition time for any student. Generally, the Junior Division (grades 8 and under) auditions occur on December 28 and the Senior Division (grades 9-12) auditions occur on December 29; however, this depends on the number of applications we receive from each division. A higher volume of applicants in one division may result in some auditions occuring on the alternate day. We will notify all participants of their audition time once the schedule has been completed.


Open Division
MYAC Center at Fort Sheridan
878 Lyster Road, Highwood, IL 60040
phone: (847) 926-9898

MYAC Division
Bennett-Gordon Hall at Ravinia
Highland Park, IL


All participants must perform with an accompanist. Students must provide their own accompanist. Your accompanist’s name and contact information must be provided on your application. To search for a local accompanist, visit www.privatemusicteaching.org.

Application & Entry Fee

The competition entry fee is $55 for the Open Division and $35 for MYAC students (MYAC students who are not a part of an MYAC Orchestra pay $35 and are entered into the Open Division).

If you are planning to perform two movements from the same piece, and they can be performed in under 10 minutes, you can perform that on one entry. If you want to perform two movements of the same piece and the performance of those movements would take longer than 10 minutes, you must enter them separately on two separate entries. If you want to perform two movements from two separate pieces, no matter how long each movement is in length, you must enter them separately on two separate entries.

Please note: All applications must be submitted on-line; fees are non-refundable and must be paid on-line or by check, postmarked by December 1st.

Walgreens National Concerto Competition Application

Sign Up

Complete Entry Fee Payment

After submitting the application, you can pay your fee below ($35 for MYAC members, $55 for all other entries).

Contestant Name:
Application Form Receipt Number:

Awards and Prizes

Open Division
One Overall winner will be selected from either the Junior or Senior Level

MYAC Division
One Overall winner will be selected from the Senior Level
One Overall winner will be selected from the Junior Level

Overall Winners

  • Overall winners from the 2016 competition will perform with orchestra on February 19, 2017 at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall in Evanston, IL.
  • The Overall winners will receive a Cash Award of $1000 plus a MYAC Tuition Scholarship (valued at $750) to be used towards 2017 Summer Music Festival programs or 2017-2018 academic year large ensemble tuition.
  • The Overall Senior MYAC Division winner will have the opportunity to perform on the prestigious From the Top radio program. (Please note: this only applies to students who have not performed as a soloist on prior shows.)
  • Merit Scholarships of up to $24,000 will be available.

Category Winners

  • Category winners will receive a MYAC Tuition Scholarship (valued at $355-$375) to be used toward 2017-2018 academic year large ensemble tuition or 2017 Summer Music Festival programs.
  • Category winners will be chosen, at the discretion of the director, to perform at a Winners Recital at Bennett-Gordon Hall on the Ravinia Campus in Highland Park on February 5, 2017, at 2:30 pm.
  • Winning soloists may also be selected for performance opportunities with Midwest professional and community orchestras.

Hotel Reservations

Out-of-town participants are encouraged to use the MYAC rate at the Hyatt Deerfield (1750 Lake Cook Road, Deerfield, IL) for this event. To utilize this rate, click here. You may also call the reservation hotline at 888.421.1442.

All additional questions about the Walgreens National Concerto Competition can be directed to Victor Ribadeneyra at victor@mya.org or 847-926-9898, ext 301.

Notes from contestant's mom:
I wanted to take a moment to write you to thank you for all the work you and the MYA organization put in to the Walgreens National Concerto Competition. This was the second time that our daughter has entered the competition and both times we have been very impressed with the MYA organization as a whole and the very well-run competition. In addition to the over-all organization of the event, we have always found your team of volunteers who are on-site during the competition to be helpful and friendly. That makes the experience so much better for these young people.

It is also enormously beneficial for the competitors to receive the judges comment sheets as well as a video of their competition performance. We certainly have appreciated that feedback.

Congratulations and thank you, once again, to you and your staff and volunteers for hosting such a well-run competition.

Where are they now?

Jeremy Black

Mandy Dennis

Alisa Jordheim

Tylee Lin

Ben Solomonow

Michael Soule

Rachel Stenzel

Krista Stewart

Natalia Szadkowski

Marta Vieira

Molly Yeh