David L. Pierson Concerto Competition

The purpose of this competition is to identify outstanding talented young musicians in the Dayton metropolitan and surrounding areas, to encourage young musicians to pursue further study, and to stimulate competition among student musicians.

The 2021 Concerto Competition will consist of a virtual preliminary round and an in-person final round. Video submissions for the first round are due on May 14, 2021 and the final is scheduled for June 5, 2021. Finalists will be notified that they are invited to the final round by May 24, 2021.

Please refer to the 2021 Concerto Competition Instructions and check below for additional details.


• Contestants must be in grades 10–12 during the 2021–2022 school year.
• Contestants must be a member of their high school’s band or orchestra (exceptions are made for piano, harp, and home-schooled students).
• First place David L. Pierson Concerto Competition winners may not enter again.
• Contestants may audition on any orchestra instruments.
• Contestants must be legal residents of the state of Ohio (exceptions are made for contestants who are members of the Dayton Philharmonic Youth Orchestras or students of Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra musicians).


  • Each contestant should select a composition for solo instrument and orchestra from the orchestral repertoire appropriate to his/her instrument.
  • The audition selection must be memorized.
  • The repertoire selection should be not less than 3 minutes or more than 8 minutes in length. Only one movement of a concerto is required and if the movement is more than 8 minutes, the winner may be required to make cuts for performance.

Final Round

  • Contestants will be notified by May 24, 2021 if they have been invited to the final round.
  • The final round will be held on Saturday, June 5, 2021 at 11:00 am in the Mathile Theatre in the Schuster Center.
  • Each finalist must provide the judge with an original copy of the composition with measure numbers marked.
  • Audition selection must be memorized.
  • Each finalists must arrange for a competent accompanist.


  • Neal Gittleman, Artistic Director of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, will judge the final round.
  • If, in the Artistic Director’s opinion, a winner should be chosen, that person will receive a $500 prize and will perform at an education concert during the 2021-2022 season. Second- and third-place winners will receive $200 and $100 awards, respectively.

Steps to Submit Your Audition

1. Film your audition using the guidelines below. Make sure you are in a quiet area and the phone/camera is close enough to see you, your instrument, and your accompanist (use of an accompanist is encouraged but not required)
• Audition selection must be memorized
• An accompanist is encouraged but not required
• Audition selection must be not less than 3 minutes or more than 8 minutes in length (make cuts if necessary).
• Your video should be in one take without edits.

2. Upload your video to YouTube and title your video using the following format. You may have your video be “unlisted” on YouTube, meaning it is not searchable and cannot be accessed without the link.
• Initials_Instrument_Composer (eg. RR_harp_Mozart)

3. Complete the submission form here: 2021 Concerto Competition Submission Form

4. Mail your application fee of $45 (checks made out to “DPAA”) to David L. Pierson Young Musicians’ Concerto Competition, Dayton Performing Arts Alliance, 126 N Main Street, Suite 210, Dayton, OH 45402. Please include the name of the applicant and “Concerto Competition” in the memo line. You may also pay your application fee online at daytonperformingarts.org/education/payments. Under “Payment For” select “Other” and type “Concerto Competition – Student Name” in the box for “What is this payment for?” The fee must be submitted or postmarked by May 14, 2021.

5. All audition videos must be submitted by May 14, 2021 at 9:00 am.

6. The judges will choose three finalists who will perform at an in-person final round on Saturday, June 5 at 11:00 am in the Mathile Theatre at the Schuster Center (1 W 2nd Street, Dayton, OH 45402).

Finalists will be notified by Monday, May 24 that they are invited to the final round. Finalists must be available to perform in-person on June 5 and must provide their own accompanist for the final round.

Video Recording Tips

  • Recording on a phone or tablet device is fine.
  • You may want to have someone else press the record button for you.
  • Make sure the phone/camera is close enough to see you, your instrument, and your accompanist.
  • Record in a neutral acoustic. Not in your closet (not enough echo) and not in your bathroom (too much echo). A living room or other open space should be ok.
  • Record when you can have quiet and no interruptions.
  • Film in a well-lit space. Make sure there is more light in front of you rather than behind you so you are not back-lit.
  • For string instruments, make sure your f-holes are directed toward the video recording device.
  • Place the video recording device on a flat surface with microphone area unobstructed.
  • Check sound levels to make sure sound is not distorted in loud passages OR inaudible in soft passages.
  • It is best to use the rear camera rather than the front facing (selfie) camera as the rear camera is typically a higher resolution.


• Download the 2021 Concerto Competition Instructions for more information about requirements.
• If you have any other questions, please contact Ruth Reveal, Director of Education, [email protected]