Finalist Sam Rothermel
Finalist Sam Rothermel

The Hershey Symphony’s Annual Young Artist Competition (YAC) has been held for over 15 years. Its purpose is to encourage and foster the best young classical musicians (grades 7-11) from our local 8 county area (Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry and York). The prizes offered have been among the top in the area, and it has enjoyed sponsorship from a local business for over a decade. The winner performs a concerto movement with the Hershey Symphony during our annual double Holiday Concerts at the Hershey Theater in December. These are our most popular concerts, and draw a combined audience of 3,000+. The competition typically occurs in March. Those selected for the finals perform at Zug Hall at Elizabethtown College in front of a panel of highly qualified judges. This makes for an evening of compelling music making which has to be seen to be fully appreciated. There is no admission charge for the audience who attend the finals. We are currently seeking sponsorship to keep this wonderful event going. The competition has been run for the past 13 years by Michael Rusli, a long time member of the symphony’s cello section. Some YAC’s participants have gone on to successful careers in music, mostly notably Brandon Cedel, 2005 winner. Brandon is in his third year of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist development program, and is well on his way to operatic stardom.

Check back in August 2017 for Application information.

Eligibility: Students enrolled in grades 7 through 11 (sorry, no 12th graders) during the 2017-2018 school year who reside in the following eight counties in Pennsylvania: Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry, and York.  Those who have entered our competition in the past are encouraged to compete again (past winners are excluded).

Music Selection: One movement of any concerto for solo instrument (including operatic voice) that is written with orchestral accompaniment.  Competitors chosen for the finals are responsible for bringing their own piano accompanists.

Prize: First:$1,000

Timeline: Submit clearly recorded CDs or e-mail an MP3 to the Hershey Symphony Orchestra with an application form by deadline date (TBD). Those selected for the finals will play before a panel of highly qualified professionals in March 2018 at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania.  The prize winners will be announced that evening.  The first prize winner will perform with the Hershey Symphony Orchestra at the Hershey Theatre during the orchestra’s 2018-19 season which commences in the Fall 2018.  Dr. Sandra Dackow, HSO Music Director, will arrange rehearsals with the winner.

To Apply: Complete the Young Artist Competition Application and submit with CD and application fee to Hershey Symphony Orchestra at PO Box 93, Hershey, PA 17033. Email: Phone (717) 533-8449

An application fee of $35 is required with submission (check payable to Hershey Symphony Orchestra).