November 18 & 19, 2023

Grades 7 through 12

Registration: $25

Registration Ends: 10/23/2023

Registration Details:

Due Date: October 23, 2023
  • Performers must complete the application and submit the registration fee in order to perform.
    • Click the “Register” button above for the application
    • Pay $25 Registration Fee Here: Submit Fee
  • Performers must be Arizona residents.
  • Performers must be in grades seven through twelve.
  • Early submission is advised. It is possible that all available slots for performers will be filled before the end of the application submission period. Any entrants who apply within the submission period for whom there is no slot will be placed on a waiting list. If no slot becomes available, the performer will be informed, and entry fee returned.
  • No application refunds will be given in the event of performer withdrawal.

Date & Time Details:

  • The Competition will be held on Saturday, November 18 and Sunday, November 19.
    • The times in the table below are the estimated window for each division.
      • Divisions may begin earlier or later depending on the number of entrants
    • Exact performance timeslots will be emailed out by October 27.
    • Performers may only perform during their division’s window
Division Date Estimated Window
(Exact timeslots to be assigned)
I (7th & 8th Grades) Saturday, November 18, 2023 9am-1pm
II (9th & 10th Grades) Saturday, November 18, 2023 1pm-5pm
III (11th & 12th Grades) Sunday, November 19, 2023 1pm-6pm

Division Details:

Divisions are determined by grade level, and each division has different requirements regarding the number of pieces to perform and the amount of time in which they perform. Please see below:

Division Number of Pieces Warm-Up Duration Performance Duration
I (Grades 7 & 8) 1 or 2 10 minutes 7 minutes
II (Grades 9 & 10) 1 or 2 10 minutes 10 minutes
III (Grades 11 & 12) 2 15 minutes 15 minutes

Music Details:

  • Music chosen for the competition must be standard literature chosen from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Modern, or Contemporary periods. Simplified versions and transcriptions are not accepted.
    • Multiple movements from the work may be entered as one selection, so long as the total program does not exceed the allotted time for the respective division (see above)
  • Music must be memorized.
  • Performers must provide a printed (published) version and two photocopies of the piece(s) they will perform.
    • Scores must have measures numbered and cuts marked (if any) so the judges can use them as a reference during the performance.
    • Any markings that would indentify the performer’s or their teacher’s name should be erased or covered with whiteout.
    • All music will be checked at the Welcome Table for measure numbers
    • All music will be returned directly after the performance.
    • If your music is in the public domain, the score should be clearly marked “Public Domain” or a cover sheet indicating that should be included.
  • Arizona Musicfest does not provide a list of required or recommended repertoire.

Location Details:

  1. The competition will be held at Arizona Musicfest: 7950 E Thompson Peak Pkwy. Scottsdale, AZ 85255
  2. Competition instruments:
    1. Warm-up instrument: Roland RD-300 Stage Piano
    2. Performance instrument: 2001 Steinway Model B Grand Piano
  3. Performers will receive an arrival time that is roughly 15 minutes before their scheduled warm-up time. Please plan to arrive no later than your assigned arrival time.

Adjudication Details:

  • Judges: Dr. Stephen Cook, Cameron Grant, and Dr. Cathal Breslin
    • Learn more about the judges below
  • Judges will stop performers if their performance exceeds the competition time limits. There is no penalty if a performer needs to be stopped.
  • Judges may elect to award ‘Excellent’ and ‘Superior’ ratings to performers demonstrating high levels of artistry in their performances. Ratings will only be awarded with unanimous recommendation from the judges.
  • Prizes are awarded at the end of each division to performers who display the highest level of artistic excellence.
  • Judges have the option to withhold prizes; their decisions are final.
  • All teachers will receive the judges’ comments within a week of the competition date. 

Prize Details:

  1. Standout performers from each division may be awarded monetary prizes in the amounts detailed below.
  2. Awarded performers may be invited to perform in the Young Musicians Concert Series in the MIM Music Theater.
  3. Awarded performers may receive performance opportunities as they are available and announced.
Division First Prize Second Prize Third Prize
I (Grades 7 & 8) $200 $100 $50
II (Grades 9 & 10) $350 $200 $100
III (Grades 11 & 12) $450 $350 $200
Print This Information Pay Registration Fee

Questions? Contact Ben Baer, Manager of Education, Youth Performance, and Community Programming at 480-422-8431 or

