Primrose 2018

Primrose International Viola Competition

The Primrose International Viola Competition® 2018 is open to violists born after January 1, 1989, and who are ready to embark on an international solo career. The Competition welcomes applicants of all nationalities, ethnic origins, religions, and genders.

All applicants must be current members in good standing of the American Viola Society (click here if you are not a current member) and are required to submit a nonrefundable application fee of $150 US dollars. The online application can be accessed here and will be due by 11:59 PM Pacific Standard Time on December 18, 2017.

Repertoire Guidelines & Procedures

Works with and without piano accompaniment are permitted in all rounds, unless otherwise specified. Competitors must perform a different selection of works in each round (including the Pre-Screening Round). All concertos and works for solo viola must be performed by memory. Repeats are not encouraged, but are left to the discretion of the competitor. The cutting of particularly lengthy tutti sections is strongly encouraged for all rounds (except for the Final Round), but is ultimately left to the discretion of the competitor. The program performance order in the Pre-Screening, Quarter-Final, and Semi-Final Rounds is at the discretion of the competitor. The number of competitors noted below are subject to change; the jury will have the discretion to decide on the final number of competitors for each round. All prizes will be awarded, and the decisions of the jury will be final.

Pre-Screening/Video Round

Competitors will perform works that fulfill all of the following criteria, and each video recording shall be made from start to finish without cuts and/or splices. Each work shall be uploaded separately:

1) first movement of the Stamitz Viola Concerto in D Major, Op. 1 or Hoffmeister Viola Concerto in D Major, including a cadenza of your choice;

2) one movement of a Bach Cello Suite, or a Bach Violin Sonata or Partita transcribed for viola; and

3) a work that demonstrates the virtuosic strengths of the participant

* Maximum time limit of total combined performance of all three works – 20 minutes *

Quarter-Final Round

The 24 competitors in the Quarter‐Final Round will perform works that fulfill both of the following criteria:

1) a work that demonstrates the musical strengths of the competitor (examples include, but are not limited to, a work by Brahms, Schumann, Schubert, Shostakovich, Clarke,  Hindemith, and Enescu–due to the time constraint, competitors may perform a single movement of their choice); and

2) a work that demonstrates the virtuosic strengths of the competitor (examples include, but are not limited to, a Hindemith or Reger solo sonata, Paganini Sonata per La Grand Viola, Weber Andante e rondo ungarese, Penderecki Cadenza, Paganini Caprice, and/or any works comparable to those previously listed)

* Minimum length of performance – 20 minutes; maximum length of performance – 25 minutes *

Semi-Final Recital Round

The 8 competitors who advance to the Semi‐Final Round will have the freedom to choose their repertoire, excluding concerto repertoire. Competitors will also have the option to perform a transcription in this round – the transcription can be his/her own OR a Primrose transcription of a work not originally for viola. A special “Transcriptions Prize” will be awarded for the best performance in this round. Some Primrose transcriptions are listed in the PDF called “Repertoire Guidelines” for reference.

* Maximum length of performance – 50 minutes *

Final Round

Each of the 3 competitors in the Final Round will perform, in its entirety, the following repertoire in 2 phases:

1) Brahms Trio in A Minor, Op. 114 (Lynn Harrell, cello; pianist to be determined); and

2) Bartók/Serly Viola Concerto or Walton Viola Concerto with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra 

Live Round Information

By March 1, 2018, the 24 invited live round competitors will be required to submit the following:

  • repertoire for the Quarter-Final, Semi-Final, and Final Rounds;
  • a high-resolution photo and 200-word biography for publicity purposes; and
  • confirmation of logistical details (competitors will be contacted individually)

Any competitors performing transcriptions are required to send a copy of the accompanist part or the name of the edition to by March 1, 2018.

Any competitors planning to bring a private accompanist to the Competition is required to state such intentions in writing to by March 1, 2018. (The Competition will not be responsible for any costs associated with bringing a private accompanist – see “Accompanists” section below for details.)

All live round competitors are required to be present at the drawing of lots on June 10, 2018.

Accommodations: Each live round competitor will be provided one room within a suite of the Colburn School’s residential facilities from Saturday, June 9th, and will be required to depart by Sunday, June 17th. Only in cases where a competitor is under the age of 18, an additional room may be requested for a parent to accompany the competitor. Competitors will be responsible for any and all accommodations falling outside of the competition period. Competitors who only take part in the Quarter-Final Rounds (and do not participate in the Semi-Final or Final Rounds) are welcome to stay for the rest of the competition, but are not required to do so.

Accompanists: Accompanists will be provided by the Competition and assigned to competitors based on repertoire. Accompanist assignments may change from the Quarter-Final Round to the Semi-Final Round. Every competitor will be provided 60 minutes of rehearsal time for the Quarter-Final Round and 90 minutes of rehearsal time for the Semi-Final Round with their accompanist. Rehearsals will begin after the drawing of lots on June 10, 2018. Competitors who choose to bring their own accompanist must specify such intentions when submitting their live round repertoire (by March 1, 2018). Competitors will be responsible for any transportation, accommodation, and any other costs associated with bringing a private accompanist.

Drawing of lots: The drawing of lots will take place on June 10, 2018 at 10 a.m., and will decide the playing order of the Quarter-Final and Semi-Final Rounds. Any competitors not physically present at the drawing will be assigned a proxy to draw on his/her behalf, and the playing order will be determined accordingly (only in extreme circumstances will the order of playing be altered by the Competition Committee). The playing order of the Final Round may or may not follow the playing order of the previous rounds, depending on a number of factors including choice of repertoire.

Meals: The Colburn Café will be open for all days of the Competition. There is also a plethora of dining options around Colburn and the general downtown Los Angeles area.

Rehearsals: Every competitor will be provided 60 minutes of rehearsal time for the Quarter-Final Round and 90 minutes of rehearsal time for the Semi-Final Round with their accompanist. Rehearsal times for the Final Round will be announced on a date closer to the live rounds of the Competition.

Taxes: Taxes will be deducted from prize monies in accordance with United States tax laws in effect at the time of the Competition.

Visas: In some instances, competitors who are not U.S. citizens may be required to obtain a visa in order to enter the United States. Please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for any questions pertaining to such matters.










*Additional prizes to be determined. Prize monies in US dollars.



The online application is available here and will be due by December 18, 2017; the application fee will be $150 US dollars (nonrefundable)


January 29, 2018


March 1, 2018


June 9, 2018


June 10, 2018


June 12 & 13, 2018


June 14, 2018


June 16, 2018

Who will be there?





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