Young Performers Festival Application

Since 2010, Early Music America (EMA) has been proud to bring together college and university ensembles throughout North America to perform at the nation’s leading early music festivals in Berkeley, CA, Bloomington, IN, and Boston, MA. Applicants submitting programs that move beyond the traditional Western classical canon, but fall within the same historical range (to ca.1820), are encouraged to apply.

Early Music America will present the 10th annual Young Performers Festival (June 8-9 at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music) and 3rd annual Emerging Artists Showcase (June 10 in Berkeley) as part of the 2020 Berkeley Festival & Exhibition, in Berkeley, CA. This will mark EMA’s 4th partnership with the biennial Berkeley Festival & Exhibition.


Case Western Reserve University medieval ensemble performs at the 2016 Young Performers Festival in Berkeley, CA.

Do you have questions about the application process?
View EMA’s October 2019 webinar “Representing Yourself in the Best Way” or Contact EMA.

Eligible ApplicantsJudgingRequired MaterialsDeadlineApplicationTravel Grant Application

1) Applicants must be directors of high school, college, or university early music ensembles from schools in the USA, Canada, or Mexico.

2) Although the term “early music” is used in different ways at different institutions, for the purposes of this Festival it is used to denote an ensemble that fits the following criteria:
– Applications must feature repertory composed no later than ca. 1820.
– The ensemble gives attention to matters of historical performance.
– Where instrumental performance is involved, the ensemble performs on period instruments OR is working towards the goal of using a period-instrument based group.

3) The majority of participants must be students enrolled at the ensemble’s home institution. The ensemble may include non-student community participants and/or faculty members as well, as long as they are less than one-third of the members in the ensemble.

4) Either the director of the ensemble or the school must be a member of EMA prior to the application deadline. Please ensure your membership is current at the time of submission.

A panel of judges designated by EMA will assess all applications. Selections will be based on the strength of the application, the quality of the recorded performances and creativity of the program. Preference for the Young Performers Festival will be given to ensembles that have not previously been selected.

1) Contact Information

2) Ensemble Information that includes the following:
– A title and brief description of the Festival performance to be funded
– Number of students in the ensemble
– Number of community members in the ensemble
– A brief description of the activities of the early music ensemble and its place within its institution

3) Three recent concert programs

4) Performance recordings that meet the following requirements:
– A recording of the ensemble from live performances, with a minimum of 10 minutes and no longer than 30 minutes of total audio and/or video files.
– Recordings must be from no earlier than the previous academic year.
– The recorded examples need not feature the exact same performers (it is assumed that student ensembles change somewhat in their membership from year to year) or the same proposed program, but a substantial number of the performers should be the same, and the performance should represent only the highest of quality recordings.
– Submitted performance recordings should be of the highest video or audio quality possible.
– We will only accept audio or video recordings in the form of links to YouTube or another internet hosting/streaming site.
– Recordings can be multiple short selections or one long selection.
– List the pieces performed in the submitted recording(s)

The deadline to apply is Thursday, October 31, 2019 at 11:59 PM ET.
Those selected for the Young Performers Festival will be notified by Monday, December 2, 2019.

All ensembles must submit an application to be selected for the Young Performers Festival. Ensembles applying for the Festival are eligible for a travel grant and must submit a separate application in order to be eligible to receive travel grant funding. EMA will award travel grants to a small number of applicants selected for the Festival.

More information about travel grants.