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Solo and Concerto Competition

As an OYO musician advances in confidence, skill, artistry, and ambition, they have the opportunity to participate in Oakland Youth Orchestras’ annual Solo and Concerto Competition. OYO values team building, commitment, and enthusiasm amongst our student musicians, and remain steadfast in our belief that fostering a collaborative learning environment fosters growth of the student musicians. However, some students view the competition as an accelerator for personal and artistic development. At our yearly spring competition students of all levels compete not only for monetary awards, but also the opportunity to perform the piece at a later concert.


Much like the popular MSBOA Solo and Ensemble Competition, students prepare a piano accompanied solo or concerto piece, and a panel of judges determine the competition winners.

All participating students compete with peers from their respective orchestras: Studio String, String, Philharmonic, and Symphony Orchestra.  First place winners have the opportunity to perform their solo during a scheduled concert the following season. Philharmonia and Symphony winners performances are accompanied by their orchestra.

Endowed Competition Awards:

1st place, Teresa Schuster Memorial Award

In January 2000, OYO established an endowed fund in memory of Teresa Schuster, a talented and much admired 15yr. old violinist who tragically lost her life in a car accident after previously winning the concerto competition. The proceeds of this endowed fund are used exclusively for the OYO Concerto Competition.

Jessica Rogers Outstanding Woodwind Performance Awards

In 2005, the Rogers Family made a generous contribution to the Oakland Youth Orchestra in memory of their daughter, at talented flute player who lost her life in a car accident. Money from the endowed gift is used to promote and assist student members of the Oakland Youth Orchestras in their music studies. Two students, one each from Symphony and Philharmonia orchestras are granted the awards.

What did I learn from participating in this competition? That there’s no point in comparing yourself to other musicians. Every player will have their own ideas about how to approach the music and all ideas can be valid. What it’s all about is how much effort you put into the preparation, how much you practice. Then, when it’s time for the competition you just have to trust in your own musicianship.
Patrick Walle, French horn, winner of the 2005 Concerto Competition, current member of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, and graduate of the Eastman School of Music.