Adjudication Panel

Cameron Grant

Cameron Grant

Cameron Grant is recently retired after 37 years with the New York City Ballet. As a solo pianist, he performed a vast repertoire for solo piano including the Bach Goldberg Variations, Pictures at an Exhibition, Dances at a Gathering, Polyphonia, In the Night, and numerous outher solo premieres. The concerti he has performed include works by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Hindemith, Dohnanyi, Prokofiev, Bartók, MacMillan, Ravel, and Gershwin. He toured with the company across the globe in threatrers in St. Petersburg, Athens, Edinburgh, Paris, London, Parma, Taipei, Tokyo, and Seoul and has appeared in festivals in New Hampshire, Vail, and Nantucket. A renowned collaborative pianist, Cameron has worked and/or recorded with Joel Korsnick, Ronald Thomas, Hiroko Yakima, The Leonardo Trio with Erica Kieswetter and Jonathan Spitz, and Zina Schiff, among others. He spent five years touring with James Winn as half of the Grant-Winn piano duo, a duo that took top honors at the Munich Competition. Cameron was also a member of the New York New Music Ensemble. In 2004, he won an Emmy Award as a soloist in the Live From Lincon Center broadcast, “Balanchine at 100,” and was invited to perform at the Kennedy Center Honors with three other members of the New York City Ballet for President Bush .

Stephen Cook

Stephen Cook

Dr. Stephen Cook has dedicated his life to building culture through musical performance, education, and nonprofit leadership. Cook studied under luminary pianists Ursula Oppens, Robert Hamilton, and Eteri Andjaparidze, at DePaul University, Northwestern University, and Arizona State University where he earned his Doctor of Musical Arts Degree. A visionary pianist, Dr. Cook expands the traditional piano recital format with distinctive elements of artistic fusion. His innovative performance projects harmoniously merge music with visual arts, literature and film. Dedicated to cultural development, Dr. Cook founded Oracle Piano Society in 2012. As the organization’s Artistic Director, he has brought together an impressive Artist Advisory Committee, empowered a passionate Board of Directors, and inspired an outpouring of local support.

Cathal Breslin

Cathal Breslin

Cathal Breslin has been praised worldwide as one of the most exciting pianists of his generation with critical acclaim such as “superb intensity and passion” (Cleveland Plain Dealer, Ohio), “energized and energizing” (Belfast Telegraph, N. Ireland), “a deep connection to the music” (Tampa Oracle, Florida), and “noble poetry…perfumed pianissimo (The Independent, London). Born in Derry, Northern Ireland, he has performed solo recitals in major concert halls throughout Europe, U.S., and Asia, such as Carnegie Hall in New York, Wigmore Hall in London, Kumho Hall in Seoul, and the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing.

Recent solo concerto performances have included Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Beethoven, Mozart, Takemitsu, Poulenc and Liszt Concerti with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra, BBC Ulster Orchestra, Greensboro Symphony NC, Jackson Symphony TN, Turin Philharmonic, Memphis Symphony, and the RTE Concert Orchestra.

As a chamber musician, Cathal has performed extensively with flutist Sir James Galway, soprano Measha Brueggergosman, violinists Augustin Dumay, Anne Akiko Meyers, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, cellists Jan Vogler, Jeffrey Zeigler, Raphael Wallfisch, the Houston Symphony Winds, and the Brodsky, Ceruti and Coull Quartets. He is a regular member of Trio Festivale, a flute-cello-piano ensemble that tours and commissions new works internationally.

In 2008, Cathal and his wife, flutist Dr. Sabrina Hu, created the Walled City Music Festival in Derry, N. Ireland, which has regenerated music with its concerts and outreach activities in the region. Now entering its 13th year, WCM has become one of the most successful arts organizations and festivals , with Artists such as the Kronos Quartet, the Bang On a Can All-Stars, Ulster Orchestra, the Labeque Sisters, and Jeremy Denk. In 2019, they introduced a new annual WCM International Piano Festival and Competition, which attracts participants from over 20 countries.

He moved to the U.S. as an Ireland-U.S. Fulbright Scholar, where he received a DMA Degree from the University of Michigan, studying with Arthur Greene. His earlier studies were from the Royal College of Music in London, the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, the Real Conservatorio Superior in Madrid, and the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin.  Cathal is currently an Assistant Professor of Piano at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. In 2020, he signed as an exclusive Yamaha Artist, and released a new album entitled “Mirage” – an album of Romantic piano works that create musical illusions of landscapes and fantasies, reflecting light and color.