Sound Espressivo Rules, Regulations, Formats
Some competitions may have varied requirements for repertory, age, dates, and other, and may award unique Prizes not available in other Competitions. For additional details please read carefully the webpage for that Competition.
For additional details about Masters and Masterworks Competition, please see Section 15 below.
Download a PDF of Rules here
Competition is open to classical and jazz musicians of
• all nationalities and all ages
• all instruments and voice
• ensembles and groups of any size and composition
For the Preliminary Round applicants must either submit a recent video of their own performance or choose a date on the Application form to audition LIVE through an Internet Broadcast system.
Semi Finalists and Finalists MUST be prepared to compete LIVE through Internet Broadcast TV method.
Participants for The Sound Espressivo competition must have access to broadband internet with a computer that contains a microphone and video camera.
Technical assistance, necessary preparations, consultations, individual remote tech check sessions with Broadcast Producers and Engineers, production of the Broadcast, and Broadcast management are provided by the Sound Espressivo partner, a Virginia based broadcasting and production company Virtual Concert Hals.
2. Competition Rounds
Sound Espressivo is held in two rounds:
• Preliminary Round
3. Dates, Deadlines, Application Process
Refer to specific Dates and Deadlines stated on the Competition websites, for each Concert Season
Contestants apply online through SEC website Portal by filling out the Application Form and completing the payment through SEC payment system online.
Payment methods: major credit cards. Additional payment methods can be requested by an applicant, but not guaranteed.
All contestants who advance to Finals Round will have to fill out a Registration Form and pay Live Auditions fee by a deadline stated in the Form, in order to confirm their participation in the Final Round.
4. Financial Aid
Full and Partial Scholarships covering Application and/or Registration Fees may be awarded to qualified applicants based on need.
Inquiries and requests for Financial Aid are considered based on the Applicant’s unique circumstances and the Competition’s ability to provide funds.
Financial Aid may be awarded to qualified applicants towards purchasing and/or renting necessary equipment required for quality broadcasting of the Contestant’s performances in Semi Final and Final Rounds ONLY.
No Aid will be awarded towards costs for Preliminary Round video submissions.
5. Age Groups, Categories, Instruments
SEC accepts all instruments, ages, styles, and voice.
In the Preliminary Round of the Competition contestants compete within their respective age groups.
• All String Instruments
• All Wind Instruments
• All Percussion Instruments
• All Baroque Instruments
• All Ensembles
Eligible music styles and periods:
• Baroque (Period instruments)
• Contemporary including performances of original compositions by contestants and all types of “covers”: transcriptions, paraphrases, cadenzas, and other.
• Jazz, including improvisations, jingles, mixes, standards, and other.
• Music from around the world
• Opera and Lieder
• Broadway and Light
In the Final Round contestants compete within their respective age groups in the following Categories:
• 10 and under
• Adult (19 and older)
6. Repertory and Time Limits
• Contestants are free to choose any repertory, for ALL Rounds; pick what represents you best as a musician.
• If you wish to be considered for special Awards check the descriptions on the website and plan your repertory accordingly.
• For all Preliminary Round Auditions Videos time limit is 10 min.
• You will not be disqualified for shorter performances
• If you choose one composition which is longer than 10 min., you will not be disqualified for overtime
• Final Rounds - time limits and repertory requirements vary, please check specific requirements on website.
7. Competition Procedures and Formats
SEC is held globally online.
Video submissions are allowed only for the Preliminary Round.
Final Round is held in the format of a LIVE Internet TV public Broadcast.
Technical assistance, necessary technical preparations, consultations, guidance materials (printed, digital, video); individual remote tech check sessions with Broadcast Producers and Engineers, production of the Broadcast, Broadcast management are provided by the Sound Espressivo business partner, Virtual Concert Halls, a Virginia, USA based broadcasting and production company.
Videos and Broadcasts of the Competition Rounds are property of Sound Espressivo and Virtual Concert Halls which retain full control of the copyrights.
8. Adjudication process
Each Preliminary Audition video is adjudicated by one member of the SEC Judges’ Panel.
