Scholarship Competition Rules

Official Rules and Requirements:

Entry is open to all students up to age 18 residing and attending school or homeschool in the seven-county Greater Cleveland region, namely the counties of Cuyahoga, Lake, Geauga, Portage, Summit, Medina or Lorain.  Applicants may be of any age up to 18, but must not be attending college or university.   

The first prize winner of the competition will perform a solo with The Cleveland Pops Orchestra at one of its Severance Hall or Playhouse Square concerts, as determined by Conductor Carl Topilow. A cash prize of $1,000 will also be awarded. The second prize winner of the competition will perform a solo with The Cleveland Pops Orchestra at an outdoor concert or special event as determined by Conductor Carl Topilow and will receive a $500 cash award. Both winners must be available to rehearse with the orchestra at times designated by the music director. 

Written permission and approval from the applicant’s parent or legal guardian must accompany the application.

Applicants must be prepared to perform a full-length musical selection from memory  not to exceed 10 minutes. All applicants must perform with either keyboard or sound track. The piece selected must be available to be performed with symphony orchestra. No recorded music will be used during the live performance. The choice of the selection may be drawn from standard popular music repertoire, including songs, dances or instrumental solos found in Broadway musicals, jazz or light classics. 

The selection, to be performed by the winner in a Severance Hall concert, is subject to approval by Carl Topilow, conductor of The Cleveland Pops Orchestra. Anyone with questions as to repertoire or the suitability of their selection may write to Personnel Manager, Brianna Ferris, at bferris@clevelandpops.com.

The 2021 Cleveland Pops Competition will be accepting only virtual video applications this year. All performances must be accompanied. The application and video must be received by Personnel Manager, Brianna Ferris, at bferris@clevelandpops.com no later than  Friday, November 19, 2021.

Signed application, letter of permission and approval from the applicant’s parent or guardian and video must be received by  Friday, November 19, 2021. No entry will be accepted after the deadline.

The decision of the judges is final. Judges reserve the right to withhold prizes if no contestants are deemed qualified to win the scholarship.

Online submissions must be filled out here: Apply Online