About the Competition

The Ann Keller Young Soloist Competition is an opportunity for serious pianists and instrumentalists, grade 9-12. Contestants compete for a first place prize of $250, a performance of their contest piece with the Nittany Valley Symphony at the family concert, a professionally-recorded CD of the concert, complimentary tickets for immediate family, and a framed certificate. The second place prize is $100.

This competition is named in honor of the woman to whom we owe the birth of the Nittany Valley Symphony over 50 years ago, Ann Keller. Her tireless efforts organized the Symphony to perform in concerts and in schools to add to the musical growth of the community. Sponsored by the The NVS Guild, this competition is currently chaired by Teri Smith.

The next competition will take place Sunday, October 27, 2019.

Contest RULES

  1. Open to students grades 9-12, instruments only.

  2. Students must live in the following counties: Centre, Blair, Clearfield, Clinton, Huntingdon, Mifflin, Snyder, Lycoming, or Union.

  3. Music should be one movement of a concerto or concert piece with an existing orchestral part not exceeding 12 minutes in length. Memorization is required for pianists and strings, and is strongly recommended for other instruments. Michael Jinbo, Music Director, reserves the right to decide the feasibility and suitability of the piece. Winner MUST play the piece auditioned with.

  4. Accompanists must be provided for all instruments by the contestant. Three copies of your music with measures numbered may be needed for the judges, one of which must be an original. All photocopies are destroyed afterwards. Piano reduction scores are preferred, not just the solo line.

  5. Coats and ties for men and dresses or skirts are competition dress. A Tux, dark suit, or long gown is standard for concert attire.

  6. Contestants are asked to return at 5:00 p.m. for awarding prizes.

  7. No student may have access to the piano before the auditions.

  8. First place winners may not compete the following year on any instrument.

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Congratulations to the 2018 Ann Keller Young Soloist winner,
Ellie Kim! 

Five incredibly talented young musicians participated in our competition this year, held on November 11. Competition winner,  Ellie Kim, piano, performed Concerto #2 in F minor, Op. 21, mvt. I by Frederic Chopin with the Nittany Valley Symphony at our Family Concert on February 24, 2019.


2018-19 Competition contestants

Ellie Kim (1st place) – Ellie is a senior at State College Area High School and studies piano with Christopher Guzman

Anisha Prabhu – Anisha is a sophomore at State College Area High School and studies with Sally Williams Minnich

Michael Fisher (2nd place) – Michael is a sophomore at Williamsport Area High School and studies with James Lyon

John Rose – John is a senior at Hollidaysburg Area High School and studies with Carol Lyon

Ananya Tadigadapa – Ananya is a sophomore at State College Area High School and studies with Naomi Seidman

Previous Young Soloists