Rules & Regulations


- Age: Contestants must be 18-30 years old (must be 18 y/o or not have reached 31st birthday by Friday, December 31, 2023)
- Must be a current resident or citizen of the United States. Proof of citizenship is required. 
- If not a citizen, a copy of your Student Visa or Green Card is required with entry.
- Must be able to commit to ASO performance on 2024-2025 Season, returning to Allentown 2025 (Date subject to change)
- Must comply with the Allentown Symphony Association vaccine mandates for COVID-19. Proof of vaccination is required.
- Competition is not open to prior first-place winners of the Schadt String Competition.


- First Place: $12,000 including a solo performance with the Allentown Symphony Orchestra in the 2025 season
- Second Place: $5,000 including a solo recital performance in Allentown on March 2, 2025,
- Third Place: $2,500


PART I - Two contrasting movements of an unaccompanied piece by J.S. Bach.

PART 2 - Any major Cello concerto of your choice (including all movements) recorded with piano accompaniment
Note: Orchestral accompaniment will not be accepted. Please omit repeats. Long tutti sections may be omitted.

PART 3 - Accompanied Sonata of your choice (complete)


- A "blind" panel of three judges will select a maximum of 9 semifinalists on the basis of recordings submitted
- Notification of placement in the semifinals will take place within a week after the preliminary round.


- The semifinals will be held at Miller Symphony Hall in Allentown, Pennsylvania, the first Saturday in March.
- Semifinalists will be expected to arrive in Allentown the Thursday before and should arrange to stay through Sunday evening.
- All semifinalists must pay for their own travel to Allentown for the semifinals and finals. Housing with host families and local transportation will be provided for contestants for their entire stay. Host family accommodations, transportation, and other hospitality events are only provided for semifinalists. Family and friends of the semifinalists are welcome to attend the Finals round on Sunday at 2:00 pm as it is a public recital.
- Individual competition day and times will be assigned by the competition committee and will not be subject to change. 
- The Allentown Symphony Association will provide professional accompanists. Rehearsal time with the accompanists will be scheduled for the Friday before the semifinals. Contestants may not bring their own accompanists. 
- All semifinalists must bring their own music, including piano accompaniment.
- All semifinalists must email copies of music in advance for the judges.
- Each semifinalist must perform the same selections that they submitted with their application. All selections must be memorized except for the sonata.
- The audition time for each semifinalist will not exceed 40 minutes. Please feel free to omit repeats and shorten any orchestral "tutti" for the sake of time.


- Three of the semifinalists will be chosen to compete in the finals round on the first Sunday in March. The finals will be presented as a public recital at Miller Symphony Hall at 2:00 pm.
- Finalists will perform only their concerto in its entirety at the public recital including all repeats and orchestral tuttis.
- All decisions of the judges will be final. Judges reserve the right to award no prizes if it is felt that no contestant attains the standards set by this competition. 
- All semifinalists and finalists will be publicly recognized prior to the presentation of the prize awards. The remaining semifinalists will receive a cash award of $100 at the Finals Round on Sunday. Semifinalists must be present at the finals to claim the award. 


The pieces played for the semi and final rounds must be the same as those submitted for the preliminary round.  The Bach and the Concerto must be played from memory; contestants may use music for the Sonata portion of the competition.
Contestants must send a copy of their music for the judges and for the accompanists. 


All contestants will be provided one hour of rehearsal time with an accompanist on the Friday of the competition weekend. The Schadt String Competition will provide accompanists of very high caliber; contestants may not bring their own accompanist. Contestants must bring a copy of the piano music for the accompanists. Rehearsals are closed; no one but proctors, Schadt Competition committee members, and ASA staff will be allowed in Symphony Hall.


Each semifinalist will be given forty minutes to perform. 
Semifinalists are encouraged to dress appropriately in performance attire.
Judges will listen to the concerto, all or selected portions of Bach, and the sonata.
The judges may interrupt the performer at any time during the performance.
This is a closed round, no one except judges and proctors will be allowed in Symphony Hall.


Each finalist will perform his/her entire concerto uninterrupted (additional material may be requested each year, and all contestants will be notified at least one month in advance).
This round will be conducted in a public concert
Finalists must dress in formal concert attire.


Competitors will be escorted by a proctor into Symphony Hall for the semifinal round. Following your performance, you will be asked to clear the hall for the next contestant.
There will be a five-minute break between each contestant. No contestants are permitted to watch the rehearsals or semifinal round of any other contestant. All contestants are strongly encouraged to attend the Finals Competition and will be recognized from stage. A $100 participation prize is awarded to all semifinalists who attend the finals.


The usual dress for the semifinal and final rounds is afternoon concert dress. Typically for men, this is a suit and tie; women, a knee length or long dress or pants suit. 


The Allentown Symphony Association and the Schadt String Competition retain all broadcast performance rights to performances recorded during the competition. Finals competitions are always recorded for archival purposes.


The Schadt String Competition will provide housing for all contestants with area host families. Families are prepared to host contestants from Thursday through Monday.  
As soon as assignments are made, contestants will be notified where they will be staying. Host family accommodations, transportation, and other hospitality events are provided ONLY for semifinalists.
Family and friends of the semifinalists are welcome to attend the Finals round on Sunday at 2 pm as it is a public recital, but all other competition events are closed. 

Members and Friends of the Allentown Symphony Association may host special dinners or events for semifinalists. We require that all contestants attend the dinners if they are able.