There is no application fee to apply to Astral’s 2023 National Competition

Important Dates ////////////////////////////////////////

DECEMBER 12, 2022
Applications open

MARCH 20, 2023
Online application deadline (11:59pm EST); NO APPLICATION FEE

APRIL 17, 2023
Notification of advancement to Round 2

MAY 22 – MAY 25, 2023
Live In-Person Auditions and Interviews in Philadelphia, PA

JUNE 5, 2023
2022 National Auditions Winners Announced

EARLY FALL, 2023
National Competition Winners Concert (in Philadelphia)
New Artist Welcome Week (in Philadelphia)

Application Guidelines /////////////////////////////////


Eligibility Guidelines

This season, Astral is not accepting applications for solo woodwinds, solo brass, or solo voice (alto, mezzo-soprano, soprano). Astral will hold auditions for these instruments and voice types next season in 2024. Classical musicians specializing in period, non-traditional, and folk instruments are always welcome to inquire; please email us with any questions regarding this.

 
  • 2023 candidates need not be citizens of the United States. However, candidates must reside in, and be legally eligible to perform and be compensated in the contiguous United States (the 48 states that do not include Hawaii and Alaska, and territories of the United States).
  • Candidates who advance to Round 2 must be available to travel to Philadelphia, PA during the scheduled dates in May 2023, to audition in-person, and be eligible for acceptance to and participation in Round 3 – Interview.
  • Candidates must be available to attend orientation and perform in a Winners Concert event in Philadelphia in early Fall 2023.
  • Candidates may be under professional management.
  • Chamber ensembles must demonstrate that they have been a pre-formed group for at least 2 years. Ensembles may have a maximum of six players.
  • Candidates may apply as soloists in addition to applying as a member of a chamber ensemble.
  • Prizes are not awarded at the competition; instead winners are invited to join Astral’s artist roster.
  • There is no limit to the number of artists to be invited onto Astral’s roster.
  • The panel has the right to recommend no artists, and all decisions are final.

Round 1 – Online Application, Recordings, and Video Statement

Online application and accompanying recordings and video statement due by the deadline of March 20, 2023 (11:59 EST). Candidates advanced to Round 2 will be notified by April 17, 2023. Candidates will be adjudicated on the basis of their musicianship, creativity in programming, and personal presentation.

 

Round One – Online Application and Audio Recording (Solo Piano, Solo Strings–including harp, guitar, mandolin, and other fretted strings, Solo Voice–countertenor, tenor, baritone, bass, and Small Chamber Ensembles)

  • 3 audio files (mp3, m4a, or wav) representing 3 different works that demonstrate different styles, of which at least 1 selection demonstrates technical facility on your instrument.
  • Single movements (represented in their entirety) from a larger work are acceptable.
  • Selections must have been recorded within the past 2 years.
  • Selections need not be the same as the repertoire prepared for Round 2.
  • For individuals: only audio files in which the candidate is the featured soloist will be accepted; a recording of the candidate’s performance within an ensemble will not be accepted. (i.e. A concerto performance would be accepted, but a performance within a piano quintet, for example, would not.)
  • Audio files may only be edited if you wish to cut extraneous/non-musical portions of your selections (i.e. spoken introductions or lengthy applause, etc.). Audio files may not be edited in any way to enhance performance quality.

 

Round One – Online Application and Audio Recording (Percussion)

  • 3 audio files (mp3, m4a, or wav) of the following: 2 contrasting mallet works (marimba and/or vibraphone) one of which demonstrates technical facility, and one single or multiple percussion solo (can be with or without electronics, and this selection may incorporate a drum set configuration, pitched or unpitched instruments)
  • Single movements (represented in their entirety) from a larger work are acceptable.
  • Selections must have been recorded within the past 2 years.
  • Selections need not be the same as the repertoire prepared for Round 2.
  • Only audio files in which the candidate is the featured soloist will be accepted; a recording of the candidate’s performance within an ensemble will not be accepted. (i.e. A concerto performance would be accepted, but a performance within a percussion ensemble for example, would not).
  • Audio files may only be edited if you wish to cut extraneous/non-musical portions of your selections (i.e. spoken introductions or lengthy applause, etc.). Audio files may not be edited in any way to enhance performance quality.

 

Naming Your Audio Files
Name each audio file by composer/title/movement title. DO NOT include your name when you name each audio file.

Video Statement Requirements
A video (mp4, mov, avi, wmv) of up to 2 minutes stating why and how you plan to seek a career as a professional musician. The Round 1 screening panel will not view the video statements. Video statements will only be viewed internally by Astral staff.

Round 2 – Live In-Person Performance (Percussion, Piano, Strings, Voice, and Small Chamber Ensembles)

Astral requests that candidates invited to the live performance round prepare a short program that reflects the artist’s own authentic self and expresses their creative vision via programming, design, and performance.

 

  • We encourage you to design a program that represents you and the full range of your interests and passions as a performer. This is a time for you to showcase your technical facility as well as your musicality on your instrument. We ask that you prepare 15-18 minutes of music as well as several minutes of spoken notes (consider your repertoire selections, why you chose to share them, what makes them meaningful to you). This live audition portion is not to exceed 20 minutes.
  • At a time when we are considering classical music’s reckoning with its own history of racism and white supremacy, Astral is prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion in programming. Knowing that we cannot expect to cultivate an audience any more diverse than the composers we present, candidates are required to perform at least one work by a Black, Indigenous, Multi-racial, and People of Color (BIMPOC), ALAANA (African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, Native American), Female, or Non-binary composer. Additionally, programs must contain at least one work composed since 1990 or after.
  • This program may include any number of selections.
  • Individual movements or excerpts from longer works may be included, as long as there is at least one complete work or movement represented.
  • Piano accompanists are at the discretion of the candidate but are not required. A collaborative pianist will be provided for solo strings and solo voice.
  • Candidates utilizing electronics or amplification will have access to a power source and must reach out to Astral to confirm if additional support is necessary. While we cannot provide additional equipment, we will strive to make every candidate comfortable in having the proper setup in order to best express themselves.
  • Percussionists will be provided with the following instruments: Marimba, Vibraphone, Timpani, Bass Drum, Tam-tam, Drum Set; all other instruments and equipment must be provided by the candidate. All instrument needs must be communicated to Astral no later than May 8, 2023.

Round 3 – Live In-Person Interview with Astral Career Development Team

  • Applicable if recommended by the Round 2 panel, following the live in-person audition.
  • The in-person interview helps us get to know the finalists off the concert stage and determine their suitability for Astral’s program. There is no performance component to this interview. The interview will complete the audition cycle and be an important factor in new roster artist selection.
  • Please note that candidates will not be penalized if English is not their first language, or if there are other speech issues. Please reach out to Astral directly to discuss any accommodations that may need to be provided. Astral is committed to accessibility for all of its candidates.

Questions? Contact grace@astralartists.org or 215.735.6999