The Montana Association of Symphony Orchestras (MASO)  believes in continuing our work by investing in the next generation of musicians. In order to help encourage the development of today’s young musicians we established the bi-annual Young Artist Competition in 1991. Originally envisioned as both a performance showcase and a scholarship opportunity, our ultimate hope is that this competition inspires Montana’s young musicians to pursue their dreams and aspire to professional heights.

Each year that MASO holds this competition, up-and-coming young musicians from across the state compete for the unique opportunity to perform as a soloist in concert with one of Montana's orchestras. This is a valuable chance for young musicians to make a professional debut—something many accomplished artists wait years for. Finalists are invited to the live competition (virtual this year) to perform before three out-of-state judges in the junior, senior, and college divisions.

Any musician between the ages of 13 and 22 who plays an orchestral instrument is invited to enter and compete. Participants must be Montana residents, and past winners of this competition are ineligible to compete again in the same division. Musicians apply by submitting an application describing their musical experience along with an audio file of the selection they intend to perform at the competition. These applications are divided into the three divisions and then sent out to MASO screening judges for evaluation. Recommendations from the screening judges are then forwarded on. Three nationally recognized judges adjudicate the live performances and award prizes.

Regardless of whether a student wins or not, the experience of the competition builds stronger musicians, encourages them to always strive for excellence, and fosters leadership qualities and confidence in their performance skills. Those present for the competition have the privilege of hearing some of Montana’s finest musical talent and are left inspired by the amazing accomplishments of these young musicians.

The finals of the competition will be held (virtually) next year on January 9th, 2021. The application platform is currently open, online, and can be accessed through MASO's website here: