Blount-Slawson Young Artists Competition

A program of the Montgomery Symphony League

Since 1981, the Symphony League has mounted a concerto competition for pre-college instrumentalists with the winner appearing as a guest artist with the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra.  Through the years, the competition grew from a local event with a dozen children vying for a few hundred dollars in prizes to on which is national in scope at which 70-80 young musicians compete for nearly $17,000 in prizes.

This enormous growth has been fueled by the enthusiasm of the Symphony League volunteers, the Blount Foundation and the Guice Slawson family.  Partnerships with the Boston University Tanglewood Institute and National Public Radio's award winning "From The Top" have strengthened the competition's stature and helped establish its national footprint.

Our warmest thanks go to the Symphony League and the Blount Foundation and the Guice Slawson family for endowing the competition in perpetuity. 

Winners of the 2017 Blount-Slawson Young Artist Competition

 TYLER KIM: First Place Winner of the 2017 Blount-Slawson Young Artist Competition

TYLER KIM: First Place Winner of the 2017 Blount-Slawson Young Artist Competition

First Place:

Tyler Kim 

Second Place:

Daniel Solowey & Catherine Huang

Fourth Place:

Takumi Taguchi

Winners of the 2016 Blount-Slawson Young Artists Competition

 The Montgomery Symphony Orchestra is proud to announce the winners of the 2016 Blount-Slawson Young Artists Competition:

Sibelius, Violin Concerto in D. Minor, Op. 47, I. Allegro moderato

Bartok, Concerto for Viola and Orchestra, Op. post.

Sibelius, Violin Concerto in D. Minor, Op. 47, I. Allegro moderato

Nielson, Concerto for Flute and Orchestra, I. Allegro moderato

Sibelius, Violin Concerto in D. Minor, Op. 47, I. Allegro moderato

Paganini, Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major, Op. 6, I. Allegro maetoso

Tchaikovsky, Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33, Theme and Variations


January 27-28, 2018 • Huntingdon College • Montgomery, Alabama

Apply Online: 2018 APPLICATION


The 2018 Blount-Slawson Young Artists Competition is open to strings/winds/brass/percussion in the seventh through the twelfth grades residing in and attending school in the United States and are current U.S citizens.  Previous first place winners are not eligible to compete. The winner must be available for rehearsals on Sunday, April 29th and the scheduled April 30th, 2018 performance with the MSO.


The online application must be completed by December 13th. An audio submission may be attached to the online application OR you may send a hard copy CD of your performance to the MSO address. Postmark deadline for CDs is also December 13th. Send to: Montgomery Symphony Orchestra Attn: Blount-Slawson Competition, P.O. Box 1864-Montgomery, Alabama 36102


Please read this entire page for information regarding the competition. Specific questions may be directed to

Acceptable literature for the competition includes any one movement from any work in the standard concerto repertoire. Works associated with the student repertoire may be selected if they are original works. Transcriptions or arrangements are not acceptable unless transcribed by the original composer. Memorization is preferred but not required. All works must have orchestral parts available. Special permission may be needed for complete concertos in a single movement that are longer than 10 minutes. For permission, please email, wait for response and then submit online application.

*Please note, the competition schedule has limited time slots for judges to listen to competitors, in some instances, an entire work may not be listened to by judges due to the number of competitors. Competitors can play for 10 minutes, then they will be stopped. 

Competition Format:
The competition will be held on Saturday and Sunday, January 27 - January 28, 2018 at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama. Entrants will be notified by mail two weeks prior to the competition of their approximate performance time.

The top entrants from Saturday's preliminary round of competition will compete on Sunday at 1:00 PM in a final round of competition which will be open to the public. The judges’ decision will be announced at the end of the competition.

All entrants must perform with live accompaniment. Accompanists are the responsibility of each entrant.  A very limited number of assigned accompanists are available and practice time is limited before the competition. Specific accompanists may not be requested by name and will be assigned by the discretion of the MSO administrative office. The fee for an assigned accompanist is $150 for the preliminary round and $75 should be paid directly to the accompanist for the final round. The $150 non-refundable preliminary round accompanist check must be mailed by December 8th, 2017 to process the need for an accompanist.  We do not take credit cards. Checks for accompanist fee should be mailed to the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra Attn: Blount-Slawson Competition, P.O. Box 1864-Montgomery, Alabama 36102

All entrants using an assigned accompanist will have a 30-minute rehearsal on Friday, January 27th, and a brief warm-up on Saturday. Those with early Friday afternoon rehearsals may need to travel to Montgomery on Thursday, January 25th.

