Marie Stillwell Young Artists' Competition

Annually, the ASO hosts the Marie Stillwell Young Artists' Competition.  This competition, also known as the ASO's Young Artists' Competition, is designed to recognize talented young musicians by providing them with scholarship awards to further their musical education, as well as offer them the opportunity to perform in concert with the Alton Symphony Orchestra.  Contestants 12 years of age and younger are eligible for the Deborah Fox Guild award.

For the 2020-2021 Season, the competition will be by video submission only. The ASO is committed to the health and safety of all its members and participants in our educational outreach programs. Video submission will be on the form application page. The deadline for applications, payment, score submission, and videos is Friday, November 20, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.

Competition winners will not be participating in person with the ASO. Instead, we will ask for a high quality video of the winners performing with their accompanist. The video will accompany the online performance on their corresponding concert date. The competition rules have changed slightly due to these new guidelines, please read through them carefully.

Competition Awards
Awards will be issued for the following three categories:

  • First Place:  Cash award of $300.  Pre-Recorded online performance on February 21, 2021 with the Alton Symphony Orchestra.

  • First place runner-up:  Cash award of $200.

  • Deborah Fox Guild:  Award of $100.  Pre-recorded online performance on December 5, 2020 with the Alton Symphony Orchestra.

Competition Rules

  • Contestants can be any age, up to the maximum age of 21 for instrumentalists, and 24 for vocalists.

  • Contestants are to be full time students with a private instructor.

  • Contestants must reside within a 125 mile radius of Alton, Illinois.

  • Each contestant shall perform the first or last movement of any standard concerto or concert piece that has orchestral accompaniment.  Vocalists may use standard operatic literature with orchestral accompaniment.

  • Contestants shall provide the adjudication panel with 1 scanned copy of the music score submitted at time of application. 

  • Audition performance does not have to be memorized; however, First Place, and Guild Contest winners will be expected to perform from memory in the pre-recorded performance with the orchestra.

  • Contestants are expected to provide their own accompaniment for the auditions.  Pianists are to perform with a second piano (orchestral) accompaniment.

  • No previous first place winner may compete.  Runners-up and Guild Award winners are allowed to compete.

The competition winners will be notified the evening of November 21, 2020.  Upon request, winners will be required to email a high resolution digital photo and a soloist biography to  The pre-recorded submission for the concert will require memorized music and formal attire. 


This program is sponsored in part by the Alton Community Service League, the Jacoby Foundation, Alton Foundation, and a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

Applications for the season are now closed.