National Centre for Early Music

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Selection Process








2015 Competition schedule
  • Closing date for applications - Friday 23 January
  • Successful Finalists notified - Wednesday 4 February
  • Rehearsal day at NCEM - Wednesday 8 July
  • Preliminary recitals - Thursday 9 and Friday 10 July
  • Competition Final - Saturday 11 July

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. 

The initial selection panel will comprise the Artistic Advisers of the York Early Music Festival: John Bryan, Kati Debretzeni, Lindsay Kemp and Peter Seymour; and the Director of the National Centre for Early Music, Delma Tomlin.

Successful entrants will be notified of their selection as finalists by Wednesday 4 February 2015.  Unsuccessful entrants will receive a short paragraph of feedback written by a member of the selection panel.

Finalists will be invited to come to York from Wednesday 8 to Saturday 11 July 2015.  Rehearsal space at the NCEM will be available from Wednesday 8 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 9 and Friday 10 July 2015  
Spread over two days, these 20-minute informal recitals are an invaluable part of the competition.  Each of the Finalists gives a performance at the NCEM which is open to the public, and the competitors value the opportunity to perform in the competition space in a relaxed atmosphere.  Many of the musicians also appreciate getting to know York's friendly and knowledgeable audience.

This year we are delighted to welcome soprano and broadcaster Catherine Bott to introduce the recitals.  She will present the ensembles to the audience and invite the musicians to explore aspects of their performance with the aim of increasing their confidence and performance in the Final. 

Competition Final - Saturday 11 July 2015
The Final will take place throughout the day, each ensemble presenting a 20-minute programme in front of the panel of judges and a public audience.  The results will be announced and prizes awarded after the final concert.  

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