Concerto Competition

Kara GavinThe LSO occasionally holds a Concerto Competition, to allow our members and select other members of the U-M life sciences community a chance to perform a solo work with the LSO.


The next Concerto Competition date has not yet been determined. Winners are chosen by our music director and panel of judges.

Anyone interested in competing in a future Concerto Competition should send an email to

Each competition is open to any LSO member accepted after the September auditions, and to members of the U-M Life Sciences community who are capable of performing as solo vocalists, or who play instruments not typically represented in the LSO.

Full Concerto Competition rules are below – please read them carefully before indicating interest in competing.

Past winners:

2017: Josh Jung and David Brown, M.D.
(Note: Josh performed with the LSO in 2018, and Dr. Brown performed with the LSO in 2019)

2014: Eric Dluzniewski and Naki Kripfgans
(Note: Eric performed with the LSO in 2015 and Naki performed in Spring, 2016)
2013: Neil McKay, tuba
2011: Adrienne Cheng, cello
2010: Cathy Twu, piano
2009: Mike Hsu, violin
2007: Trina Stoneham, violin
2006: Tugsu Armstrong, violin
2005: Giant Lin, violin and Matt Shevrin, French horn
2004: Kent Rice, violin
2002: Doug Weaver, oboe

LSO Concerto Competition Rules


1. Contestants must be active members of the Life Sciences Orchestra for the 2017-2018 season, or must be clearly affiliated with the U-M life science community as defined below. If the audition is by group of instrumentalists, all must meet the entry criteria. In addition to orchestral instruments, contestants on voice or instruments not traditionally represented in the orchestra (for example, saxophone) are also allowed.

Due to circumstances beyond our control, percussionists who do not own their own instruments and pianists are not eligible.

Previous winners of the LSO Concerto Competition may not compete again, unless they compete as part of a Concertante or solo group (i.e. duo, trio, quartet). Examples from the standard orchestral repertoire that may be used for group auditions include the Beethoven Triple Concerto, Mozart Sinfonia Concertante, or various Baroque concertos composed for multiple solo instruments, etc. Conversely, players who compete and win as part of a group are eligible to compete again in the future as a stand alone soloist. However, a soloist may only be named formally as winner once, despite solo performances with the orchestra on more than one occasion as in the above mentioned scenarios.

2. For the purposes of this competition, the life science community is defined as including Michigan Medicine including the Medical School and the Hospitals & Health Centers, the College of Literature, Science and the Arts (life sciences departments and units only), the College of Pharmacy, the School of Dentistry, the Rackham School of Graduate Studies (life sciences programs), School of Public Health, School of Nursing, School of Social Work, the Life Sciences Institute, the School for Environment and Sustainability, life & health sciences areas of U-M Flint and U-M Dearborn, the Biomedical Engineering program in the College of Engineering, and the School of Kinesiology. Possible affiliations include faculty, staff, students, trainees, alumni and volunteers.

LSO members who are “friends of the life sciences” because they are spouses or adult children of a life science community member are eligible, but non-LSO members who meet this description are not.

Note that these criteria differ from and are more restrictive than the standard for general entry into the LSO. If prospective auditionees have questions about their eligibility, they should contact the LSO executive committee at

3. The musical selection chosen must be approved by the music director and the committee before the date of the competition to determine whether a work is “suitable” for the LSO. Criteria for a “suitable” piece may include, but are not limited to: technical difficulty of the orchestral parts, need for additional instruments not part of the LSO, cost of music and duration.

The LSO executive committee will make every effort to minimize the impact of cost in this decision, and together with the music director will make the final decision as to whether an accompaniment part is suitable for the LSO.

4. Entrants may enter with a single concerto movement, an entire concerto of brief length or a work for solo instrument and orchestra that does not follow a concerto form (e.g. Debussy’s Rhapsodie Premiere for Clarinet). Single concerto movements should be substantive enough to stand alone on a concert program. Entrants must be prepared to audition with all movements that they propose to play, though the audition judges may not ask to hear all the movements. In cases where the entrant auditions with multiple movements, the judges may decide to allow only one movement to be performed with the orchestra at the concert. Works performed by the LSO within the past five years are not eligible.

5. Winners will be expected to rehearse their piece at rehearsals designated by the music director.

6. No monetary award or compensation is offered in conjunction with entering or winning the competition, or from sales of any potential recordings made of the performance. All rights to this performance are retained by the LSO.


1. The LSO Executive Committee will create an LSO Concerto Competition Committee (judges). This committee will be composed of the current music director, the current assistant music director and at least other judge, including one member of the LSO executive committee. The committee will hear all auditionees on a single evening.

2. Concerto competition musicians must: hire their own piano accompanist for the audition (accompanists are highly recommended but not required), notify the Concerto Competition Committee of the piece of their choice, and provide 3 copies of the piece to the committee in advance of the audition.

3. If the Concerto Competition Committee does not feel there is a suitable candidate, then none shall be selected.

4. If the committee feels there is more than one suitable candidate, the committee will select the candidate that it deems will represent the LSO in the most positive light.

5. The winner will play at the spring concert and must commit to be available for that date and for the dress rehearsal that will be announced, as well as other Sunday evening rehearsals to be agreed upon by the Music Director and winner.



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