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 2023 Concerto Competition will be held in-person on Saturday, June 3, 2023 at the University of Dayton, Fitz Hall (1529 Brown St, Dayton, OH 45409). The preliminary round will begin around 9:00 am on June 3. Three finalists will be announced immediately following the preliminary round. Finalists must be available to perform for the final round around 12:00 noon. The final round will be open to the public and judged by Neal Gittleman, Artistic Director the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra.

Download and read the 2023 Concerto Competition Instructions.


• Contestants must be in grades 10–12 during the 2023-2024 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, please make appropriate cuts. 
  • Each contestant must provide the judges with an original copy of the composition with measure numbers marked.
  • Audition selection must be memorized.
  • Piano accompaniment is required; applicants must arrange for their own 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 2023-2024 season. Second- and third-place winners will receive $200 and $100 awards, respectively.

Steps to Submit Your Application

  1. 1. Complete the online application form.
  2. 2. 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?”
  3. 3. The application and fee must be received by May 6, 2023.
  4. 4. Contestants will be notified of their audition time around 5 days before June 3.
  5. 5. Arrive at the competition at least 15 minutes before your assigned audition time. Warm-up rooms will be available, but you may not have a chance to warm-up with your accompanist.


• Read the 2023 Concerto Competition Instructions carefully.
• If you have any other questions, please contact [email protected].