[This was also posted on the Pianist Corner thread]

The February 1 deadline is approaching for amateur pianists wishing to participate in the Chicago Amateur Piano Competition, which will take place from May 23 to May 27, 2012.

Applications and the requirements of the competition can be found on the competition website,


This year the competition will have two tracks: one for those interested in performing solo piano literature, and one for those interested in performing piano concerto literature. Theoretically, an applicant can perform in both tracks, but most competitors will want to concentrate in just one track.

The preliminaries, semi-finals, and finals for the solo competition will take place in Chicago's famous Ganz Hall, designed by the architect Louis Sullivan. All of these performances will be streamed live through audio and video on the competition's website.

The concerto competition will take place in two stages. The preliminary round will include up to 20 competitors, who will perform their selection with piano accompaniment for the orchestral part. The competition will provide professional accompanists. The jury will select six finalists, who will perform on the last day of the competition with orchestral accompaniment in Orchestra Hall, the home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the stage where most professional concert pianists perform when in Chicago. It will not be possible to live stream the concerto performances.

As the orchestra cannot prepare for all possible concerto selections, four concerto standards in the repertoire have been chosen, and competitors are asked to chose one from this list:

*Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto, first movement
*Beethoven's Third Piano Concerto, first movement
*Schumann's Piano Concerto in A minor, first movement
*Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, complete

The actor David Hyde Pierce will emcee the piano concerto finals from Orchestra Hall and will present the awards for both the solo and the concerto competition. Mr. Pierce is an accomplished classical pianist, having studied piano at Yale University before shifting to an acting career.

The competition is scheduled to coincide with a keyboard festival organized by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, so there will be many other events during the week that will be of interest to pianists. There is a fee for attending the finals, but the other events at the competition are free. Many competitors bring their family and make it a vacation as well, since Chicago offers a wealth of tourist attractions.

The competition is also an excellent way to meet fellow members of the PianoWorld Forum. Many of the competitors at the first competition were active participants on the Forum, and it was a good opportunity to associate a name with a face.

The competition is sponsored by Chicago's PianoForte Foundation. This is a wonderful event for anyone who loves the piano and the classical piano repertoire, whether you are competing or not. Quite a number of applications have already been received, but there is room still for competitors in both tracks. To our knowledge, this is the only competition in North America that has a concerto element. If you have always had a dream of playing a concerto with a full orchestra, even if just one movement, here is your chance. Not only that - it is a chance to play on one of the great concert stages in the U.S.

We look forward to seeing as many PianoWorld members as possible in May at the Chicago Amateur Piano Competition!