The 2017-18 Bonnie & Lee Malmed

Young Artists Competition

Dates and audtition information concerning this year's competition is not yet posted.  The information below is from LAST year's competition.

About the Young Artists Competition

2018 marks the 38th year of the Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra’s Bonnie and Lee Malmed Young Artists Competition. The purpose of the competition is to help ensure the future of classical music by providing the opportunity for young musicians to hone their audition skills as well as to perform with a high caliber symphony orchestra. At the Young Artists Concert held in January 2003, a resolution from the State of Illinois's House of Representatives was presented to the Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra commending the organization for its commitment to quality classical music and its encouragement of young musicians. In 2014, the competition was named the Bonnie and Lee Malmed Young Artists Competition in honor of the Malmeds' longtime support of the competition.

The competition is open to young orchestral musicians (including piano, saxophone, and guitar) from the ages of 16 to 22, and attracts performers from all over the country. The First Prize winner will receive a $1200 cash award and the Second Prize winner$800.  SVSO. An honorable mention will also be selected; in the event one of the two winners cannot perform, this person will perform with the orchestra. The public is invited and encouraged to attend the final round of the competition, which begins at approximately 3:00pm.


Young Artists Competition Rules

1. Competition is open to amateur orchestral musicians ages 16­-22 as of January 1, 2017.

2. Previous Young Artists Competition Winners are not eligible.

3.  Individual contestants may register for only one audition. 

4. Contestants must play one movement of a concerto or suitable (with the approval of the YAC management) concerto-like composition. Memorization is encouraged, but not required. Should a contestant advance to the final round, the same concerto movement will be repeated.

5. Contestants must provide their own accompanist. Your accompanist must be disclosed on your registration form.

6. Contestants are responsible for supplying the judges with three unmarked copies of the score of their piece. Photocopies are acceptable.

7. Competition management will assign each contestant a 15 minute audition period. Judges may request any section of the concerto movement during the audition. Judges may stop contestants if they have heard enough to sufficiently rate the competitor's performance.

8. While not anticipated, YAC finals judges may determine that none of the finalists' performances meet the criteria for the First Place Award. In that case, the SVSO Board reserves the right to not prresent a First Place award.

9. It is not guaranteed that winners will perform the same pieces with which they auditioned for the YAC in concert with the SVSO. The SVSO Music Director and Programming Committee will work closely with each winner to determine the works to be performed.

10. As a condition of enrolling in the YAC, competitors (and for competitors under age 18, their parents/guardians) consent to SVSO's use of competitors’ names, photographic and/or video images in SVSO's publications and digital communications.

General Information

  • Preliminary round judging takes place in assigned audition rooms in a blind audition format, i.e., judges are seated behind screens and have minimal interaction with competitors. Judging in the preliminary round is instrument specific
  • SVSO officers will announce which competitors have been selected to compete in the final round, after the preliminary round of auditions.
  • Those competitors chosen to compete in the final round will perform on stage in the Recital Hall before a new panel of finals judges, and with other audience members in attendance. Friends and family members of competitors are welcome to attend the finals competition.
  • At the conclusion of all performances by finals competitors, the judges will confer and deliberate to determine the winners.

Young Artist Winners since 2007

2007 - 08, 1st place Natsuki Kumagai, violin; 2nd place, An Qi, piano

2008 - 09, 1st place, Meredith Crawford, viola; 2nd place, Benjamin Lash cello

2009 - 10,  1st place, Zachary Spontak, violin; 2nd place, Kate Liu, piano

2010 - 11,    1st place Alexandra Switala, violin; 2nd place, Erik Umble, clarinet

2011 - 12,    1st place Gallia Kastner, violin; 2nd place, Claire Bourg

2012 - 13,   1st place, Will Sievern, piano; 2nd place, Lauren Tu, piano

2013 - 14,   1st place Joe Bricker, percussion; 2nd place, Ryan Little, horn

2014 - 15,   1st place Brannon Cho, cello, 2nd place, Esther Nyberg, piano

2015 - 16   1st place Joshua Brown, violin, 2nd place Karisa Chiu, violin

2016 - 17   1st place Maya Anjali Buchanen, violin, 2nd place Tabby Rhee, violin

Winners, please keep in touch with the SVSO. Let us know how your career is going. Email us at or through our contact page. We would love to help you publicize your career by blogging about you and liking you on Facebook. Photos are welcome!