Skip to main content

Concerto-Aria Competition

2024 Competition

Boise State music majors and minors compete in their various instrumental and vocal areas to perform a concerto movement, character piece, or vocal aria with the Boise State Symphony Orchestra under its conductor, Prof. Craig Purdy.

Info on the 2024 competition coming soon.

The finals of this competition, open to the general public, will take place in the Morrison Center Recital Hall. Winners will be featured with the orchestra at the Spring Orchestra Concert.



  1. Contestants must be full-time BSU Undergraduate (12 + credits), Graduate (9 + credits), Music Majors, or Music Minors (12 + credits). 
  2. Students must be taking private lessons in the semester they are competing. Contestants must first obtain the permission of the applied teacher and the orchestra director. (see application) 
  3. All auditioning students must be a member of a major ensemble during the Spring 2024 semester. 
  4. Those auditioning on an orchestral instrument (violin, viola, cello, bass, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba, timpani, percussion) must be enrolled/playing in the university orchestra during the Spring 2024 semester. Under special circumstances, an exemption to this rule may be granted by the conductor. 
  5. Contestants will compete in one of the following categories: 
      • keyboard 
      • strings 
      • woodwind 
      • brass 
      • voice
      • percussion


No more than three students may be entered from each category into the final round. Should more than three students be entered in a particular category by the due date, a semi-final audition will need to be set up within that category to determine who will be sent on. Faculty from each respective category will make the semi-final decision based on their own set of criteria. If this scenario comes to fruition, it is suggested that a 3rd party, perhaps using a “behind the screen” audition, make this decision.


  1. A maximum of four top performers will be chosen to appear with the orchestra with not more than two performers from any one category.
  2. It is not mandatory that a winner be selected from a category. If there is only one entrant in a category, that student does not necessarily win by default. 
  3. Contestants are limited to ten minutes of competition time in the final round. For this reason, cuts in orchestral tutti are strongly encouraged. 
  4. The contestant’s choice of music will need to be pre-determined/approved after direct consultation with the applied teacher and the orchestra conductor. Prof. Purdy recommends this be done far in advance of the actual submission of the written application. 
  5. Normally only one movement of a standard concerto or two vocal arias would be appropriate for performance. In the case of a concerto movement that is very short in length, a second movement may be permitted in performance. Double concertos, vocal duets, and pieces involving multiple instrumental or vocal soloists are not permitted. Solo arias and solo instrumental pieces with orchestral accompaniment only. All Programming decisions are left up to the discretion of the conductor. All decisions are final. 
  6. The contestant must use and furnish an accompanist for each stage of the competition. 
  7. Previous winners at the undergraduate level may enter if currently enrolled as a graduate student and meet all of the above criteria. 
  8. Should the contestant reach the final round, he or she is required to supply three copies of the accompaniment for the judge’s perusal. 

Any and all questions related to any of the above information/rules should be addressed by: 

Craig Purdy, Orchestra Director 


Back To Top