National Centre for Early Music

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National Centre for Early Music, York
11, 12 & 13 July 2013

York Early Music Festival invites applications from ensembles to take part in the York Early Music International Young Artists Competition. The Competition will take place at the National Centre for Early Music from 11 to13 July 2013, as part of the 2013 York Early Music Festival.

The Competition is supported by the National Centre for Early Music, BBC Radio 3 and Arts Council England, Yorkshire.

First Prize: 
  • £1,000
  • a concert as part of the 2014 York Early Music Festival
  • a CD recording professionally produced by Linn Records
  • the winning ensemble will be recorded and featured on BBC Radio 3's The Early Music Show
EUBO Development Trust Prize for the most promising young artist/s
  • £1,000 to be awarded by the jury either to the most promising individual instrumentalist or to the most promising ensemble.  To be eligible for the prize, an individual must be both an EU national and an orchestral instrumentalist; an ensemble must consist of at least 50% EU nationals and 50% instrumentalists. 
YEMF Friends Prize
  • A cash prize awarded by the Friends of the York Early Music Festival to their chosen ensemble.

Please note that a condition of acceptance of any of these prizes is that the winners include mention of the name of the relevant prize in their biographies and website for a minimum period of 5 years from the date of the Competition.

  • The Final of the Competition will be judged by an international panel of performers and promoters.  This panel (as well as the audience) regularly includes representatives of the broadcasting, recording, festival and music promotion worlds who see the Competition as a prime opportunity to identify and select new and promising young talent. The Competition can thus be a key stage on the way to national and international recognition for young performers. 


Size of ensemble
  • Ensembles (instrumental and/or vocal, in any combination) must have a minimum of two persons.  Soloists are not eligible.
  • There is no restriction to the maximum number in the ensemble but competitors should be aware that future professional viability may be limited for larger groups.
  • Applications are welcomed from ensembles of all nationalities.
  • There is no restriction to the number of ensembles that any individual can take part in.
Age of entrants
  • All members of the ensemble must be aged over 17 and under 35 on 13 July 2013.
Style of repertory
  • Competitors must perform repertory from the period ranging from the middle ages to the nineteenth century using appropriate historically informed playing techniques, instruments and stylistic conventions.



Entries must be received no later than Friday 25 January 2013 at 5pm UK time. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.

Applications must include:
  • a completed application form
  • An unedited CD on which should be given the date and place of recording and contents.  MP3 files will not be accepted. Please note that the CD must be posted in good time to ensure delivery at the NCEM no later than Friday 25 January 2013.
  • The CD recording must feature only the people who will take part in the Competition.  All individual members of the ensemble must be included on the CD, though not necessarily on every track.
    The timing and content of the CD is up to each ensemble but should demonstrate the group's diversity and range of repertoire.  It may include music related to the proposed Competition programme, but this is not obligatory.
  • programme details for both the preliminary and final recitals.  They must include the title of each recital; full names of composers with dates; full titles of pieces; titles of movements; full names of musicians and instruments.  Care should be taken to ensure that these details are accurate as they will be printed in the Festival brochure if your application is successful.
  • Fee  A non-refundable fee of £100 per ensemble is charged to enter the Competition. 
  • Entry fees must be paid by PayPal.  Just click on the button on the Applications page and follow the instructions.
    Please note that for applications to be valid, payment must be received before the closing date
  • a biography of the ensemble (ie not individuals), maximum 200 words.
  • a letter of recommendation from a prominent personality in musical life (such as a teacher or professional musician).
  • two recent photographs of the ensemble (not individuals) in high-resolution jpg. 
  • proof of age of each member of the ensemble (such as a copy of birth certificate, passport or similar official document).

Applications should be returned preferably by email with scanned attachments, apart from the CD which must be sent by post, or delivered by hand, in time to arrive at the NCEM no later than Friday 25 January 2013.

Applications should be sent to:  The Music Administrator; National Centre for Early Music, St Margaret's Church, Walmgate, York YO1 9TL  Tel:+44 [0] 1904 632220  or emailed to   



Initial selection process
Finalists will be selected on the basis of their CD.  No-one will be expected to come to York at this stage.

