Rising Stars Piano Competition

Orange County Steinway Academy Rising Stars Piano Competition (OCSTARS) is presented by OC Music & Dance, a Steinway Select School. It features a combination of master classes and competition for accomplished student and young adult musicians. The goal is to advance and recognize artistic achievement and passion of our young musicians and to help propel their musical journey.

About The Host

OCSTARS is a program of the Steinway International Preparatory Academy, a division of Orange County Music and Dance (“OCMD”), a nonprofit community performing arts school, located in Irvine, California. Our mission is to nurture, inspire and empower Orange County’s most committed and talented youth to achieve their dreams and provide a path for them to follow their passions.

About The Competition

OCSTARS consists of three rounds, the Master Class Round, Audition Round, and Winners Round.  All three rounds will be held on the campus of California State University, Long Beach on August 7 and 8, 2019. The Junior-Senior Divisions will compete for the Judges Award for Extraordinary Achievement and the Adult Division will compete for the Steinway Academy Prize. There is no pre-screening of applicants. Enrollment is accepted upon completion of the application process and payment of fees, subject to a limit of 100 participants. A short waiting list will be available.

Round One (Master Class Round)

Round One will be held on August 7, 2019, during which time participants will be provided a Master Class. The Master Class Instructors are renowned music educators and performers. The Master Class will be 15 minutes for Junior Division participants, 20 minutes for Senior Division participants, and 30 minutes for Adult Division participants. The selection for the Master Class Round must be a work to be performed during the Competition. Please choose ONLY one piece for the master class and bring a copy of the score to your class.


Master Class students will be evaluated as each Instructor feels appropriate, but will include the following two core goals:

Preparation. Students must come fully prepared for the lesson and will be evaluated based on command of the score in preparation for the lesson.

Growth. The Instructor will assess the degree to which the student was able to adjust, adapt and apply the guidance provided.

Each Instructor will select one student who the Instructor feels best demonstrated achievement in the two core goals of this Round. The points granted in the Master Class Round will constitute 30% of the total points used in computing the division winners. The remaining 70% points will be based on the performance competition in Round Two (Audition Round). The total of Round One (Master Class Round) and Round Two (Audition Round) will determine the age category winners for Junior and Senior divisions and top three winners for Adult Division.

Round Two (Audition Round)

Round Two will be held on August 8. This is the first of two rounds in the Performance Competition. The auditions for the Junior-Senior Divisions are each broken into three age categories. In the Junior Division, the categories are ages 6-7, 8-9, and 10-11. In the Senior Division, the categories are ages 12-13, 14-15 and 16-18. Contestants need to be the qualifying age of their age category on the first day of the competition (August 7,2019). Ages within categories subject to change, if necessary to balance the competition.


The auditions for the Adult Division will be held as one Age Category (ages 19-35).


Contestants will be evaluated as each Judge feels appropriate, but will include the following:

Musicality. Contestants are expected to demonstrate artistic interpretation and technical skills, including phrasing, dynamics, pedaling and adherence to the score. Judges expect to see a strong technical performance combined with artistry and passion.

Stage presence. Judges will be observing the contestant’s overall presentation, including his or her entrance and departure from the stage and charisma and confidence during performance.

Round Three (Winners Round)

The results of Round One (Master Class) and Round Two (Audition) will be announced at Round Three.

The 1st Place winners of each age category in the Junior-Senior Divisions will then be invited to perform in Round Three (Winners Round) for selection of the Senior and Junior Division winners and for the grand prize, known as the Judges Award for Extraordinary Achievement. The top three performers in the Adult  Division will be invited to perform one selection in Round Three for the Steinway Academy Prize. The Winners Round contestants will be adjudicated by all judges. The Division and grand prize winners will be announced and prizes awarded at the conclusion of the Round.

Key Dates

April 15, 2019
Registration opens. To participate, click the apply now button at the top of the page.
June 30, 2019
Registration closes. Regular registration must be submitted on-line or postmarked no later than midnight, June 30. Enrollment is limited and may be filled prior to the end of the Registration period.
July 10, 2019
Late Registration. Assuming availability, late registration is permitted up to midnight, July 10, but only on-line and with late payment fee of $20.
July 15, 2019
Applicants are notified of acceptance when the application is complete, including submission of master class score, and payment of fees. Enrollment is limited and individuals on the waiting list will be notified no later than July 15.
August 7, 2019
Master Classes at California State University, Long Beach.
August 8, 2019
Performance Competition at California State University, Long Beach. Award ceremony to follow. Recipients must be present to receive their awards and certificates.
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