SEC Judges may provide written comments for video submissions (available upon request)
Final Rounds are adjudicated by the Judges Panel consisting of several members.
Judges will provide on-air artistic feedback to each contestant immediately after the performance.
All decisions by SEC Judges are final and may not be disputed.
All decisions by companies-sponsors of Prizes and Awards are made by the respective companies’ representatives and are final.
9. Prizes and Awards
• Each Contestants will receive Judges' comments (written for video submissions, live onscreen for live performances)
• Certificate of Participation.
Laureates. Up to 6 (Six) Laureates will be chosen by the Judges Panel in consultation with SEC Board. Each Laureate Award Package is valued at total of $8,500. Total Award Pool for Laureate Awards is valued at $51,000.
Laureates are eligible to receive the following Awards pending Judges Panel decisions:
• Laureate Recital Award. Valued at $5,000 each.
Full management service from VCHS necessary to provide the Laureate with an opportunity to present a full solo recital on the VCHS Virtual Stage. Each Laureate Recital will be publicly broadcast on all VCHS platforms. Each Laureate Recital will be promoted through VCHS social networks, mailing lists, media. Each Laureate Recital and its promotion campaigns will be serviced by VCHS producers, graphic designers, copywriters, social media specialists, audio/video streaming engineers. Dates of Laureate Recitals TBD
• Laureate Interview Award. Valued at $2,000 each.
Interview Award provided by VCHS. The Award is aimed at helping Laureates launch their careers, promote their artistry, jump-start their presence as musicians of statute. Each Interview will be professionally scripted and services by VCHS production teams and conducted by VCHS Host in a format of a live broadcast. Each Interview is up to 60 minutes in length.
• Laureate Coaching Award. Valued at $1,000 each.
Full course on professional streaming/broadcasting technology and methods provided by VCHS. Valued at $1,000 each.
• Laureate Profile Award. Valued at $500 each.
Professionally designed Artistic Profile on SEC and VCHS websites
Laureates are eligible to receive additional Awards sponsored by Companies (check the Prizes Page on SEC website)
Winners. Up to 12 (Twelve) Winners will be selected by the Judges Panels to receive Winners Package Award. Judges Panels have a complete discression when selecting Winners. Each Winner Award Package is valued at $3,800. Total Award Pool for Winners Awards is valued at $45,600.
Judges Panels may choose up to:
One First Place Winner, One Second Place Winner, One Third Place Winner in each Age Category
Multiple Honorable Mentions may be awarded.
• Winners Concert Award. Valued at $2,000 each.
Up to 12 Winners will be selected by the Judges Panel to receive this award. Each Winner is eligible to receive full management service from VCHS necessary to provide the Winner with an opportunity to perform in a group Winners Concert on the VCHS Virtual Stage. Time limit per performer is 20 minutes.
• Winner Group Interview Award. Valued at $1,000 each.
Group Interview Award is provided by VCHS. The Award is aimed at helping Winners launch their careers, promote their artistry, jump-start their presence as musicians of statute. Each Interview will be professionally scripted and services by VCHS production teams and conducted by VCHS Host in a format of a live broadcast. Each Interview is up to 60 minutes in length and will present no more than 4 Winners.
• Winner Group Coaching Award. Valued at $500.
Full course on professional streaming/broadcasting technology and methods provided by VCHS. In groups of no more than 6 Winners.
• Winner Profile Award. Valued at $300 each.
Professionally designed Artistic Profile in a group space on SEC website.
Honorable Mentions. Up to 10 (Ten Awards) Valued at $1,000 each. Total Award Pool for these Honorable Mention Awards is up to 10, or up to $10,000. All Finalists who are awarded an Honorable Mention will receive an Honorable Mention Award Package consisting of:
Profile in an Honorable Mention group page on SEC website
An invitation to perform in one multicast group concert on VCHS Virtual Stage (time onstage per performer is limited to 5 minutes)
Additional Awards and Prizes
All applicants are eligible to be selected to compete in Sound Espressivo Live Finals
All Finalists, including Laureates, Winners, and Honorable Mentions are eligible and considered to receive scholarship Prizes to participate in masterclasses with distinguished artists around the world.