Successful entrants will be notified of their selection as finalists by Friday 15 February 2013.

Finalists will be invited to come to York from 10 to 13 July.  Rehearsal space at the NCEM will be available from Wednesday 10 July and rehearsal times will be allocated equally to each ensemble.  Finalists will perform twice as part of the York Early Music Festival.  All performances will be open to the public and will take place at the National Centre for Early Music.

Preliminary recitals - Thursday 11 and Friday 12 July 2013
  • Finalists will present an informal 20-minute recital in front of a public audience, but not in front of the panel of judges.
  • These recitals will be introduced to the audience by baritone Richard Jackson who will invite the musicians to explore aspects of their performance with the aim of increasing their confidence and performance skills. 

Final - Saturday 13 July 2013
  • The Competition Final will take place throughout the day
  • Each ensemble will present a 20-minute programme (this is playing time and does not include tuning or preparation) in front of the panel of judges and a public audience.
  • The programme for the Final must be different from that presented in the preliminary recital.
  • The results will be announced and prizes awarded after the final concert. 
  • All competitors will be required to stay for photographs after the prize-giving.

Representatives of international early music festivals, networks and radio stations are invited to attend the Competition Final on Saturday 13 July. 

Please note that it is expected that all individuals will be in York from Wednesday 10 July until approximately 7pm on Saturday 13 July 2013.



Competitors will be assessed on the following:
  • choice of repertory - and a sustainable interesting repertory for future performances
  • application of appropriate historical style of  performance
  • musicianship
  • interpretation
  • creativity of programme planning
  • technical ability
  • presentation - stage presence, rapport with audience, professionalism
  • quality of programme notes
  • overall contribution to the early music scene
  • eventual professional viability
  • professionalism of dealings with the Festival office.



Keyboard instruments
The following keyboard instruments, provided by Andrew Wooderson, will be available for use by the competitors:
Large single manual harpsichord (Italian)
Tuned at A 415 Valotti
Small single manual harpsichord (Italian)
Tuned at A 440 in 1/4 comma meantone    
Double manual harpsichord (Flemish)
Tuned at A 415 Valotti
Chamber organ
Tuned at A 415, A 440 or A460 equal temperament
Fortepiano (Viennese)
Tuned at A 430

Competitors are reminded that the amount of space and retuning time will be limited. Competitors are advised to select only one keyboard instrument for their final programme.

Finalists will be provided with accommodation in York free of charge for
  • 4 nights (Wednesday 10 July to the morning of Sunday 14 July) for those from the UK
  • 5 nights (Tuesday 9 July to the morning of Sunday 14 July) for those from mainland Europe
  • 6 nights (Monday 8 July to the morning of Sunday 14 July) for long-haul competitors.

  • The NCEM will pay for return economy travel tickets in the UK up to a maximum of £55 per person.
  • Each ensemble is responsible for booking their own travel. 
  • Competitors are advised to book UK rail tickets 12 weeks in advance for the cheapest tickets.  They can be bought online at .  There is an option to collect tickets at the station of departure.  Please note that you must have with you the credit card that the tickets were booked with.
  • Travel expenses will be reimbursed after the Competition.  Receipts should be sent to

Programme details
Full final programme details for the Festival programme book for both preliminary and final recitals must be supplied by Friday 12 April 2013. 
They should include
  • programme notes about the music and concept of the programme (approximately 250 words for each recital)
  • name of author
  • translations of texts if relevant
  • biography of the ensemble (no more than 200 words). 


Recording and distribution
  • The organisers reserve the right to record or arrange for the recording of any concert in the Competition, including the Final, and to organise broadcasts and/or distribution without recompense to the competitors.

Other regulations
  • There is no appeal against the decisions of the jury.
  • Participants will compete in the order given.
  • Each competitor will receive a Festival programme book and a free ticket to one of the evening concerts in the York Early Music Festival.
  • All participants must be fully acquainted with the regulations and schedules.