Bolz Young Artist Competition


Bolz Young Artist Competition

  • The Bolz Young Artist Competition is a highly regarded statewide competition in which Wisconsin’s young musicians compete for scholarships and the opportunity to perform as soloists with the Madison Symphony Orchestra (MSO). The third and final round of the competition will be broadcast to audiences statewide as part of The Final Forte* collaboration with Wisconsin Public Television (WPT) and Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR).

    The winners will be featured as soloists with the MSO during the Spring Young People’s Concert. In addition, each winner will receive a $2,000 scholarship and the Marian Bolz Prize for Distinguished Musical Achievement or the Steenbock Youth Music Award. Up to two Honorable Mention scholarships of $1,000 may also be awarded.

    A $30 non-refundable entry fee, payable to the Madison Symphony Orchestra, MUST accompany the application and be received before or on the application deadline.

    The competition is open to Wisconsin residents in grades 9-12 who perform on: violin, viola, cello, bass, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba, harp, piano, percussion, saxophone, organ or classical guitar. Previous winners may not compete in consecutive years on the same instrument. Contracted musicians of the MSO are ineligible. Throughout all rounds of competition, the judges’ decisions are final.

    Applicants should fill out the form below in its entirely to register for the Bolz Young Artist Competition. Applicants will receive an automated confirmation email upon successful submission of the form below. Audition information will be emailed to applicants no less than 7 days prior to the auditions. For any questions, contact Kathryn Schwarzmann at The deadline to both register and submit payment is Monday, December 10, 2018.

  • Soloist Information

  • Type out full, ex. August
  • Musical Selection

  • Including No., Op. and key
  • Accompanist Information

  • Private Teacher Information

  • Special Requests

  • Payment Information

  • Select a payment option from below
  • American Express

    Saturday, January 5, 2019 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

    Bethel Lutheran Church, 312 Wisconsin Ave., Madison, WI 53703

    • Applicants must select a solo concerto movement or concert piece with orchestral accompaniment from the standard published repertoire. Orchestral parts must be readily available.
    • Total performance time shall not exceed 15 minutes, with allowable cuts to the appropriate tutti sections. No cuts may be made to the solo part. In the final performance, any and all cuts must be approved by the Music Director of the Madison Symphony Orchestra.
    • During all rounds of the competition auditions must be accompanied by the piano reduction of the score. It is the applicant’s responsibility to secure his or her own accompanist.
    • Memorization is required.
    • Applicants may audition on one instrument only.
    • MANDATORY MUSIC PREPARATION: Applicants must provide THREE judges’ copies of the piano score, with every measure numbered and any/all cuts clearly marked, BEFORE arrival to the competition.
    • Audition information will be emailed to applicants no less than 7 days prior to the auditions. It is imperative that all applicants provide an email address on the application form.
    • The Preliminary Round is closed to the public.
    • Approximately eight musicians will advance to the Semi-Final round.
    • Written comments from the Preliminary Round, only, will be mailed to participants.


    Saturday, January 13, 2019 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

    Overture Center for the Arts, 201 State Street, Madison, WI 53730

    • Semi-finalists must perform the same repertoire as in the Preliminary Round.
    • Cameras from Wisconsin Public Television will be present to record this round of competition for The Final Forte broadcast. WPT representatives may request one-on-one interviews with semi-finalists.
    • The four musicians who advance to the Final Round will be notified immediately following the Semi-Finals.


    We anticipate that on Wednesday, March 13, 2019 at 7 p.m., the four finalists will perform with the Madison Symphony Orchestra and Music Director John DeMain before a live audience in Overture Hall. This performance will also be broadcast on WPT and WPR to statewide audiences.

    • The four finalists MUST be available for rehearsals on March 11 & 12 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and to meet with Music Director John DeMain on Monday, March 11 before the rehearsal.
    • The winners and honorable mentions will be announced during the live performance and broadcast.
    • The winners will also perform on the morning of Thursday, March 14 at 10 a.m. in Overture Hall for the MSO’s Spring Young People’s Concert.

    TIMELINE SYNOPSIS (All venues are in Madison, WI)

    Fri., December 10, 2018

    Bolz Young Artist Competition Application Deadline

    Sat., January 5, 2019
    8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

    Preliminary Round (closed to the public)
    at Bethel Lutheran Church

    • Semi-Finalists notified

    Sun., January 13, 2019
    2 p.m. – 5 p.m.

    Semi-Final Round (open to the public)
    at Overture Center for the Arts

    • Wisconsin Public Television cameras present to tape performances

    Mon. & Tues., Mar. 11 & 12, 2019
    5 – 10 p.m.

    Rehearsals for The Final Forte

    Wed., March 13, 2019
    7 p.m.

    The Final Forte, Wisconsin Young Artists Compete
    in Overture Center for the Arts

    • Free and open to the public

    Thurs., March 14, 2019
    10 a.m.

    MSO Spring Young People's Concert
    in Overture Center for the Arts

    *pending funding

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A special thank-you to Farley’s House of Pianos for providing the pianos for our Young Artist Competition auditions.

Farley's House of Pianos