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 competition is held in September. While the application deadline is approximately two weeks before the competition, you should submit your application as soon as possible. Late applications will not be accepted under any circumstances. Download the application (PDF).

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 15 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 will provide accompaniment on the day of the competition. With your application you must submit the original score or a downloaded copy (within public domain) of the accompaniment for your piece. You may submit your accompaniment directly to the accompanist at an earlier date, if desired. Pianist competitors may compete with their teacher as their accompanist. Please refer to the accompaniment guidelines  in the Music Department Handbook.


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.