McQuaid Jesuit Fine Arts Center

April 23-25, 2015


Official Competition Rules


  • In order to submit a complete application, all three parts must be received on or before April 10, 2015: The online application form, proof of current academic status, and a $15 non-refundable application fee.
    • Please mail these documents in a single envelope to

McQuaid Instrumental Competition

McQuaid Jesuit High School

1800 South Clinton Ave.

Rochester, NY 14618

  • Acceptable forms of documentation to prove current academic status include:
    • Letter from a school administrator on school letterhead verifying academic status
    • Tuition statement from the current academic year
    • Report card from the current academic year
    • Class schedule from current academic year
    • School ID from current academic year
      • To be considered authentic, your document must include your first and last name, a date during the current academic year, and the name of your school.
      • Please submit a legible original or photocopy of one of the following documents:
  • Alternate documentation to prove current academic status apply to home school students.  In addition to the documents listed above, the following are acceptable:
    • Book/Curriculum receipt for the current academic year.
    • Home School Charter School membership card
    • Home School Legal Defense Association membership card
    • Letter of intent to home school addressed to local school district for current school year
    • Home School ID from current academic year
  • Application Fee
    • Please enclose a personal check, bank check, or money order in the amount of $15 made out to McQuaid Jesuit High School.  Cash or other forms of payment are not accepted.
    • On the memo line, please legibly note the entrant's name and McQ Competition.
    • Failure to accurately complete the memo line may result in the delay or rejection of your application.
    • This application fee is non-refundable.
  • Students of McQuaid Jesuit High School
    • If you are a current McQuaid Jesuit student enrolled in a band, orchestra, percussion ensemble, or general music course, you are exempt from the application fee requirement.  Please include a signed note from the teacher of your course in place of the application fee.
    • McQuaid Jesuit students not currently enrolled in an ensemble or general music course must submit an application fee.
  • Large Percussion Instruments
    • Entrants using large percussion instruments such as marimbas, xylophones, or timpani wishing to use McQuaid equipment must contact the McQuaid Jesuit percussion ensemble director, Mrs. Franca-Shelley at before April 10, 2015.
  • Conflict of interest.
    • Students of competition judges are not permitted to compete.

Repertoire Selection AND ACCOMPANIMENT

  • Concert Piece
    • For the purposes of this competition, a concert piece is any piece performed by solo instrument that demonstrates the performer's technical and musical capabilities.  
    • This includes, but is not limited to concerto movements, sonata movements, or showpieces.
  • Accompaniment
    • If the composer wrote your piece with accompaniment, it must be performed with a live accompanist.  
    • Use of pre-recorded accompaniment or accompaniment software is prohibited.
    • If your piece is for an unaccompanied instrument, it does not need to be accompanied.
    • Entrants selected for the finalist recital must provide their own accompaniment.  The finalist recital will take place April 25, 2015 at 7:30 PM.
  • Bach
    • A movement of Bach is acceptable as a concert piece, however Bach is not acceptable as a technical exercise.
    • Although the benefits of performing unaccompanied Bach cannot be overemphasized, contestants are encouraged to participate using a concert piece with accompaniment.
  • Importance of each component.
    • Judges will hear portions of both works and will evaluate each competitor holistically.  Entrants are highly advised not to neglect the importance of their etude or technical exercise!
  • Arrangements, unpublished editions, or original compositions.
    • Arrangements of concert pieces are permitted.  If using an arranged piece, please make note of the arranger on the application form.  There will be no penalty to entrants using arrangements.
    • All entrants must compete using published repertoire pieces.  Handwritten editions or those using notation software will be disqualified.
  • Cadenzas
    • If a contestant's concert piece includes a cadenza, the performer may elect to perform an alternate cadenza to the one included in the edition.  In this case, clear indication in the score is required.
    • If using a standard cadenza (e.g. Kreisler cadenza for the Beethoven Violin Concerto), performers are strongly encouraged, but not required, to provide judges with notation.
    • Entrants may compete using an original or improvised cadenza.
  • Selecting alternate repertoire.
    • Changing competition repertoire selections is permissible at any time before April 1, 2015 by emailing and including the tag "APPLICATION FORM CORRECTION" in the subject.
    • Following April 10, 2015, repertoire changes will be declined.
    • If a competitor competes with different repertoire than registered, they will be immediately disqualified.
  • Concerto grossi and double concertos.
    • Entrants competing on a piece scored for multiple soloists will receive judge comments only and are not eligible for any prize monies.
  • Accompaniment for pianists.
    • McQuaid has two concert pianos.  One will be utilized for solo performers, the other for accompanists.
  • Accompaniment by private instructor.
    • Private teachers may accompany their students for the competition, but may not provide any form of instruction or direction while in the competition space.  
    • Violation of this rule is at the discretion of the judges and may not be appealed.

