Piano keys

2019 Piano Competition  | Preliminary Rounds & Finals



Application Deadline: May 6, 2019


Preliminary Rounds:
Saturday, June 8 from 9:00am to 3:00pm
Sunday, June 9 from 9:00 am to 3:00pm

Free and open to the public

Final Round: Saturday, June 15 at 3:00 pm
Tickets required


Final Round Tickets: $25 | $15 Students

Siblings of finalists free

General admission seating

Approximate end time: 6 pm

Clark Music Center
The Lawrenceville School, Lawrenceville



Jacobs MusicSponsored by Jacobs Music, the region’s exclusive retailer of Steinway & Sons pianos, also representing Yamaha and other fine pianos.


2018 Competition Winners: (from left) Sophie Zhang, Shai Zohar-Natanel, Vishal Raman, Andrew Yu, Maxim Krueger, and Randy Brown from sponsor Jacobs Music (photo by Jessi Franko Designs LLC)

Prizes & Awards

Student Awards

  • Elementary Artists (ages 6-9): Certificate, challenge trophy, and cash prize of $100
  • Intermediate Artists (ages 10-12): Certificate, challenge trophy, and cash prize of $150
  • Junior Artists (ages 13-15): Certificate, challenge trophy, and cash prize of $200
  • Senior Artists (ages 16-18): Certificate, challenge trophy, and cash prize of $500
  • Piano Four-Hands (under 25): Certificate, challenge trophy, and cash prize of $400
  • Open Class (under 25): Certificate, challenge trophy, and cash prize of $1000

Special Award

The Richard L. Tang Yuk Award will be presented to one participant for an outstanding performance, independent of the class in which he or she competed.


Repertoire for the 2019 competition will be announced shortly. The repertoire for the 2018 competition is listed below.

Contestants must play one selection from the pieces specified for that category.

Note: The Princeton Festival does not encourage or endorse the use of photocopied music. It is the contestant’s responsibility to ensure that any music downloaded from internet sources is in the public domain in the USA.

Elementary Artists (ages 6-9)

  • Bach: Overture in F, BWV 820, Bourrée (with repeats)
  • Haydn: Divertimento-Sonata in G major, Hob XVI/G1, Allegro (no repeats)
  • Prokofiev: Music for Children, Op. 65, No.4, A Tarantelle

Intermediate Artists (ages 10-12)

  • Mozart: Sonata in C major, K.545, Rondo
  • Grieg: Lyric Suite, Book X, Op. 71, No.3, Puck
  • Bartok: Sonatina, Sz. 55, first movement

 Junior Artists (ages 13-15)

  • Ravel: Valses Nobles et Sentimentales, Presque lent – dans un sentiment intime
  • Calixa: Le Papillon, Op. 18
  • Schumann: Faschingsschwank aus Wien, Op. 26, No. 4, Intermezzo

 Senior Artists (ages 16-18)

  • Medtner: Three Arabesques, Op. 7, Idyll No. 1
  • Chopin: Polonaise in D minor, Op. 71, No. 1
  • Albeniz: Iberia, Book 2, Triana

 Piano Four-Hands (under 25)

  • Brahms: Hungarian Dance No. 20 in E minor
  • Debussy: Petite Suite, En Bateau
  • Massenet: Premiere Suite, Op. 11, No. 1, Andante

 Open Class (under 25)

The Open Class is designed to allow outstanding emerging artists to compete outside of an age restricted class. The level of performance expected in the Open Category is at or above the ABRSM Diploma level. Parents and teachers are advised to consider whether entering this class is appropriate for their child/student.

The contestant must choose one solo work (not a concerto, not a test piece from another category) of under 10 minutes from the list of composers below.

Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Ginastera, Kabalevsky, Liszt, Messiaen, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Schubert, Schumann, Scriabin, Villa Lobos, or an original composition (not an arrangement) by any contemporary composer

10 minutes is the maximum time allotted, not the goal. Performances lasting longer than 10 minutes will be disqualified.

Contestants in the Open Category may also enter another age-specific class with payment of the application fee for each class entered.

The contestant must email [email protected] no later than on Saturday, May 18, 2019 to specify their piece. No repertoire changes will be permitted once the choice is submitted. The contestant must provide two (2) copies of his or her piece for the adjudicators on the day of the competition.

One movement of a sonata, or a suite may be performed in this category as long as it falls within the time limit. Movements of concerti are not eligible for this class.


  1. The Princeton Festival Piano Competition is open to pianists of any nationality or state of residence.
  2. Pianists may enter more than one category according to their age on June 15, 2019.
  3. Contestants who are students or relatives of the adjudicators may not enter the competition.

