The Davidson College Symphony Orchestra (DCSO) features up to three student soloists on one of their main concerts each season. Winners are selected through an annual competition in the fall semester.


The 2023 Concerto Competition will take place on Saturday, September 23 at 10 a.m. in Tyler-Tallman Hall. If you plan to compete, please read the information sheet, fill out the Google form that is linked on the sheet (accessible only with your account), and send a PDF of your accompaniment to Dr. Keith at and Dr. Robak at by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, September 8. If you are competing as a pianist and are currently taking lessons, your applied teacher will serve as your accompanist and your accompaniment must be submitted to your teacher by the same deadline.

Competition Requirements

  • You must perform the same composition for the competition that you will perform with the orchestra if selected.
  • Your competition performance should consist of one movement of a concerto or a similar piece (such as a concert aria or set of songs for singers) not to exceed 16 minutes in duration (including instrumental-only segments).
  • You must perform the same composition for the competition that you will perform in November if selected. You are strongly encouraged to memorize the piece for the competition, as the judges may look more favorably on those who have their pieces memorized.
  • Professor Tara Villa Keith will determine whether the piece is within the abilities of the DCSO.
  • Applicants are urged to communicate their chosen piece as early as possible so that Professor Tara Villa Keith will have the opportunity to respond in a timely manner.


All Davidson College students are eligible to compete, with a few exceptions:

  • Former winning individual soloists may not compete again as individual soloists, but may compete again as a part of a duet, trio, or concertino
  • Past winners that were part of a duet, trio, or concertino may compete again either with a different group of soloists or as an individual soloist.
  • If you have already won the competition twice, as a soloist or part of a group, you are no longer eligible.


The Music Department accompanist, Dr. Tom Robak, will provide the accompaniment on the day of the competition.  By the September 8 deadline you must submit to Dr. Robak a PDF of the accompaniment for your piece. The PDF must be clear and not have staves, lines, or clefs clipped off from the edges. Please see the Music Department handbook (scroll down the page to find the button) for additional information on accompanist guidelines.


The winners will be determined by a panel of judges who are not affiliated with the Music Department.

If you have questions or would like additional information, please contact Professor Tara Villa Keith at