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Chinese language: Chinese Fine Arts Society, Chicago

General Rules and Deadlines

Registration is open! Click here to register (click here for chamber group application

PLEASE NOTE – The 2024 Music Festival in Honor of Confucius is on May 18th and the registration deadline is April 26th.

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

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

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

Application Requirements:

To apply for the Music Festival in Honor of Confucius, students are required to provide the following:

  1. A link to a video application must be submitted by the application deadline. To submit, email the video file, or a private youtube link to [email protected].
  2. A completed application and a non-refundable fee are required for each student/entry and must be submitted by the deadline. Learn how to apply here. For Chamber Music applications, one application is required for each ensemble. (Preliminary video auditions do not have to be submitted at the same time as the application, but must be submitted before midnight of the final application deadline date.)

Video Application Requirements

Video Requirements:

  • Do not state the applicant’s name, age, or any additional personal information within the video and accompanying audio.
  • Video application must include piano accompaniment (except on unaccompanied pieces) 
  • The video must include two selections in the following order: a Chinese piece from the approved list, and a second piece of the applicant’s choosing. Both pieces must be performed in one take, with no cuts to the video or audio between pieces.
  • Record each piece or movement in its entirety, even if it exceeds the performance time length listed for your age group and division. Applicants are not required to play repeats, and solos within the piano accompaniment may be cut, but we ask that applicants not cut sections integral to the applicant’s solo line.
  • The video must be one single camera angle, with no cuts or edits to the video. The application audio must not be tampered with in any way. MFHC staff and judges reserve the right to disqualify students if it is suspected that the video or audio of an application has been forged or enhanced to inaccurately depict the applicant’s performance in any way.
  • The applicant’s face and hands must be visible for the entirety of the video (For chamber videos, all performers hands and faces must be visible)
  • Video recordings must be from the current year.

Video Submissions:

  • To submit the applicant’s preliminary video audition, please send the video file, or an unlisted youtube link to the video to [email protected]. When submitting the video please include the Applicant’s Name and division in the title of the email (example: Barbara Tiao, Senior Piano Division Video Application).
  • All video submissions must be received by midnight on the final application date. No exceptions or refunds will be given.

Video Guidelines and Tips:

  • Instructions on how to upload a video to youtube can be found here. (Note: when uploading video, please change the video privacy settings to Unlisted.)
  • While applicants will not be judged on the recording quality of their video, it is helpful to film applicant’s preliminary video audition in a well-lit area, that is free from background noises, where no additional people or animals are present. 

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

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 musical selection they have already won with, even if that selection 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. Students may only register and compete for one division per instrument category. Students may not submit multiple applications on the same instrument. 

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. MFHC staff reserves the right to decide if a division will be run or cut. 

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. (unless otherwise noted in specific division requirements)
    • 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 finalist’s round. 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 for the student’s competition and warm-up time during the finalist round. 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 feedback and 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