Music Education

Student Concerto Competition

Once each season, the Richmond Symphony League (RSL) hosts a student concerto competition to encourage and recognize talented young musicians from Virginia.  First-prize winners receive a cash award plus an invitation to perform with the Richmond Symphony.  The competition is open to Virginia students in elementary through senior high school who play piano, violin, viola, cello, string bass, guitar, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba, harp, or percussion.

2019 Winners:

First Place: Romain-Olivier Gray, cello

Second Place:  Ari Han, Piano

Honorable Mention:  Lira Masuda, violin; David Smith, cello; and Eliza Willett, violin.

Awards:  The first place winner will receive $500 and an invitation to play with the Richmond Symphony.  The second place winner will receive $250 and a performance opportunity.  The decision of the judges is final.  If, in the opinion of the judges, no contestant is qualified, any of the awards may be withheld.  First-place winners are disqualified from participation in the year immediately following their award.

Music Selection:  Competitors may pick their selection from the list of approved concertos.  Competitors must perform the selection indicated in their Application Form.  Substitutions are not allowed.


1.  The applicant must be prepared to play, in its final form, the concerto or movement(s) that he/she wishes to perform.

2.  Memorization is required.

3.  The applicant must bring his/her own accompanist to play orchestra reduction.  

4.  The applicant is required to bring two original scores of the soloist's part for the judges.  If the edition of the music is in the public domain, copies or print-outs from the internet are acceptable.

5.  Mark any cuts with sticky notes.

6.  Competition performance will not exceed ten minutes.  If playing time is longer than the time allotted, the judges will terminate the performance without disqualifying the participant.  Accompanists should take appropriate cuts in tutti sections.

7.  When choosing repertoire, please keep in mind that the conductor has the right to cut the piece to fit programming requirements (typical length is 8-10 minutes).


Applications must be submitted by Wednesday, December 7, 2019.  

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Discovery Concerts

The RSL provides 8 to 10 volunteers to assist with the annual Elizabeth G. Schneider Discovery Concerts. Held during the school day at The Carpenter Theatre, the concerts engage young minds through exciting full-orchestra performances. These morning performances by the Richmond Symphony correlate with Virginia Standards of Learning. Participating schools receive student listening guides, a teacher guide and a study CD in advance of the performance. Concerts serve city, county, private and home-schooled students. Discovery Concerts are presented on four different school days to an audience of approximately 2,000 students each day. 

Come & Play

The RSL volunteers assist with Come & Play, the Richmond Symphony's largest community event! Musicians of all ages and levels of ability are invited to bring their instruments and play alongside the musicians of the Richmond Symphony. This event, usually held at the Siegel Center at Virginia Commonwealth University, is presented in support of music education in schools through the Symphony @ School program. Musicians must be able to read and play the musical scores provided to them prior to their rehearsal the day of the concert. The Come and Play event will take place on November 24, 2019 at a location to be determined.  There was a free public concert at 6:00 p.m. that evening.  The RSL also provides volunteers for the Instrument Petting Zoo.


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