ISMTA Piano Competitions

For information on the MTNA Competitions – IL State, click here.

ISMTA Piano Competition is a single tier competition offered at 2 different regions, ISMTA Piano Competition NORTH and ISMTA Piano Competition SOUTH.  Each competition is run independently with separate chairs and winners.

Students compete in the competition location associated with their teacher’s local association.  If a teacher does not belong to a local association, they may enter students in the location nearest to the teacher’s teaching residence or college/university.  The division between NORTH and SOUTH is roughly Highway Interstate 80.

ISMTA Piano Competition NORTH: 

Saturday, October 22, 2022
North Park University
3225 W Foster Ave, Chicago, IL 60625

ISMTA Piano Competition SOUTH:  

Saturday, October 22, 2022
Perkinson Music Center, Millikin University
1184 W Main St, Decatur, IL 62522

Registration opens August 15, 2022

Registration deadline is September 14, 2022, 3:00 P.M. Eastern Time.  There will be no exceptions.

COMPETITION DIVISIONS

The following age division requirements are based on the grade entering the current academic year and are offered independently at ISMTA North and ISMTA South Piano Competitions. Please click each division below for more detailed information and requirements.

  • Grades: 1-3 in the current school year

  • Repertoire: Perform two contrasting pieces from memory

  • Entry Fee: $30

  • Maximum Judging Time: 6 minutes

  • First Place Award: $50

  • Grades: 4-6 in the current school year

  • Repertoire: Perform two contrasting pieces from memory

  • Entry Fee: $40

  • Maximum Judging Time: 8 minutes

  • First Place Award: $75

  • Grades: Grades 7-9 in the current school year

  • Repertoire: Perform at least two pieces from contrasting periods from memory

  • Entry Fee: $50

  • Maximum Judging Time: 10 minutes

  • First Place Cash Prize: $100

  • Grades: 10-12 in the current school year

  • Repertoire: Perform at least two pieces from contrasting periods from memory

  • Entry Fee: $60

  • Maximum Judging Time: 15 minutes

  • First Place Cash Prize: $125

  • Grades: full or part time undergraduate or 1st & 2nd year Master’s music student in the current academic year

  • Repertoire: Perform at least two pieces from contrasting periods from memory

  • Entry Fee: $75

  • Maximum Judging Time: 20 minutes

  • First Place Cash Prize: $200

  • Grades: same grade requirements as Piano Solo for each division. If both participants are not in the same grade division, duet team must enter at the higher level.

  • Competitions: Piano Duet – 1P, 4H

  • Repertoire: Perform one duet. Memorization not required.

  • Entry Fee: same fee as Piano Solo per duet team for each division

  • Maximum Judging Time: 8 minutes for Elementary, 10 minutes for Junior and Senior

  • First Place Cash Prize: same as Piano Solo for each division

Contrasting Periods include: Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Impressionistic, 20/21st Century

*ISMTA has the discretion to combine North and South for low enrollments and/or separate undergraduate and Master’s students with higher enrollments.

Resources:

ISMTA Primary Piano Solo Performance Competition

  • Grades: 1-3 in the current school year
  • Repertoire: Perform two contrasting pieces from memory
  • Entry Fee: $30
  • Maximum Judging Time: 6 minutes
  • First Place Award: $50

ISMTA Elementary Piano Solo Performance Competition

  • Grades: 4-6 in the current school year
  • Repertoire: Perform two contrasting pieces from memory
  • Entry Fee: $40
  • Maximum Judging Time: 8 minutes
  • First Place Award: $75

ISMTA Junior Piano Solo Performance Competition

  • Grades: Grades 7-9 in the current school year
  • Repertoire: Perform at least two pieces from contrasting periods from memory
  • Entry Fee: $50
  • Maximum Judging Time: 10 minutes
  • First Place Cash Prize:  $100

ISMTA Senior Piano Solo Performance Competition

  • Grades: 10-12 in the current school year
  • Repertoire: Perform at least two pieces from contrasting periods from memory
  • Entry Fee: $60
  • Maximum Judging Time: 15 minutes
  • First Place Cash Prize:  $125

