2019 Classical Competition

Since 1990, scholarships have benefited over 300 promising young piano students. Please use this link to view the 2018 competition winners. The Society awards both competitive scholarships and developmental awards. In 2019, the competition will feature live auditions for all age groups on 6-7 April, 2019.  There will be no preliminary round based on CDs.  

Competitive Scholarships Award Program.
Eligibility: Piano students who demonstrate outstanding pianistic talent and progress while pursuing excellence in performance. Previous 1st prize winners may not compete again in the same age group. Contestants should not be relatives or students of judges, artistic advisors, Steinway Society board members or employees of Jacobs Music. We would like to encourage parents to give their potential contestants an opportunity to be inspired by hearing our professional pianists play in our musicales.

Application Process:

  1. Complete on-line form (click here for form).
  2. Print 2 copies of this form, one for your records and a second for signatures from yourself, your teacher and parent.

  3. Then click on [submit] on-line and also mail a completed, printed and signed application with entrance fee to:
    Steinway Society, Jacobs Music, 2540 Brunswick Pike, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
    Note: Applications must be delivered or postmarked by February 16, 2019.
    Entrance Fees:
    Group 1, age 7-8 on April 6, 2019 $60
    Group 2, age 9-10 on April 6, 2019 $60
    Group 3, age 11-13 on April 6, 2019 $65
    Group 4, age 14-15 on April 6, 2019 $70
    Group 5, age 16-18 on April 6, 2019 $75
    (Fee may be waived in case of financial hardship).

  4. If you have technical problems with the above, you may also  download a 2019 scholarship application form by clicking here and mailing or delivering the completed paper form with application fee to Jacobs Music, 2540 Brunswick Pike, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648. The application date is then the date of the postmark or delivery.
  5. Please also read “Answers to frequently asked questions” below.

Applications must be submitted, delivered or postmarked by February 16, 2019. Late applications will not be accepted. All contestants will audition live before a panel of two judges on April 6th and 7th, 2019 after which awards for each age group will be announced. Written comments will be provided to all contestants. Students should submit an application form listing their selections of two contrasting works along with the application fee listed above.  The maximum duration of both pieces combined is 8 minutes (group 1) or 10 minutes (groups 2,3,4,5). Repertoire length may exceed this time limit although contestants will be stopped at the judge’s discretion in order to adhere to the audition time limit. Examples of repertoire played in previous competitions may be downloaded here.
Please do not staple check to application.

Live Audition Saturday and Sunday April 6th and 7th, 2019.  Two judges will audition the contestants who will perform from memory the two repertory pieces listed on their application. The auditions will be at Jacobs Music, 2540 Brunswick Pike, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648. By applying to the competition, parents understand that the contestants must be available to perform at their scheduled time. Please provide an original score of each piece (no photocopies) for use by the judges. The names and qualifications of the judges will be announced at a later date.  The Judges reserve the right not to award scholarships in all categories; their decisions will be final. Written comments will be sent to all contestants. The 2018 Judges were Dr. Eric Fung, Dr. Martha Marchena and Prof. Ruth Rendleman.  Click here for 2018 Judges biographies.

Scholarship Winners Musicale Sunday April 28, 2019, at 3:00 PM: Winners will perform one piece and receive their awards during the Scholarship Musicale on April 28, 2019, at Jacobs Music. Photographs will be taken following the recital. By applying to the competition, parents understand that the winners must be available to perform in the scholarship musicale. By signing the application the parent consents to the use of the student’s name and photograph in connection with Steinway Society publicity.

Dates to remember:

  • The application deadline is on February 16, 2019.
  • Scholarship auditions: Saturday and Sunday April 6-7, 2019
  • Scholarship winners recital: 3:00 PM Sunday April 28, 2019.

Testimonial from Daniel Rorke: RorkeTestimonial1 RorkeTestimonial2


Frequently Asked Questions

All entrants will compete during the live round on April 6-7, 2019.

Q: The repertoire requirements ask for two contrasting works. Does this necessarily mean two pieces from different style periods as in previous years?

A: No, although two different style periods (e.g., Baroque vs. Impressionistic) would certainly be considered contrasting, starting in 2017 contestants will be allowed to perform two contrasting works from any style period. Two works by the same composer could even qualify as contrasting if stylistically diverse, e.g., a Chopin Nocturne vs. a Waltz. Teachers/contestants can use their own discretion in their choice of repertoire keeping in mind that demonstrating stylistic diversity will factor in to judges decisions.

Q. Can the repertoire listed on the application form be changed before the live audition?

A. Yes, changes can be made provided the request for repertoire change is submitted to RBrown@jacobsmusiccompany.com by February 16, 2019 and the changes meet the competition requirements.

Q. What age category applies if the student has a birthday between the date of application and the audition?

A. The age of the student on April 6, 2019 determines the student’s age category for the competition. Students cannot compete in a higher age group.

Q. Are specific repertoire pieces required ?

A. No, the only requirement is a polished, artistic performance of two contrasting solo works. As an illustration, the repertoire played in the 2015 final competition may be downloaded here.

Q. If the length of two pieces performed were to exceed 8 minutes (Group 1,2) or 12 minutes (Group 3,4,5) would that be problematic?

A. We ask the judges to form an opinion based on the first 8 minutes (Group 1,2) or 12 minutes (Groups 3,4,5). The contestant will be asked to stop playing if they exceed the prescribed time limit.

Q. If a student omits a repeat to keep under the time limit will the student be penalized for this ?

A. We recommend the student omit the repeat to stay within the time limit.

Q. If a student submits 2 slow movements to keep with the time limit will the student be penalized for this ?

A. Submitting two slow movements would be disadvantageous as we ask for two contrasting works.

Q. Should I staple the check to the application?

A. Please do NOT staple the check to the application.

Q. Can I drop off entries one day after deadline date ?

A. No applications will be accepted after the deadline.

Q. When will the contestants be notified about their audition times ?

A. We expect to notify the contestants before March 15th, 2019. The winners of the competition will be announced at the live audition. An email will be sent informing them of the one piece to be played at the winners musicale. The musicale is a festive occasion with a reception following the recital. Photos are taken which are then posted on our website.

Q. I have a question that is not covered by the information above.

A. Please send an email to RBrown@jacobsmusiccompany.com well in advance of any deadlines to give us time to respond.