About the Festival

Held at the University of Washington School of Music, 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.

2024 Adjudicators

  • Stephen Drury
    New England Conservatory of Music
  • Christopher Harding
    University of Michigan
  • Joseph Fridman
    Alberta Music Academy
  • Sandra Shapiro
    Cleveland Institute of Music
  • Grigory Kalinovsky
    Indiana University
  • William van der Sloot
    Oberlin College & Conservatory of Music
  • Rachel Lee Priday
    University of Washington
  • Natasha Brofsky
    The Juilliard School
  • Thomas Landschoot
    Arizona State University
  • Jonathan Keeble
    University of Illinois
  • Frank Kowalsky
    Florida State Univ, retired