Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition

CAG is now making our 2020 Competition entirely virtual. This year’s competition will still take place, but there will be no in-person semifinal or final rounds.  With travel restrictions and social distancing still currently in place, we’ve decided to make this transition to remove any barriers for prospective applicants. Requirements for semifinals and finals are outlined in the Repertoire section below.

The final deadline for the 2020 competition was June 30, 2020.

If you have entered the competition but not yet paid the application fee, please do so here.

Join our mailing list to stay in the know about the competition
(select “Competition Information” under “interests”)

See our 2020 Semifinalists

See the 2020 Finals Jury

Prizes and Awards

All winners receive:

International management (Americas and Europe) jointly with

CAG and Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT)

Guaranteed performances at both Merkin Concert Hall in New York and Wigmore Hall in London

Professional career development and coaching

Additional prizes may include:

Chamber Music America Showcase Performance

More than 40 Performance Prizes with leading orchestras, concert series, and festivals

Read our Competition FAQ for more information.


Concert Artists Guild seeks to partner with young musicians who exemplify artistic excellence and engagement with their audience, have an entrepreneurial spirit, and will go on to create an impact in the world. Artists who fit these criteria are welcome to apply to the 2020 CAG Victor Elmaleh Competition.

To apply, you must fill out the online application form and pay the application fee. All applications will be evaluated in the preliminary, semifinal, and final rounds by qualified jury panels. See the 2020 finals jury.

The application consists of the following sections:

  1. Information about you, your musical background, and references
  2. Short answers to the following questions (150 words maximum per question):
  • Why do you think CAG is right for you at this time?
  • What do you feel you need help with over the next few years?
  • In what ways do you hope to use your music to make an impact outside the concert hall?
  1. Sample programs
  • Three sample recital programs (two full-length 90-minute recitals and one hour-long program) that demonstrate your musical personality and awareness of different audiences.
  • A brief description of each program.
  • Please note: this does not form a part of your audition repertoire. However, you are able to perform repertoire listed in this section in any audition round.
  1. A link to a live, unedited audition video or playlist of 20-40 minutes of music, showing a variety of repertoire and the range and scope of your artistry
  • The video(s) must be live and unedited. It does not have to be from a concert performance.
  • The video must have been shot no earlier than June 30, 2018 (2 years before the application deadline).
  • Include only complete movements or complete works (no excerpts). Concerti with piano accompaniment may be included, unless you are applying as a solo pianist. Pianists must submit concerto videos with orchestral accompaniment.
  1. Supplemental materials
  • An age statement (if you are over the age limit; see eligibility requirements for details)
  • A statement from commercial management (if you have a manager; see eligibility requirements for details)

You must also pay the application fee of $90 (if paid by May 15) or $130 (if paid after May 15).

Timeline and Selection Process

  • March 1: applications open
  • May 15: earlybird application deadline (save $40 on the application fee)
    NB: in order to qualify for the earlybird discount, your application must be submitted and the fee paid by May 15
  • June 30: final application deadline
  • by July 30: applicants notified by email whether or not they have been accepted to the semifinals
  • by August 30: semifinalists notified whether or not they have been accepted to the finals
  • October 13: online broadcast of winners announcement


details are subject to change.

The 2020 competition is open to all instruments, voice, and chamber ensembles. We encourage unique chamber ensemble combinations.

Please note: CAG represents solo singers for recitals, chamber music, and orchestral engagements only, not for opera.

Age limits (as of June 30, 2020):

Solo instrumentalists: 28
Solo singers: 30
Ensembles: average age of 30, no member over the age of 35

  • If you are over the age limit, you must upload a statement in the Supplemental Materials section of the application explaining why you are in the early stages of your professional career. If you are still deemed ineligible after we review your age statement, the application fee will be refunded.
  • Ensembles should have been in existence with the same membership since at least June 30, 2019 (12 months prior to the competition deadline).


  • Instrumentalists and ensembles with commercial local, national, or international management in Europe or North America are not eligible to apply. However, CAG is glad to work with existing managers outside of these areas. Submit a statement with your application confirming that your manager grants exclusive management rights to CAG if you should win the competition.
  • Singers with North American management who wish to perform recitals, chamber music, and orchestral engagements through CAG are eligible to apply. Submit a statement with your application confirming that your manager grants management rights to CAG for concert engagements if you should win the competition.



Your repertoire for all rounds of the competition should reflect your personal programming sensibility. No specific works or composers are required.


  • See application information above


  • Solo instrumentalists and chamber ensembles will submit up to 40 min of video. This can include video materials already submitted from the preliminary round.
  • Optional (but highly encouraged): all applicants may include a work that is unique to your culture or heritage, represents your values, or with which you have a personal connection.
  • Semifinalists will also be asked to submit a short video (up to 5 min long) talking about themselves and their interests outside of music.
  • A program and written proposal for a “Music Speaks” program (details TBD)


  • Up to 8 finalists will be selected.
  • Finals jurors will review all semifinal video materials.
  • All finalists will be scheduled for a virtual interview.
  • The finals jury consists of musicians, presenters, and composers working across diverse roles in the music field.

Please read this information carefully, and contact if you have questions about the application process not answered here.


“We are forever grateful to Concert Artists Guild for the guidance and support we received, including CAG’s amazing dedication and care in helping us understand the field and get our feet wet on the concert stage.”
Pacifica Quartet (Competition Winner, 1997)

“CAG provided me with numerous opportunities to present recitals and in so doing, to explore and master much of the song repertoire.”Martina Arroyo (Competition Winner, 1956)

“We are deeply proud to have been the first string quartet to win the CAG Competition in 1982. The recognition, the trust and the approval that CAG conferred upon our earliest efforts has continued to inspire us into what is now our third decade together.” Alexander String Quartet (Competition Winner, 1982)

“Winning the CAG Competition made our career. CAG found us gigs, gave us advice, provided a major commission and put us out into the world in a supportive but forceful way. CAG made us feel that a new music group had a viable opportunity to make a place for itself in the chamber music world of the twenty-first century.”

– Matthew Albert, violin, Eighth Blackbird (Competition Winner, 1998)

“Winning First Prize at the CAG Competition was a blessing without a disguise. I, and everyone since, have had the bountiful help of a thinking creative collective mind and a strategic pulse to perpetuate our careers and give us the initial boost we all so need.”

Marina Piccinini, flute (Competition Winner, 1986)

“I consider winning CAG the pivotal point in my duo’s career, which gave us the opportunity to expand our artistry. CAG guided us with such great passion and expertise that built the foundation for our duo that continues to thrive ten years later.”

– João Luiz, Brasil Guitar Duo (Competition Winner, 2006)

“CAG simply changed my life and the life of our quartet.”

– Jessica Bodner viola, Parker Quartet (Competition Winner, 2005)