The West Chester University Annual Pre-Collegiate Piano Competition, now it its 33rd year, strives to provide students ages 9-18 with performing opportunities and raise the standard of excellence of young pianists. This is a national competition with no geographic restrictions. There are three age groups with up to five cash prizes awarded in each group. Information regarding repertoire requirements, newly increased prize award amounts, and how to apply is found below.

This year's competition will take place on Saturday, April 1, 2023 in Swope Music Building on our beautiful West Chester University Campus. The Wells School of Music is excited to bring in Jacobs Music this year as a co-sponsor of this event.

On Sunday, April 16, 2023 in our Ware Family Recital Hall a Recital & Awards Presentation will include performances by the first, second, and third place winner in each group and must be attended by all Honorable Mention winners. Absences in either category will result in cancellation of the award.

**New in 2023 on April 16, a masterclass will be held in the Ware Family Recital Hall from 12:30pm – 2:30pm prior to the Recital & Awards Presentation from 3:00pm-4:30pm. The masterclass will be conducted by one of our esteemed Wells School of Music keyboard faculty members. Students who receive honorable mentions will be invited to perform in the masterclass.

Wells School of Music - West Chester University Co-Sponsored By Jacobs Music Since 1900 - 'Offering the finest painos in every price range'

2023 Pre-Collegiate Piano Competition

Repertoire Requirements

  1. Two pieces from the standard solo literature (Baroque, Classical, Romantic, 20th or 21st Century)
  2. The two pieces must be from different periods and contrasting in style
  3. Beginner level pieces are not acceptable
  4. In the 16 -18 age group, a third piece may be added to meet the minimum 20 minute playing time. A third piece must follow the guidelines in 1 & 2 above.
  5. Pieces requiring anything to be put inside the piano or on the strings are not acceptable
  6. No arrangements
Age 16-18 13-15 9-12
Time Requirement Minimum 20 Minutes
Maximum 30 Minutes
Maximum 17 minutes Maximum 12 minutes

Students are advised that the judges may stop anyone who exceeds the maximum playing time, and may stop any student whose skill level is sufficiently demonstrated before the conclusion of a piece.

Competition time assignments will be sent to all applicants the week of March 13, 2023.

Competitions Guidelines

  • A $100 non-refundable entry fee is required
  • Music must be performed from memory
  • Winners from 2022 may reapply for 2023 in their appropriate age group
  • Previous entrants may reapply, but not with the same pieces
  • No audition recordings required
  • Applicants must supply one publisher's copy of each of their pieces for the judges
  • No photocopies allowed
  • Applicants must be within the given age ranges as of April 1, 2023, and may not be in college


16-18 Years Old

  • 1st Place - $2,000
  • 2nd Place - $700
  • 3rd Place - $300
  • Honorable Mention - $100

13-15 Years Old

  • 1st Place - $1,000
  • 2nd Place - $350
  • 3rd Place - $200
  • Honorable Mention - $75

9-12 Years Old

  • 1st Place - $500
  • 2nd Place - $250
  • 3rd Place - $150
  • Honorable Mention - $50

*Up to two Honorable Mention Awards in each age group will be given at the discretion of the judges

How to Apply

Register online and pay with a credit card (Registration closes on February 26, 2023 at midnight).

For additional information regarding registration or competition guidelines, please contact Joan Stalford, Administrative Assistant for the Departments of Ensembles & Conducting, Instrumental Music, and Vocal & Keyboard Music, at | 610-436-2921

Back to top of page.