ISMTA Collegiate Piano Solo Performance Competition

  • Grades: full or part time undergraduate or 1st & 2nd year Master’s music student in the current academic year
  • Repertoire: Perform at least two pieces from contrasting periods from memory
  • Entry Fee: $75
  • Maximum Judging Time: 20 minutes
  • First Place Cash Prize:  $200

ISMTA Piano Duet Competition – Elementary, Junior, and Senior Divisions

  • Grades: same grade requirements as Piano Solo for each division.  If both participants are not in the same grade division, duet team must enter at the higher level.
  • Competitions: Piano Duet – 1P, 4H
  • Repertoire: Perform one duet.  Memorization not required.
  • Entry Fee: same fee as Piano Solo per duet team for each division
  • Maximum Judging Time: 8 minutes for Elementary, 10 minutes for Junior and Senior
  • First Place Cash Prize:  same as Piano Solo for each division

Contrasting Periods include: Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Impressionistic, 20/21st Century

  • ISMTA Piano Competitions are open to any student studying with a member of ISMTA.A $150 nonmember teacher fee will be assessed if entrant’s teacher has not paid active MTNA/ISMTA membership dues by August 31.
  • Instruction must take place in Illinois, in a private studio, music school, private or state secondary schools, college or university.Students do not have to be Illinois residents.
  • Pre-college students must have studied with the enrolling teacher at least 3 months prior to the registration deadline.This requirement is waived for students entering in their first year of college or university with their new teacher. 
  • All registration fees are nonrefundable.
  • If there is only one (1) entrant in any category, there will be no competition and registration fee will be refunded.
  • Students may enter both Piano Solo and Piano Duet.
  • Students may enter both ISMTA Competition and MTNA Competition.NOTE:  These are 2 separate competitions with separate registrations and fees.
  • First Place winners are not eligible to enter again in the same grade division.
  • Decisions of competition judges are final.No ties for first and second place winners.
  • No video or audio recording of any kind is allowed.
  • Repertoire selections may exceed time limit, but performance will be stopped when maximum time limit is reached.This will not affect results.
  • No changes in repertoire are allowed following submission of the registration
  • Students must bring one set of original music to the competition for judges with measures numbered.
    • For shorter works, number each measure.
    • For longer works, measure numbers at the beginning of each line are acceptable.
  • Music must be printed in English or the original western language in which the piece was published. Published compositions by non-western composers must be marked with English translations on all music terms in the scores for judges to understand the musical intentions.No photocopy of music is allowed.
  • Music purchased online is acceptable with proof of purchase, usually stamped on the music.
  • Failure to abide by these rules will make the entrant ineligible to receive recognition or awards.
  • Facilities permitting, ISMTA competitions are open to the general public.
  • First-place winners are invited to perform in the Winners Recital during the annual ISMTA conference in early November.Date and location will be different from year to year. 
  • If first-place winner declines the invitation, the winner status is retained but will forfeit the cash prize.
  • In such case, the second-place winner will be invited to perform in the Winners Recital.A $50 travel stipend will be awarded with acceptance.
NORTH Region Local Associations
Chicago Area (CAMTA)
Fox Hills (FHMTA)
Greater Rockford (GRMTA)
Naperville (NMTA)
North Shore (NSMTA)
Northwest Suburban (NWSMTA)
Salt Creek (SCMTA)
South Suburban MTA (SSMTA)
Southwest Area (SAMTA) 
Waubonsee Valley (WVMTA)
West Suburban (WSMTA)
 
SOUTH Region Local Associations:
Bloomington-Normal (BNMTA)
Champaign-Urbana (CUMTA)
Decatur Area (DAMTA)
Egyptian Chapter (ECMTA)
Gateway Arch East (GAEMTA)
Kankakee Valley (KVMTA)
Peoria Area (PAMTA)
Quincy Conservatory of Music – ISMTA (QCM-ISMTA)

Committee

ISMTA Competitions

  • Director – Jennifer Cohen
  • ISMTA South Coordinator – Pei-I Wang
  • ISMTA North Coordinator – Anne Marie Kuhny
  • ISMTA Instrument and Voice Competition – Brenda Buchanan