All Finalists are eligible and considered to receive scholarship Prizes for participation in prestigious summer programs and festivals around the World.
All Finalists are eligible and considered to receive scholarship Prizes for VCHS Broadcasting Seminar
All Semi Finalists and Finalists receive a Designer Certificate reflecting their respective advancements.
All Applicants receive Recognition Award sponsored by the iClassical Academy, regardless of their advancement.
All Applicants are eligible to receive free passes to observe masterclasses with distinguished artists around the world.
Prizes sponsored by international music companies. All Finalists will be considered by SEC sponsoring companies as candidates for the Prizes (check the list of Prizes on SEC website periodic updates as the Competition regularly accepts more eligible Prizes from companies around the World). Sponsored Prizes are awarded by the companies- sponsors' representatives independently from the Judges Panels. Not all Prizes may be awarded. Companies’ decisions are final.
Cash Awards. All Finalists, Winners, and Laureates are eligible and will be considered as candidates to receive cash Awards. Specific amounts of each category of cash Awards
will be determined and announced by the SEC Board as soon as practical, for each Season.
Your family and friends can watch your live performance and cheer in real time.
Your performance will be recorded, and your friends will be able to see it after that date.
If you choose to submit a video, it will be premiered on our channels and available for replays.
10. Prizes sponsored by Partner Companies
Sponsor Companies’ Awards are posted publicly on the SEC website, for each Season.
The list of Partner Companies and the Prizes is updated on a regular basis, please check periodically the Prizes and Awards page on the website for the most up-to-date information.
Partner-sponsored Prizes include possibilities to receive:
• Performance engagements, Management services,
• Scholarships for prestigious music festivals and summer programs Scholarships for masterclasses and courses
• Coaching programs for musicians in career planning, social media for musicians, professional topics of musicians’ health and wellbeing
• Scholarships for access to professional and educational resources Professional audio and video recording services
• Professional web design services specific to musicians and artists Graphic design services for performing artists.
• All Finalists will be considered by SEC sponsoring companies as candidates for the Prizes (check the list of Prizes on SEC website periodic updates as the Competition regularly accepts more eligible Prizes from companies around the World). Sponsored Prizes are awarded by the companies-sponsors' representatives independently from the Judges Panels.
Not all Prizes may be awarded.
Companies’ decisions are final.
11. Teachers’ and Educational Institutions’ recognition
Sound Espressivo Competition Board understands the importance of support which students receive from their community, their schools, and especially from their teachers, for them to grow as musicians.
As our token of appreciation for the hard and creative work which these people and organizations invest in the students' growth and future, we provide Sound Espressivo Contestants' School and Teacher with a featured space on the Sound Espressivo website.
Each Teacher and School will receive a Profile created on the SEC website, including visual branding and individual Teacher’s pictures, we will also provide links for visitors to learn more about these distinguished educators and institutions.
12. Public Broadcasts. Tech requirements and release/consent forms
All public broadcasts of the Competition are provided and managed by Virtual Concert Halls, an independent broadcasting and production company registered and headquartered in Vienna, Virginia, USA.
VCHS will provide each Contestant with who performs on the public broadcasts of SEC events with instructional materials, individual preparation time and tech checks with streaming producers and staff, and all assistance available, to ensure an even field of the quality technical presentation for all SEC Contestants. Please refer to the “Technical Requirements” section on the website for more detailed information
All Contestants, Guests, Teachers, Representatives, others who appear on the VCHS Broadcasts of the SEC events must sign release/consent forms, as required by the Virginia local, the US Federal, and the international laws and regulations governing public Internet TV broadcasts. Please note: Each Contestant’s checking of a BOX on the Application Form constitutes their consent and is in place of a separate signature of a separate form. To review the form, click here
Virtual Concert Halls enjoys the “Allow Listed Broadcaster status from the Warner Music Group which provides VCHS broadcasts with protection against getting “muted,” taken down, or otherwise disfigured by WMG Copyrights Department through copyrights claims. VCHS earned the status through its strict adherence to copyrights and international regulations. All those who appear on the SEC public broadcasts provided by VCHS will enjoy the privileged status which comes with the responsibilities for Contestants and others to only perform music which they have the right to perform.
