Kaleidoscope 2018 Instrumental and Vocal Competition

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Q: How many people will you select as finalists and winners of this competition?
A: 6 people will be invited to compete in our final round in Los Angeles on June 9th 2018, performing their piece with piano accompaniment, open to the public with free admission and streamed live. 3 people will then be chosen to perform with orchestra as part of our 5th season (2018-2019), and each be offered a $5,000 prize.


Q: Will you be offering a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prize to the three winners?
A: No, each person will be considered an equal winner of our 2018 competition.


Q: How do I apply?
A: Please upload a video recording of your piece to YouTube or Vimeo, submit our online application form (including the link to your video), and submit the $30 application fee. Your video may be listed as public or private.


Q: When is the deadline for applying?
A: April 1, 2018.


Q: If I am selected as a finalist, do I need to perform the same piece in person that I submit via video?
A: Yes.


Q: Is memorization required?
A: No.


Q: Do you cover travel expenses for finalists?
A: Yes, performers selected for the final round will be reimbursed for air travel to Los Angeles from their city of residence (anywhere in the world) and be offered housing with host families leading up to the final round. Rehearsal time with a pianist will be provided the day before the final round. Winners of the competition will also receive travel and housing covered leading up to their performances with us in our 2018-2019 season.


Q: Are there age or nationality requirements to apply?
A: No, performers of any nationality and age may apply.


Q: Are there specific instruments or voice types that are preferred?
A: No, our competition is also equally open to all instruments and singers.


Q: What music can I apply with?
A: Any piece for instrumental or vocal soloist and orchestra is allowed. Because Kaleidoscope is a conductorless orchestra, you should apply with repertoire that you feel comfortable rehearsing and performing this way.

Q: Do you allow operatic selections for singers?
A: Yes, in addition to concert works for voice and orchestra we will also consider selections of operatic repertoire. If you choose to submit a selection of operatic repertoire, you should submit 2-4 contrasting arias from the same opera, totaling 30 or fewer minutes.


Q: What size is Kaleidoscope and what music have you performed previously?
A: The size of the ensemble is very flexible depending on programming and we have performed everything from small chamber works to large symphonies like Mahler 4 and Prokofiev 5. We have also performed many pieces by living composers and the past programs for our first 4 seasons are listed on our webpage: http://www.kco.la/concerts/


Q: Do you have recordings of any of your past performances? Will my performance be recorded?
A: Yes, the concerts with musicians selected to perform with us in our 2018-2019 season will be professionally audio and video recorded. Live recordings from most of our past performances are available on our YouTube page:



Q: What is your rehearsal process like?
A: Our rehearsal process is very democratic and collaborative, like chamber music, and we generally rehearse for a week leading up to concerts. Past soloists have enjoyed communicating directly with all the musicians in the orchestra, working together to find a shared interpretation.


Q: When and how will results be announced?
A: Applicants will be notified via email by early May 2018 if they have been invited to our final round. We will announce finalists publicly after notifying all applicants. To follow us on social media, please go to:



Q: Do I need accompaniment for my video submission?
A: No, accompaniment is optional. However, if you are invited to our final round in Los Angeles, you will be required to perform your piece with piano accompaniment. A pianist and rehearsal time will be provided.


Q: Do I need to hire a recording engineer to make my video?
A: No, the most important thing is the quality accurately represents your best playing. Recording your video at home with an iPhone or computer would be fine as long as the sound quality is good. The audio quality is much more important than the video quality, but the video should also show you clearly.


Q: How recent does my recording need to be?
A: Your recording should have been made within 2 years of our application deadline (April 1). If you have a video of a past live performance with piano or orchestra, that is also fine to submit.


Q: If my piece is in multiple movements, is it ok to apply with just one movement?
A: No, you need to submit the complete piece.

Q: I'm submitting a Concerto in 3 movements. Do all 3 movements need to be recorded in one continuous take?

A: It is fine to stop the recording between movements (or longer sections in a one-movement piece) and edit them together into one video. If you edit together longer sections/movements, they should all be recorded on the same day/location.

Q: Do I need to count multi-measure rests?
A: If there are long sections without the solo line, please move on to the next section as soon as you're comfortable. If you are performing with accompaniment, cuts in longer tutti sections are optional.


Q: Do you allow submissions by duos, trios, etc. (i.e.: Beethoven Triple Concerto, Mahler Das Leid von der Erde, etc.)?
A: No, only repertoire for one soloist and orchestra will be considered.


Q: I want to apply with a contemporary piece that you might not know. Is that ok and do I need to send a copy of the score?
A: We have performed many premieres and welcome applying with newer pieces. If we feel unable to fully consider your application without a copy of the score, we will contact you. Please also make sure your piece has a piano reduction available, in case you are invited to our final round.


Q: With such an open competition, how will you decide which performers to select?
A: The decisions for any competition are inherently subjective and the judges may not all agree. However, we are searching for artists that have something very special to share and are unafraid of taking risks.


Q: Can I submit more than one application?
A: You may submit as many applications as you like, but there is a separate $30 application fee for each piece you wish to submit. You also will need to submit a separate online application for each piece you wish to submit. For instance, if you wish to submit both a Mozart Piano Concerto and the Ligeti Piano Concerto, or two or more applications on different instruments, that's fine.


Q: How do I pay the application fee?
A: After you fill out the application form you will be redirected to a payment portal. 


Q: Where does the money go that's raised from application fees?
A: After covering necessary costs to hold the competition, any additional money raised goes into programming costs like paying musicians, renting percussion instruments, venue rentals, administrative costs, and our education program. Kaleidoscope is a 501c3 charitable organization and over 70% of the concerts we perform each season are free performances at schools, hospitals, homeless shelters, and other underserved parts of Los Angeles. Other venues we have performed at include Walt Disney Concert Hall, Rothenberg Hall at The Huntington Museum, and Zipper Hall at the Colburn School.


Q: I would love to apply, but $30 is a financial hardship for me. Will you consider waiving the fee?
A: We have intentionally kept the application fee low to not be a hardship, but we understand everyone is in a different position. If you have special circumstances that will make paying the fee a hardship, or you reside in a country that will not allow you to pay online, please email us at: contact@kco.la


Q: Who will be judging the applications?
A: We have an artistic team made up of musicians who perform regularly with Kaleidoscope and work together to decide programming.


Q: After I apply, how and when will I receive confirmation of my application?
A: After you submit your application fee, you should automatically receive a receipt. Shortly after our deadline (April 1), you will receive an additional email confirmation from us from the email you listed in your application. We will also contact you if we have any questions or have issues accessing your video. Please make sure your video stays uploaded until after we announce the results.

Q: I just heard about your competition but the deadline passed recently. Can I still apply?
A: We strongly encourage everyone to apply before the deadline but if you have issues or need a little more time, please let us know and we may consider slightly late applications on a case-by-case basis.

Q: I have other questions not mentioned here. How do I get in touch?
A: The best way to reach us is via email at: contact@kco.la