Scheduling Conflicts:
Entrants must note on the application form any expected conflicts in scheduling their rehearsal or audition time. Once the rehearsal and audition times are set, it is nearly impossible to re-arrange them because of the number of competitors, venues, arranged accompanists, etc. Please make an effort to let us know on the application form if your schedule is not completely free.

Travel and Accommodations:

A listing of other hotel and motel accommodations and local rental car companies will be mailed to all competitors. Because Montgomery’s public transit is very limited and taxi cabs are not always available in a timely fashion, competitors’ parents are urged to rent a car or to carpool with another entrant. There are no hotels within walking distance of the competition.

Unescorted Competitors:
Competitors must be escorted by an adult. The competition is unable to provide accommodations, transportation, or chaperone services.


First Prize: Performance with the Montgomery Symphony at the Davis Theater on April30, 2018; $10,000 consisting of a Cash Award of $2,500 and a separate Educational Award of $7,500 with designation towards the study of music.

Second Prize: Cash award of $3,000

Third Prize: Cash award of $2,000

Fourth Prize: Cash award of $1,000

*The Montgomery Symphony League reserves the right to amend the structure of the competition and prizes based on the number of registered competitors and the judges’ recommendations.


Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI) Live Auditions and Scholarship Opportunity:

Boston University Tanglewood Institute is recognized internationally as a premier summer training program for aspiring young musicians and is the only program of its kind associated with one of the world’s great symphony orchestras. Under the guidance of distinguished professionals, and in the presence of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO), students are immersed in an atmosphere of extraordinary music making fueled by high artistic standards, rigorous programming, and a rich legacy of learning and performance. The moment you step onto the grounds, you join a community that empowers students to be artists. No one who spends a summer at Tanglewood leaves untouched by the experience.


BUTI representatives will be present to answer questions about 2018 BUTI summer program offerings and hold live auditions in Montgomery, AL at Huntingdon College on January 27, 2018 in conjunction with the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra Blount-Slawson Competition as a part of the BUTI 2017 Audition Tour. Furthermore, your competition audition can count as your BUTI audition! See details directly below.


If you are competing in the Blount-Slawson Competition on January 27 and would like to have your competition audition count as your BUTI audition, visit the link below for your instrument group and follow the special instructions outlined on that page when you fill out your BUTI application:


+ Strings/Piano Instructions

+ Winds/Brass/Percussion/Harp Instructions


Please note that all Blount-Slawson competitors interested in being considered for BUTI program must submit the BUTI 2018 Admissions Application. Please also mark the appropriate box in the Blount-Slawson application to indicate that you would like your Blount-Slawson Young Artists Competition audition to count as your BUTI audition.


If you are NOT competing in the Blount-Slawson Competition and would like to audition live for BUTI, please follow the instructions outlined in the BUTI 2018 Admissions Application to sign up for a live audition in Montgomery, AL. Auditions will be held for non-competitors from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on January 27 at Huntingdon College. You may also elect to upload a recorded audition to your BUTI admissions application.


BU Tanglewood Institute Alabama Scholarship

The Montgomery Symphony Orchestra will award a full tuition scholarship to a young Alabama musician who is accepted and attends up to six weeks of BUTI 2017 summer programming. Students must complete the Scholarship Form as a part of the BUTI 2018 Admissions Application to be considered for the award.


Please contact the BUTI Office at or 617.353.3386 with any questions about the BUTI 2018 Admissions Application and Summer 2018 Programs, details of the Alabama Scholarship Award, and how to take advantage of the BUTI/Blount-Slawson Competition 2-for-1 audition special.




Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is there an entry fee for the competition?
A. No entry fee is charged.

Q. Can I compete in the preliminary round on Saturday at a certain time of the day?
A. Yes. If you let us know on your application form that you will only be available, as an example, after noon and if you bring your own accompanist, we will schedule you accordingly.  If you have asked the competition to provide you with an accompanist, we will make every effort to accommodate your scheduling request.

Q. Will there be a place for me to practice while I am in Montgomery?
A. Generally speaking, the practice room demands of the competition fill many of the available practice rooms on Friday night and during the day on Saturday. 

