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Student Competition

The 2022-2023 Thomas Schwab Memorial Student Concerto Competition

This is a biennial competition; the next competition is planned for the 2024-2025 concert season.

Open to students in grades 9 through 12 who live in Hamden, Hampshire, Franklin, or Berkshire counties in western Massachusetts.

Holyoke Civic Symphony, a nonprofit group, has been providing quality orchestral music to the Pioneer Valley for more than 50 years. Its members include both amateur and professional musicians. The HCS Orchestra and Music Director David Kidwell are committed to the development of young musicians. The winner receives a $200 award and is invited to perform with the Holyoke Civic Symphony.

Repertoire Guidelines

Selection of a piece for the competition is an important and difficult decision. Please go over these guidelines carefully with your private teacher and feel free to contact David Kidwell, HCS Music Director or call our business manager Emily Lewis at (413) 256-1760 if you have questions.

  • The students must supply their own accompanist. Piano applicants must also supply an accompanist (two pianos will be available).
  • The orchestral accompaniment must be scored for a reasonable-sized orchestra. Please be aware that pieces which are overly difficult or call for an extremely large orchestra are not practical for the Holyoke Civic Symphony. If in doubt, please contact the HCS music director.
  • Many concertos require a great deal of artistic maturity to perform well. Please carefully consider pieces with your teacher.
  • In past seasons, the orchestra has performed the following works for soloist and orchestra: piano concertos by Grieg, Mozart (23rd) Prokofiev (3rd), Rachmaninoff (2nd), Schumann, and Tchaikovsky (1st), as well as Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Concerto in F; violin concertos by Bach (A minor and D minor), Beethoven, Bruch (1st), as well as the Vaughan Williams Lark Ascending, and Lalo Symphonie Espagnol; the Dvorak and Elgar Cello Concertos and the Bruch Kol Nidrei and Faure Elegy; the Chaminade Concertino for flute and the Mozart Flute Concerto No. 1; the Hummel Trumpet Concerto; the Mozart Bassoon Concerto; Barber’s Knoxville and Berlioz’ Le Nuits for voice; Milhaud’s Scaramouche for saxophone, and the Vivaldi Oboe Concerto F. VII No. 1.


  • Applicants must bring a prepared piece for solo instrument or voice with orchestral accompaniment.
  • If a multi-movement work is selected, please choose a single movement to play at the audition. The applicant will be expected to perform the entire work for the concert.
  • All auditioners must be accompanied by their own accompanist.