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Chinese language: Chinese Fine Arts Society, Chicago

General Rules and Deadlines

The 34th MFHC Application will be available soon. Please check back for updates. 

Application Fee
A non-refundable fee per entry/student is required with the completed application. Learn how to apply here.

  • Early Bird Registration: $75
  • Regular Registration: $100
  • Chamber Music Division: $125 per ensemble

If you require financial assistance, please visit the Need Based Scholarship application page.


Age Eligibility
Age eligibility for all divisions is determined by the contestant’s age as of September 28, 2019 (Confucius’ birthday). Students must compete in their designated age division unless they are a previous first-place winner (see below). Students may only register and compete for one division per instrument category.

Previous Winners
Students who are previous first-prize winners in an age division must compete in the next higher age division. Previous winners may not compete using a piece they have already won with, even if that piece is from the a higher division. 

Competing on multiple instruments or in both solo and Chamber Music divisions
Students may compete on multiple instruments, however, a separate application and application fee will be required. Students competing on an individual instrument may also compete in the Chamber Music Division, but a representative from that ensemble will be responsible for ensuring the ensemble’s application fee and application form are submitted.

Registration Minimum
A minimum of 3 students/ensembles must register for each division in order for the division competition to be held. Students whose divisions do not reach at least 3 applicants will be notified ahead of time and their application fee refunded. There is no maximum number of contestants.

Allotted Performance Times and Repertoire
For the competition, students may choose to perform pieces that are longer than the allotted performance time (please see individual division criteria). However, please keep in mind that judges reserve the right to cut off any performer at any time to stay within the time limit.

Judging Criteria
Students will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Accuracy: Intonation, rhythm, notes, dynamics etc
  • Technique: Tone quality, vibrato, facility, pedaling etc.
  • Musicality/Artistry
  • Difficulty level of Chinese repertoire selection
  • Memorization
    • Students must perform by memory in order to be considered for placement. 
    • Students who do not perform by memory can still participate, but will only receive judge comments and participation (huang zhong) points
    • Chamber ensembles do not need to perform by memory.
  • Repertoire choices
    • Please keep in mind that both the required Chinese piece and piece of your choice will be weighted equally when being considered for placement.

Judges and Winner Decisions
All judges are accomplished professional musicians, music educators, and specialists in their respective performing arts field. Judges’ decisions will be final. Judges also reserve the right not to award placement in a division, or to award ties should they feel it is appropriate.

Due to copyright laws, every student must own a hard copy or legally downloaded copy of all music they will perform. Students will be required to bring a hard copy of the music with them to the competition, or else will face disqualification. Students may not share music with other competing students.

Some music has been special ordered from China and is available only from the CFAS store. Others can be purchased through US-base online and local music stores.

Choosing an accompanist
When choosing an accompanist, please keep in mind how many students your accompanist may be performing with on the day of the competition. You will have a limited amount of time to warm-up with your accompanist that day, however, some accompanists may not be available due to performances with other students. CFAS staff will do the best they can to avoid conflicts, but there are times when it may be impossible to do so.

All potential scheduling conflicts need to be submitted to the Chinese Fine Arts Society as soon as possible via email ([email protected]) in order to be considered into the student’s competition and warm-up time. Although we cannot guarantee that we will be able to schedule you at your preferred competition time, CFAS staff will do the best they can to honor each request.

Choosing Repertoire
Always choose repertoire that is appropriate for your current performance level. The Chinese repertoire for each age division covers a wide range of levels to accommodate all levels of students. If you need to change your repertoire selection after submitting your application, please email [email protected]

You may choose to perform repertoire that is outside of your current age division. However you can not compete for a cash prize unless your Chinese piece is in the repertoire for your age division or a more advanced division. Participants that select repertoire from a less advanced division will still receive Huang Zhong participation points.


CFAS reserves the right to modify competition procedures and to enforce contest rules as necessary. Participants shall be notified of changes and updates via email.

Related Pages
Competition Divisions and Requirements
How to Apply
Purchase MFHC Books