National Young Musicians Competition

ASC 2017 COMPETITION_Finalsts with Joseph Holt and Lee Dougherty Ross_LR.jpg

In the past decade, we’ve awarded more than $300,000 to 80 gifted young musicians through our National Young Musicians Competition. The competition rotates each year between singers, pianists, and string instrument players. Past winners have gone on to study at leading music conservatories and pursued successful music careers. In 2016, in celebration of our 20th anniversary, we expanded the competition from a state-wide competition to a national competition—open to young musicians, ages 18 to 28, who live in the United States. Our adjudicators are brilliant music educators and musicians. Being judged and counseled by these celebrated adjudicators is an honor that remains with the performers for a lifetime.

Funds for our national competition are provided by fundraising activities conducted by our volunteer organization, endowed awards, individual gifts and grants and our scholarship fund. Each year, winners receive $20,000+ in awards. The first-place winner receives $8,000, with smaller awards presented to additional winners.

Click here for the 2018 National Young Musicians Competition Application.

History and Funding

Our national competition initiative began with leadership gifts from Jerold and Lee Dougherty Ross and Virginia Toulmin in 2002. In 2006, Virginia Toulmin made a generous gift to the organization, which was increased by additional donations and pledges to the fund. Funds raised annually by our volunteer arm, Artist Series Concerts Friends, are directed to awards and expenses related to our competitions and outreach programs. Donations, grants and sponsorships continue to be encouraged to support this important program.

Named awards

Artist Series Concerts offers several annual awards as part of its national competition program. The named awards are:

The Jerold and Lee Dougherty Ross Award
The Jerold and Lee Dougherty Ross Award, funded by Artist Series Concerts Friends, is awarded to the first-place winner.

The Ernest and Alisa Kretzmer Award
The Ernest and Alisa Kretzmer Award, in loving memory of Alisa Kretzmer, is awarded to the second-place winner.

The Mary Thienes-Schunemann Award
The Mary Thienes-Schunemann Award, endowed by Dr. R. Lawrence Thienes, is awarded to the third-place winner.

Herb & Edie Winston Award
The Herb and Edith Winston Award, in loving memory of Herb Winston, is awarded to the fourth-place winner.

The Katherine Lauder and Donald Britt Semi-Finalists Recognition
The Donald Britt and Katherine Lauder Semi-Finalists Recognition Awards are funds given to each finalist to defray transportation costs.

Artist Series Concerts also partners with the Sarasota Music Club to present the Suncoast Music Scholarships, an annual competition that awards $20,000 to young musicians from high schools in Sarasota and Manatee counties.

Interested in learning more about sponsoring these programs? Call John Fischer, managing director, at 941-306-1200 or email him at