General Information and Rules

Schedule and Location

  1. The 2019 Princeton Festival Piano Competition preliminaries will be held on Saturday, June 8 and Sunday, June 9, 2019, with the finals at 3:00 pm on Saturday, June 15, 2019. Three performers in each category will advance to the final round.
  2. The competition will take place at the Clark Music Center at the Lawrenceville School on Route 206 in Lawrenceville, NJ.
  3. There is no pre-screening. Everyone who applies and pays the fee is automatically accepted into the preliminary round of the competition.
  4. By applying to the competition, performers, teachers and parents understand that the student must be available to perform at his or her scheduled time on Saturday, June 8 and/or Sunday June 9, 2019 for the preliminary round, and finalists must be available from 2:00 pm on Saturday, June 15, 2019. The preliminary round may take all day; therefore applicants must keep the entire day on both dates open until you receive your scheduled time.
  5. An official of The Princeton Festival will set all schedules. Scheduling of specific time slots will take place after the deadline for applications, May 6, 2019. Contestants may not choose their performance time slot.
  6. Once scheduled for the preliminary round, no changes in the date and time may be made. Contestants may not swap times with other performers. The competition manager reserves the right to arrange times within Categories. Competitors are required to arrive and register 20 minutes before their scheduled start time. It is the responsibility of the competitor to allow adequate travel time.
  7. Late arrivals cannot be accommodated.
  8. All rounds of the competition will be open to the public. There is no charge to attend the preliminary rounds; the final round is a ticketed event.


  1. Contestants in the Open Class may submit an application on or before the May 6, 2019 deadline without specifying a piece. However, the contestant must specify the piece they will be playing no later than Saturday, May 18, 2019. The piece may not be a test piece from another category. No repertoire changes will be permitted once the choice is submitted.
  2. Contestants of all age categories other than the Open Class need not specify which piece they will play until the day of the competition preliminaries.
  3. No repertoire exceptions are allowed. Each competitor must prepare one piece from the list provided for that age category.
  4. The test piece must be performed from memory and in its entirety, with the exception of the Four-Hands category where using music is permitted.


  1. The competition will be judged by two professional pianists/teachers appointed by the Artistic Director of The Princeton Festival. The identity of the adjudicators will not be revealed to the applicants prior to the competition.
  2. The adjudicators will only know the contestants by a randomly selected number until the results of the finals are announced.
  3. Contestants, teachers, parents and relatives are not permitted to have any contact with the adjudicators by any means until after the end of the finals.
  4. Contestants, teachers, parents and relatives may not reveal the name of a contestant’s teacher to the Adjudication Panel until after winners are announced at the finals. Failure to comply with this may result in disqualification.
  5. In the event that there are too few applicants in a particular age group, the adjudicators may advance those applicants directly to the finals.
  6. The adjudicators reserve the right to declare no winner in any category, as they deem appropriate.
  7. The adjudicators may provide a few general oral comments after the preliminary round of each age category, before the finalists for that category are announced.
  8. Written comments from the adjudicators will be emailed to all teachers following the preliminary round of the competition.
  9. The adjudicators’ decisions are final and may not be challenged.


  1. The piano used for all rounds of the competition is a Steinway model B or D.
  2. Limited practice/warm up rooms are available for the competition on a first come-first served basis. Competitors will be asked to limit their time to 10 minutes if other competitors are waiting for practice space.
  3. Practice on the piano used for the competition is not possible, as it is impractical to provide equal practice time to all contestants on the instrument. However, on the day of the finals, if requested, finalists will be permitted a strictly enforced period of 5 minutes to acclimate to the instrument prior to the start of the final round of the competition.

Additional Rules & Regulations

  1. All contestants must give credit for all awards/prizes won at The Princeton Festival Piano Competition in all future publicity.
  2. The competition reserves the right, without payment of fees, to record and distribute recordings for media and other purposes, including via the Internet, and to televise, broadcast, film, record, videotape, photograph or live stream all stages of the competition.
  3. Contestants are financially responsible for their travel to and from the competition.
  4. Housing is not provided. However, the Festival staff can assist with finding housing for out-of-town competitors.
  5. By applying to the competition, performers agree to abide by all the rules and regulations of The Princeton Festival Piano Competition. Applicants will be disqualified at any phase of the competition when non-compliance with any part of the rules and regulations occurs or is discovered.
  6. The competition reserves the right to make necessary changes as circumstances dictate.

Questions regarding any aspect of the competition should be addressed to [email protected] and should be submitted by the teacher.

Application Procedure

Application Deadline

  1. The deadline for online applications, including electronic submission of supporting materials, is 11:59 pm on Monday, May 6, 2019.
  2. You will receive an auto email response acknowledging receipt of your application.

Application Fee

The application fee for each category is $50 (for the four hands category, it is one $50 fee), and $65 for the Open Category.

Application Form – including payment and submission of supporting materials

Applications must be submitted online. Applicants wishing to enter more than one category may do so on a single form. Acknowledgment of receipt of the Application Form will be sent automatically to the parent by email.

You will need the following information at hand in order to submit the Application:

  • Teacher’s contact information – phone, email and address
  • Supporting materials – Digital files (DOC/DOCX, JPG/JPEG, PDF, XLS/XLSX) for proof of age and the biography of the artist are required attachments for the form to be submitted
  • Payment – through PayPal, which also accepts credit cards

The fee for each category must be paid through PayPal, which also accepts MasterCard, VISA, Discover or American Express; no PayPal account is required. This fee is non-refundable even if the contestant withdraws from the competition.

Please read these rules carefully before emailing [email protected] with any further questions.

Thank you for your interest!