Concerto Competition-Closed

(Jump to: Competition Information; Past Winners)

Congratulations to the American Youth Symphony’s 2018 Concerto Competition Winner, Sergio Coelho!

sergio wide crop small
Sérgio Coelho, Clarinet

Sérgio Coelho’s playing has been praised as “superb, to say the least, showcasing the heights of clarinet proficiency and taking the clarinet to its limits,” by Chad Lonski of The Daily Trojan (Los Angeles, CA), writing about Sérgio’s performance of the Mozart clarinet concerto.

Sérgio is the principal clarinet of the American Youth Symphony. A native of Portugal, Sérgio started learning clarinet and piano at the age of 9 at the Academia da Sociedade Filarmónica Vizelense. He later became a teacher there, as well as at the  Escola das Artes do Alentejo Litoral where he formed his clarinet studio and conducted youth orchestras. During his time in Portugal, Sérgio maintained an active performance career, appearing with multiple orchestras, chamber music groups and as a soloist. Sérgio graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Clarinet and Orchestra performance from the Metropolitan National Academy of Orchestra, Portugal, where he studied with Nuno Silva. It was here that Sérgio won the concerto competition which lead him to perform the Mozart Clarinet Concerto on tour with both the Lisbon Metropolitan Orchestra and the Metropolitan Academic Orchestra.

Sérgio moved to Los Angeles in 2014 to attend the University of Southern California where he completed a Graduate Certificate and a Master of Music Degree in clarinet performance, both under the tutelage of renowned pedagogue Yehuda Gilad. During his Masters of Music degree he became a fellow of the Latin Grammy Awards Foundation, after being selected for a scholarship from this institution. Since then, Sérgio has been developing his performance career playing with chamber music groups and orchestras throughout California. He is a regular performer with a diverse array of ensembles, including, Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, Santa Barbara Symphony, Downey Symphony Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Sinfonietta.

Sérgio is passionate about new music, and has served as a studio recording artist for several films and television shows, including the Netflix show “Chef’s Table”.

Sérgio has been featured as an orchestra and chamber music performer, and as a teacher, in several Festivals in across the US and around the world, including:  Harmus Festival in Oporto (Portugal), Festival Internacional de Música de Piantón (Spain), National Repertory Orchestra Festival (USA, Colorado) and the Eastern Sierra Symphony Festival (USA, California).

He has been awarded prizes in many international competitions, including: Finalist of the 2018 Hennings-Fischer Young Artists Competition (USA, California – 2018), Third Prize Winner, 8th Saverio Mercadante International Clarinet Competition (Italy – 2012); 1st Prize Winner, University of Southern California Concerto Competition (USA, California – 2015), 2nd Prize Winner, Pasadena Showcase House Instrumental Competition (USA – California 2014), First Prize Winner, Inatel Prize (best student of Academia Superior de Orquestra) (Portugal – 2013).

Currently, he is pursuing a prestigious Artist Diploma Degree at the University of Southern California under the tutelage of Yehuda Gilad.

Concerto Competition General Information:

2019 Application IS CLOSED

Application must be submitted by April 12, 2019

Live Concerto Competition date: April 23, 2019

Location: The Colburn School

Timeframe: 5:30pm – 9:00pm Your specific audition time will be assigned in 15 minutes intervals

Winner announced: April 26, 2019

Application Rules

  1. The Annual Concerto Competition is open to all current orchestra members.
  1. Repertoire choices are open to any standard concerto for solo instrument and orchestra. Repertoire must be memorized for Live Auditions. Exceptions may be made for some works (i.e. contemporary music or chamber works) with prior approval from the Director of Orchestra Operations.
  1. Once an application is submitted, changes in repertoire will not be allowed.
  1. Applicants must provide their own accompanist for the Live Audition.
  1. Applicant must provide the judges with at least one original copy of their selected music at the time of audition.
  1. To complete your application, the following documents must accompany each application form:

(a) Submission of a CV or musical resume , including applicant’s musical education background, performance experience, and a list of any awards and accomplishments. Please include list of major solo works in your repertoire, together with the dates of most recently performed. 


(b) A recommendation letter from current teacher or a musician of acknowledged standing. Letter to be emailed to

Procedures for the Competition 

  1. Applicants should retain copies of all material sent with their applications. The American Youth Symphony will accept no responsibility for lost documents.
  1. An acknowledgement will be sent to each applicant upon receipt of the completed application form and accompanying documents. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
  1. All applications will be reviewed by the Competition Artistic Committee and treated as confidential. The Committee reserves the right to request additional information from or about an applicant.
  1. The order of appearance of performers in the Live Auditions will be determined by a drawing. The Competition will follow this order except, at the discretion of the Chairman of the Jury, for reasons of accident, illness, or other unusual circumstances.
  1. The Competition may be recorded and videotaped for subsequent video, or audio recording use. It is anticipated that parts or all of the Competition will be made available on the Internet. Camera crews may photograph all Competition events. Neither the American Youth Symphony nor its assignees or licensees may be held liable for any payments to finalists arising out of materials derived from Competition performances. Applicants are required to sign a release form yielding all rights on such materials to the American Youth Symphony, its assignees or licensees.

Prizes and Engagements

Winner: $1,000 Scholarship to be used for career advancing opportunities, and an opportunity to perform with the American Youth Symphony for a concert date to be determined at a future date during the season following the audition.

Past Winners:

2017: Aubree Oliverson, violin

We are excited to announce the winner of our 2017 Concerto Competition, Aubree Oliverson. Aubree is currently in her first year at the Colburn Conservatory, studying with renowned pedagogue Robert Lipsett. 2016/17 also marks Aubree’s first yeah with the American Youth Symphony. Look for details on the date and programming of her solo performance to be released this summer!

Congratulations Aubree!

2016: Coleman Itzkoff, cello

As co-winner of the 2016 concerto competition, AYS principal Cellist Coleman Itzkoff performed Bloch’s Schelomo at the 2016/17 season opening concert on October 16, 2016.

Rachel Ostler, violin

Rachel Ostler performed the Korngold Violin Concerto on April 22, 2017 at the annual AYS Gala Concert.