On Friday night, any practice rooms not already assigned to a competition accompanist can be used by competitors on a first come, first served basis. Please share. During the day on Saturday, each competitor will be assigned a practice room for the 30 minutes prior to his or her performance in the preliminary round.  

On Sunday, the finalists will have the first option on practice rooms. Otherwise, they are open to other competitors.

Q. May I request a specific competition supplied pianist to accompany me?
A. No. We cannot guarantee you that we can make that particular assignment. Our assignment process is geared to providing the best collaboration for all competitors who have requested that we provide them with an accompanist.  

Q. Can I have my first rehearsal with my assigned pianist on Saturday as opposed to Friday?
A. No. Your assigned pianist will be busy playing for the other competitors assigned to him or her.

Q. What time will the competition conclude on Sunday?  I want to make my return airline reservation but don't know when to schedule my flight home?
A. The short answer is that we really won't know when the competition will end until the judges tell us they are ready to announce the prize winners.  We do not know the lengths of the movements the nine finalists will perform and we do not know how long the judges will deliberate.  However, based on past years, we expect everything to be over by 5:00 pm.  The college is approximately 20 minutes by car from the Montgomery Airport.

Representatives from the Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI) will again be present at this year’s competition. The Tanglewood Institute is the high school division of the internationally famous Tanglewood Music Festival in Lenox, MA, which draws young performers from around the world each summer.

All wind and brass players auditioning for BUTI are required to prepare and submit audition excerpts as part of their BUTI application.  A BUTI representative will be on-site on Saturday, January 28th, during the competition to record audition excerpts OR you are welcome to record your excerpts on CD and send to the Boston University Tanglewood Institute.  The application deadline for 2017 has not yet been announced.  Please contact the BUTI office to set-up a recording time or to learn more about this specific requirement by calling 617-353-3386.  You can also email BUTI at

Click here to access the on-line audition excerpts for your instrument: 

String players and pianists do not need to provide audition excerpts.  Your audition for the competition is all that is required for your application to BUTI.

If you would like your Blount-Slawson Young Artists Competition audition to also serve as a Tanglewood audition for the 2018 Summer Season, please mark the appropriate box on the application form. For more information on BUTI, you may call 617-353-3386 or visit their website at

Blount-Slawson Young Artists Competition Goals:
The goals of the Blount-Slawson Young Artists Competition are threefold:

• To promote a professional standard of performance among young musicians through the experience of a competitive forum

• To afford young musicians the opportunity to be judged by artists of recognized standing

• To select a talented young musician to perform with the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra

The Blount-Slawson Young Artists Competition and Concert are made possible by the generosity of The Blount Foundation and The Guice Slawson Family in cooperation with the Montgomery Symphony League and Huntingdon College.

The Blount Foundation
The Blount Foundation was the creation of the late Montgomery businessman and philanthropist Wynton M. (Red) Blount. As Founder and Chairman of Blount International Inc., Mr. Blount established the Foundation in the 1970s to support activities in the communities in which his company had a presence.

Foundation President D. Joseph McInnes continued to nurture the arts in Montgomery and created an environment where they thrived until the Foundation's closure in 2007.

The Blount Foundation’s 31-year partnership with the Montgomery Symphony League and its endowment of the competition has resulted in a nationally respected event for young musicians that will continue in perpetuity.

The Guice Slawson Family
The Montgomery Symphony League extends its thanks to Guice and Caroline Slawson for their generous support of this competition. Mr. Slawson is the President of Southeast Wood Treating, Ltd., with corporate offices in Montgomery, Alabama.

Mr. and Mrs. Slawson support a variety of educational, religious, and arts organizations in the community.

Huntingdon College
Huntingdon College has served as the host of the Blount-Slawson Young Artists Competition for over 20 years.  From the beginning of each competition's three day schedule, until the last note has been played, Blount-Slawson judges, competitors, their accompanists, and families fill the Smith Music Building to overflowing.  Ligon Chapel in Flowers Hall provides an exciting venue for the competition's final round.

Our thanks go to Dr. Cameron West, President of Huntingdon College, and the entire music faculty for their generosity of spirit in supporting the efforts of pre-college musicians and their willingness to provide such a fitting home for the Blount-Slawson Young Artists Competition.