Consent/Release form can be viewed here
14. Competition Board
Sound Espressivo Board of Directors and Advisers is the governing body of the Competition.
SEC Board Officers and Members:
Anna Ouspenskaya, Secretary
Antara Hebbar, Member, Youth Advisor
Micah Yui, Member, Adviser
Avguste Antonov, Member, Adviser
Mellasenah Morris-Edwards, Member, Adviser
Michal Szostak, Member, Adviser
Masters and Masterworks Competition 2023-24
Music for Youth!
Call for Scores by living Composers.
Performers who wish to present new music.
Compositions for Piano, Violin, Cello
Winners - Scores and Perfomers - will be presented at the
Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall Gala Concert on April 1, 2024
Performance at the Carnegie Hall is a Fully Sponsored opportunity, no performance fee required
Application Deadline - October 15, 2023
Masters and Masterworks mission is to connect young musicians and living composers on a journey of discovery of Music for Youth!
Music for Piano, Violin, or Cello, written for Young Performers.
Violin and Cello pieces can be with or without accompaniment.
No compositions for chamber ensembles.
Compositions for Piano 4Hands are accepted.
Up to Three Scores will be selected for a performance at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall on April 1, 2024, at the Laureates Gala (one composition for Piano, plus one for Violin, plus one for Cello).
Up to Three Performers will be selected to perform these compositions at Carnegie Hall. All performances are fully sponsored by Sound Espressivo, Progressive Musicians, and Virtual Concert Halls.
There is NO PERFORMANCE FEE required for Winners to perform at the Gala concert at Carnegie Hall (travel and accommodations in NY City are the responsibility of the Winner).
In addition to the performance, all Winners (Composers and Performers) will receive:
A Carnegie Hall Archival DIGITAL VIDEO of their performance
(see Regulations for acceptable uses as per by Carnegie Hall rules)
Full color brochure (digital and printed)
An Interview by Steve Robinson, a world-renowned producer of
Letters of recommendation and other support
Professional Portfolio packets available upon request
Judges’ decisions are final and cannot be disputed. Not all Prizes may be awarded.
Application and Audition Process
Composers sumbit scores. One score per Application. Duration limit - 5 min
Performers submit a video of any composition of their choice. Time limit - 10 min
Up to 6 scores will be selected for the Final Round (two scores per each instrument)
Scores will be published on the websites and made downloadable for Performers.
Composers whose pieces were selected will join the Judges Panel as Artistic Advisors (non-voting members).
Up to 12 Finalists will be selected for the Live Round (4 musicians per each instrument). The jury may select Alternates.
Finalists will choose a piece which they wish to prepare for the Final Round, from the Finalist scores.
Live performance by 12 Finalists in front of the Judges Panel, on a world-wide Internet TV Broadcast.
The Judges Panel includes Composers of the pieces which were selected for the Final Round. Composers and Performers will have an opportunity to meet and get to know each other.
Judges from aroud the world provide on-air commentary immediately after each performance.
Finalists meet the Judges and can ask questions.
Musicians' supporters can write comments which will be shown onscreen.
Family and friends can watch and be part of your LIVE performance from anywhere in the world.
Performer Finalists will receive Technical Preparation session with VCHS Broadcast Directors and Engineers, in preparation for the broadcast, at no additional cost. More about Broadcast technology for musicians here
Composers: no age limit
Performers: 18 and under
Finals Live fee: $0
Winners Performance at Carnegie Hall fee: $0
October 15, 2023 - Composers submit scores and Application Deadline
November 05, 2023 - Scores selected for Finals are announced.
November 15, 2023 - Performer Application Deadline (submit a video of any composition)
December 5, 2023 - 12 Finalists are announced.
February 1, 2024 - Registration deadline for the Performers Tech Preparation sessions for Performers
February 19-23, 2024 - Tech Preparation sessions for Finalists (no additional fee required)
February 24-26, 2024 - Final Round of the Competition