The 2020 Steinway Society of Massachusetts Piano Competition will consist of three divisions. All divisions will compete at M. Steinert & Sons Piano Selection Facility at 28 Damrell Street in South Boston. All participants must compete in the division corresponding to their age by April 1, 2020.

Participants must complete and submit the full application at website link. Registration opens January 15, 2020 and the deadline is May 1, 2020 at 11:59pm ET.

A NON-REFUNDABLE application fee of $75 USD must be paid at the time of application submission.

Application questions will include student, parent/guardian, and teacher information.

A confirmation message will be sent once a student’s complete application has been received. Ms.  Christina Dietrich will contact participants with further instructions regarding the audition procedure and scheduling.

All participants will have the opportunity to play on a Steinway grand comparable to the competition instrument before their audition day. To schedule a rehearsal time, applicants must contact the Ms. Dietrich.


Each participant is required to perform two pieces and will be allotted the following amount of time for the performance of both pieces:

o Division I: Ages 10 and under max. 9 minutes

o Division II: Ages 11-14 max. 12 minutes

o Division III: Ages 15-18 max. 15 minutes

The two contrasting piano works- one from the Baroque or classical and the second from the Romantic or Twentieth/Twenty-first century – must be performed from memory. Original compositions and improvisations are not permitted. Repeats may be played at the discretion of the performer but are not required.  Judges reserve the right to cut off performances at their discretion.

All applicants should bring original scores of their sheet music (NO photo copies) with minimal markings for the judges. If a published score of a piece is not available in the United States an IMSLP print out will be allowed. Please notify Ms. Dietrich in such cases.

Contestants will be graded on the following criteria, using a rating scale of 1-5:

Musicality and artistry:

Students who score well will not simply play their selected pieces cleanly but will demonstrate an appropriate understanding of aspects of performance including artistic and stylistic interpretation. Judges will look for students who exhibit attention to details of musicality such as phrasing, dynamics, touch, and shaping, and who can elevate their performance from merely playing the written notes, to giving a dynamic and engaging performance.

Technical mastery:

Students who score well will demonstrate that they can meet the technical requirements of their selected pieces. They should be able to comfortably navigate the technical challenges of the literature. Their performance should be free of major note or fingering errors. Students should look to utilize an appropriate tempo and, when required, clean pedaling.

Adherence to the score:

Students who score well will demonstrate a nuanced understanding of the composers’ intent in both pieces they perform. Their performances should reflect instructions given by the composer in the score including (but not limited to) tempo, style, pedaling, dynamic markings, etc., as well as customs of the period in which their selected piece was written.

Stage presence:

Students should demonstrate a high level of professionalism throughout their audition. Students who score well will display both confidence and charisma, whether it is their first time participating in a competition, or they are more experienced. Students should keep in mind that if they should receive an award, they will be expected to perform in front of their peers and guests. This includes appropriate performance attire.


Students are expected to perform their selected pieces without referring to the score. The judges may, in the case of a memory slip, choose to prompt a student at their discretion; however, such instances will detract from the student’s overall score.

Age requirements apply to applicant’s age as of April 1, 2020. Open to applicants from the New England region. Students who have participated and won first place in the competition last year may not enter again in the same division.

Judges will be announced in the application for the competition. If a change is made, it will be announced prior to the competition.

Students, teachers, parents, and audience members should not approach the judges for any reason before or during the competition.

Students who study or have studied with any of the announced judges should notify Ms. Dietrich. In such a case an alternate judge will adjudicate the competition performance.

Assigned audition slots are final. Rescheduling requests will not be possible. If a competitor misses his or her turn, he or she will have forfeited his or her chance to participate (no refunds will be offered).

Competitors are responsible for their own expenses to participate in the competition, including the cost of their travel.

Contestants should wear their best performance attire. Gentlemen should be in suits/tuxedos and Ladies in formal dresses/gowns.

Qualifying competitors must perform live in order to be considered.

Evaluations for each round of the competition made by the jury committees are final.

  1. Steinert & Sons reserve the rights to photograph, record, or video the auditions of contestants and winners and to use these documents in promoting the competition. No extra fee will be paid to the contestants.

Each winner is solely responsible for reporting and paying any and all applicable taxes related to the prize(s) and paying any expenses associated with any prizes, which are not specifically provided for in the official rules.

Each winner must provide M. Steinert & Sons with valid identification and a valid taxpayer identification number or social security number before any prize will be awarded. Any person winning over $600 in prizes from M. Steinert & Sons will receive an IRS form 1099 at the end of the calendar year and a copy of such form will be filed with the IRS.

  1. Steinert & Sons reserves the right to the interpretation of the Terms and Conditions of the Regulations.