For over a century, the Pacific Musical Society & Foundation has nurtured the growth of gifted musicians by awarding merit-based scholarships to promising students in the Bay Area and surrounding regions. Each year we hold a competition for instrumentalists, pianists, vocalists, chamber groups, and composers in various age categories. For most categories, the competition requires entrants demonstrate significant musical skill and versatility by performing a variety of selections in styles from baroque to modern. Finalists are selected and perform for our competition judges and the public in an exciting live finals. Winners receive scholarship awards to support their ongoing musical education.

For the 2020 competition, we have made significant changes to the competition format to provide a more visible showcase for competition finalists and winners and to help make time constraints more manageable for busy students. Please see the entry information for more details.

See highlights of the stellar performances from the 2019 Competition Finals below: 


2019 Competition Winners

2018 Competition Winners

Photos and Videos from our 2017 Winners Concert

Sample List of Past Winners (2009-2017)

2020 Competition Entry Information

Welcome to the Pacific Musical Society & Foundation's 2020 Scholarship Competition. The Society is committed to helping young musicians develop their talent through awarding merit-based scholarships.

Please Note: Important Changes for 2020

Over the last year we have been working hard to evolve the competition format in order to help make time constraints more manageable for busy students and to provide a more visible showcase for competition finalists and winners. Thus we are excited to announce several changes for this year:

  • The Competition Finals and Winners’ Concert will be merged into a combined Live Finals and Winners Showcase. This will be a public performance event, held in the main hall at the Herbst Theater in San Francisco.
  • Competition finalists will perform in front of a live audience (as well as the judging panel), and winners will be announced at the end of each category.
  • This year’s finalists will be required to perform one submitted piece in its entirety for the judges, in addition to selections from others.
  • All Finalists will receive professionally-recorded videos of their performances.
  • We have introduced a non-binding pre-registration deadline to help us better plan for the Finals.

The pre-registration deadline for the 2020 Competition is December 1, 2019. The application and video submission deadline is January 12, 2020.

Download the Competition Information Pack
Pre-register before December 1, 2019

Instructions to Applicants:
Please read these instructions in their entirety.

You must pre-register by December 1, 2019 by filling out this pre-registration form. 
Pre-registration is not binding (you can decide not to participate even if you have pre-registered, but you may not decide to participate later if you have not pre-registered).

Once you have pre-registered, complete final application steps below and submit your application fee by January 12, 2020.


Participation in the competition requires an application fee of $80.00. Submit your non-refundable fee of $80.00 via PayPal in advance of the January 12, 2020 final application deadline.


Upload your video submissions to YouTube. All your videos must be uploaded to YouTube before they can be entered in the competition. Each piece you're submitting must be uploaded separately (for example, if you are applying for a piano competition, you will upload four separate videos). Log into your YouTube account, and upload your video submissions to your account. You must mark your videos as Public or Unlisted on YouTube for them to be available to enter in the competition. Children may have their videos submitted through a parent's account.


Complete and submit the online application form by 11:59pm on January 12, 2020. The form will ask you to supply links to the YouTube videos you uploaded in Step 2, so please have those handy.


We are pleased to announce that our 2020 Annual Competition is open for submissions! There are several key changes this year, including a new non-binding pre-registration requirement, and changes to the structure of the live events. Click here for full details and entry information. 

Pre-registration must be completed by 11:59pm on December 1, 2019. Final applications must be submitted by 11:59pm on January 12, 2020.

The combined Live Finals and Winners Showcase will be held on March 8, 2020 in the Main Hall at the Herbst Theater in San Francisco, from 9am to 8pm.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q: Can a selection be an excerpt or partial work?

    A: Each selection must be a complete movement or complete work in itself.

  • Q: What composers are considered Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and 20th Century?


    Lists of Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and 20th Century composers are available on Wikipedia. Please note that for the 20th Century category, compositions must be written after 1915.

  • Q: Do I need to pre-register? What if I change my mind after pre-registering?


    Starting with the 2020 Competition, we are requiring applicants to pre-register in advance of the final submission deadline. All applicants who wish to be considered in the competition must pre-register by the December 1, 2020 pre-registration deadline.

    Pre-registration is not binding. If an applicant decides not to compete after pre-registering, they can simply not complete the final application process.

    Note that repertoire selections, video uploads, and the application fee need not be provided until the final application deadline in January 2020.

  • Q: Which instruments are included in the 'instrumental' category?


    Orchestral string instruments only. Woodwinds, harp, and guitar have been eliminated from this category in 2019.

  • Q: Can multiple contestants apply together?

    A: For the chamber music category, each group should submit one application, and designate one member of the group as the primary applicant and point of contact for communication. For all other categories, each contestant must apply separately. If an applicant wishes to compete in multiple categories, they should apply to each category separately and pay a separate application fee for each category.

  • Q: Must all works be memorized?

    A: With the exception of the chamber music category, where music does not need to be memorized, in all other categories all works must be memorized and performed from memory in the video submissions and live finals.

  • Q: For accompanied works, must they be performed with accompaniment?

    A: Yes, all accompanied works must be played as such in the video submissions and live finals.