About the Festival

The Seattle Young Artists Music Festival is open to young musicians, grades 5 through 12, who strive to improve their artistry in the performance of classical music. The week-long event gives young artists a unique opportunity to be heard, adjudicated, and inspired.

Instrumentalists in piano, strings, and woodwinds perform and receive masterclass adjudication and instruction in an unparalleled educational experience. Students perform individually or in small groups before professional music educators whose mission is to nurture confidence and guide students toward improved technical and musical performance.

Adjudicators from across the country are brought to Seattle just for this event and include faculty and performing artists from the best conservatories in America. Past Adjudicators include representatives from the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in New York, Juilliard, Eastman, Curtis Institute, The Cleveland Institute, Oberlin Conservatory, Indiana University, and other top tier music institutions.

Non-Competitive and Competitive Divisions

Seattle Young Artists Music Festival Association was founded in 1970 with a non-competitive philosophy. The majority of classes are in the three Non-Competitive Instrument Divisions and the Non-Competitive Concerto section for young artists seeking the performance and instructional aspects of the Festival without the pressure of a competitive environment.

For those who do enjoy the challenge of competition, a single Competitive Concerto Division is offered. Students entering this division have the opportunity to be selected as concerto finalists, where the most accomplished are invited to perform with a professional orchestra. The experience helps prepare aspiring young musicians for the rigors and rewards of a performance career.

Since 1970, the six-day festival has enabled more than 600 young people each year to perform and experience music in a way not otherwise available to them, and serves as a powerful motivation for the countless hours of practice and effort put forth by these classical music students throughout the year.

All performances of the Seattle Young Artists Music Festival Association are open to the public. Teachers are encouraged to attend and to observe the techniques of other educators in their fields. Music lovers, arts supporters, and young people, especially, are most welcome to attend the Festival and discover for themselves the magic of music and the joy of performance.

2022 Adjudicators

  • Christopher Hahn
    University of Montana
  • Robert Shannon
    Oberlin College
    Conservatory of Music
  • Arthur Greene
    University of Michigan
    School of Music
  • Franklin Larey
    Illinois Wesleyan University
    School of Music
  • Brenda Brenner
    Indiana University
    Jacobs School of Music
  • Marilyn McDonald
    Oberlin College
    Conservatory of Music
  • Margaret Pressley
    Founder & Director Emeritus
    Seattle Conservatory of Music
  • Horacio Contreras
    Lawrence University
    Conservatory of Music
  • Matthew Zalkind
    University of Denver
  • Terri Sánchez
    Bowling Green State University
    College of Musical Arts
  • Noelle Burns
    University of Puget Sound