Judge's Copies and Markings

  • Use of original editions
    • Only entrants who supply judges with an original publisher edition of their concert piece and etude or technical exercise will be considered.  No exceptions.
    • If securing an original is impossible, please contact your private instructor or school music director.
  • Required markings and indications.
    • Measure indications at the beginning of each line of music.
    • Clear indications of any cuts, skipped repeats, or alternate endings utilized.
    • Clear markings indicating if ossia passages are performed.
  • Printed cadenzas.
    • Submission of a printed cadenza is not required.
    • If using a standard cadenza, please indicate the composer of your cadenza in the arranger line of the application.
  • Unmatched editions.
    • Performers may play from a different edition than they submit to judges, provided both are originals.
    • Please ensure all measure numbers and rehearsal letters agree between editions.
  • Performing from Memory
    • Contestants are not required to bring a reference copy for themselves if performing from memory, but it is highly recommended if the judges wish to hear a specific passage repeated.

Withdrawal or dismissal from competition

  • Submission Deadlines
    • Any incomplete applications as of the end of the school day on April 10, 2015 will be discarded.
  • Withdrawal from Competition
    • Please send withdrawal requests to with "COMPETITION WITHDRAWAL" in the subject line.  Please expect a follow-up confirmation via an alternate contact method to verify your intent to withdraw.
    • All withdrawals forfeit their application fee, regardless of reason.
    • Withdrawals from competition submitted before April 10, 2015 will be processed without penalty.
    • Withdrawals submitted between April 10, 2015 and April 19, 2015 will be banned from competition the subsequent year.
    • Withdrawals from competition following April 20, 2015 will be banned from competition permanently.
    • No-shows or withdrawals on competition days will be banned from competition permanently.
  • Sickness, Family Emergencies, and Acts of God.
    • Any contests to competition bans will be reviewed on a per-case basis.  Please email with "BAN APPEAL" in the subject line if a situation arises.
  • Fair Competition and Professionalism
    • Entrants are expected to maintain an attitude of professionalism and courtesy throughout the competition event.  Any competitor, parent, teacher, or accompanist who intentionally hinders another entrant's ability to perform will be subject to immediate dismissal from the competition.
    • Any damages that occur to competitor instruments due to neglect or mistreatment are not the responsibility of McQuaid Jesuit High School or the McQuaid Jesuit Instrumental Competition.  The school or competition may not be held liable for any damages.
    • Damages that occur to competitor instruments, music, or persons due to malice or sabotage will result in the immediate dismissal of the offender from the competition and permanent ban on further involvement.  McQuaid Jesuit High School or the McQuaid Jesuit Instrumental Competition may not be held liable for any damages.  Competitors are strongly encouraged to keep their belongings with them at all times.

Judging and Prizes

  • Competition Evaluation
    • Each competitor will perform for a panel of three judges who are established professional musicians.  Each judge will provide the entrant with a score of 0-50, based on the following attributes of his or her playing:
      • Posture and set-up
      • Tone production and variance
      • Rhythmic stability
      • Technical facility and proficiency 
      • Musicality and interpretation
      • Stage presence and confidence
    • In addition to scoring numbers, judges may provide entrants with written comments.
    • At the end of each round, judge scores are averaged together for final scoring and ranking.
    • Scores for the preliminary round are not averaged with finalist recital scores.  Each round is scored as a separate event.
    • Only individual scores will be released to entrants; final competition ranking information will not be provided.
  • Finalist Recital
    • Competitors scoring in the top 7-12 places, at the judges and competition organizer's discretion, will be eligible for participation in the finalist recital.
    • In the event that a contestant withdraws from the finalist recital, alternate entrants may be selected.
    • All competitors, including those who did not progress past the preliminary round, are strongly encouraged to attend the finalist recital and vote for the Audience Choice Award.
  • Awarding of Prizes
    • The Grand Prize winner will be awarded to the competitor who has the highest averaged score from the finalist recital.
    • The Outstanding McQuaid Student Prize will be awarded to the highest scoring McQuaid student, regardless whether he competes in the finalist recital.
    • The Audience Choice Prize will be awarded to the most frequently voted competitor as selected via audience ballot.  In the event of a tie, the highest scoring entrant will be awarded the prize.
    • Checks made out to the winners will be awarded after final scoring at the finalist recital.
    • Winners names and awards will be engraved on a plaque outside the McQuaid Fine Arts Center following the competition.
  • Winning multiple prizes
    • A single entrant may win multiple awards in the course of one competition year.
  • Competing in subsequent years
    • Grand Prize winners may not compete in the McQuaid Instrumental Competition again.
    • Winners of any prize excluding the Grand Prize may compete in the McQuaid Instrumental Competition again, but will be ineligible to win previously achieved awards.

Entrant Questions

  • I made a mistake on my application form.  How can I correct it?
    • Please email with the "APPLICATION FORM CORRECTION" in the subject line and describe your error.  Corrections must be received before April 10, 2015 to be considered.
  • My question was not answered in the rules above.  How can I contact the competition directly?
    • Email the McQuaid Instrumental Competition at with your questions.
    • Please allow 1-2 school days for a reply.
  • Do I need an accompanist for the finalist recital?
    • If you are selected to perform in the finalist recital and your piece was composed with accompaniment, you must perform with accompaniment for both the preliminary round and finalist recital.