Early Music America Announces Medieval/Renaissance Performance Competition

5 Dec 2007

SEATTLE, WA-Early Music America, with the generous support of a private donor, will sponsor the third EMA Medieval/Renaissance Performance Competition.  The winner of the competition will receive a cash prize (the Unicorn Prize) and a concert performance sponsored by EMA as a concurrent event at the Boston Early Music Festival in June 2009.  The purpose of this competition is to encourage the development of emerging artists in the performance of medieval and Renaissance music.


  • Applicants must be ensembles (minimum 2 performers) using voice(s) and/or period instrument(s).
  • Repertoire is limited to medieval and Renaissance periods, roughly 800-1550 A.D., performed on period instruments and in a style which is historically informed.
  • Applicants must be members (individual or organizational) of EMA.
  • Applicants must be residents of USA or Canada.
  • Applicants must meet the definition of  “emerging artists”—ensembles which have not performed together for more than 5 years and where all of the performers are age 35 or younger, as of the date of application.
  • Previous winners are not eligible to compete.

Timetable and Application Process
Applications will be due by April 30, 2008.  Applicants should submit to EMA 3 copies of an unedited audition recording no longer than 30 minutes in length, on unlabeled CDs; 4 paper copies of the program of music recorded, with no artist or group names included; 4 paper copies of the artists’ names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, short bios of the performers, and if an ensemble, a short history of the group.  Finalists will be selected by June 30, 2008.  The finalists will receive hour-long coaching sessions from a distinguished early music artist and give live 20 to 30-minute performances in concert in NYC in October 2008.  (Travel subsidies, $200/person up to a maximum $1000 per finalist ensemble, will be available upon application.)  A winner will be selected immediately after the concert.

An anonymous panel of 3 judges, selected by EMA, will choose the finalists, based on performance quality of their recordings.  A panel of 5 judges, selected by EMA, will judge the final competition in NY and select the winner.

The winner will receive the $5,000 Unicorn Prize and the opportunity to present a full-length concert, presented by EMA as a concurrent event, during the Boston Early Music Festival in June 2008.  The cash prize will be awarded in two installments, $2,000 upon winning the competition, and $3,000 upon performing the concert. Additionally, EMA will include a short feature article about the winner in a subsequent issue of Early Music America magazine.  The winner will also be featured on the early music radio program, Harmonia, as scheduled by the host, Angela Mariani.

NEW this year:  There will also be a $1,000 Audience Prize awarded immediately after the finals.  Members of the audience will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite ensemble at the end of the competition.

All materials should be sent to:

EMA Medieval/Renaissance Performance Competition
2366 Eastlake Ave. E. #429
Seattle, WA 98102

Contact:  Maria Coldwell
206-720-6270; fax 206-720-6290