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 2021 Concerto Competition is currently set for Saturday, October 9 at 10 a.m. in Tyler-Tallman Recital Hall. If you would like to compete, please fill out the application attached to our information sheet (Dropbox). The deadline for submitting your application and accompaniment score is 5:00 p.m. Friday, September 10, 2021, no exceptions.

Due to the uncertain nature of the pandemic, there is the possibility that the competition will need to pivot to a virtual competition, which would involve competitors recording their pieces with the accompanist. In the event that we pivot to a virtual competition, we will update the deadlines as soon as possible, and we may also need to move the winners’ performances with the orchestra to a different date other than the November 12, 2021 concert date.

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, Tom Robak, will provide the accompaniment on the day of the competition.  By the September 10 deadline you must submit to Mr. 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