Schubert Club Scholarship Competition

Elevating young musicians with inspiration, connections, and accomplishment

The Schubert Club Student Scholarship Competition, held each spring, awards a total of over $50,000 annually to young musicians to be used for further musical education.

The competition began in 1922, celebrating the 40th anniversary of Schubert Club. It started modestly with three winners representing the categories of voice, violin, and piano. The competition has since grown to fourteen different categories with two cash prizes awarded for each category – $2000 and $1500 – to be used for further musical education. The winners of each category are also invited to perform in the annual Winners Recital.

The Competition is named in memory of Bruce P. Carlson, Executive Director of Schubert Club from 1968 to 2006.

Applicants must be a resident or enrolled in a learning institution within the 5-state region (MN, WI, SD, ND or IA).

2020 Competition Dates

Applications Open: Monday, October 14, 2019

Application Deadline: Friday, January 24, 2020

Piano, Strings, Brass & Woodwinds, Voice, and Guitar (at Macalester College)
Saturday, March 14, 2020 – Preliminaries
Sunday, March 15, 2020 – Finals
Schubert Club Musicians on the Rise (Competition Winners Recital) featuring winners of the Bruce P. Carlson Student Scholarship Competition will be held at the Ordway Concert Hall on Saturday, March 28, 2020 at 1:00 pm.

2020 Rules

2019 Finals Judges

Our 2019 Finals Judges pictured from left to right: Sergio Assad (Guitar), Jorja Fleezanis (Strings), Kelly Markgraf (Voice), Audrey Saint-Gil (Piano), and Charles Ullery (Brass & Woodwinds)

Sergio Assad (Guitar Finals Judge): Born into a musical family in Mococa, São Paulo, Brazil, Sérgio Assad and his brother Odair began their studies under the best-known classical guitar teacher in Brazil at the time, Monina Távora, a former disciple of Andrés Segovia. As a composer, Assad has completed over a hundred works for guitar, many of which have become standards in the classical guitar repertoire. Pieces like Aquarelle, Fantasia Carioca, Farewell, Sonata 1, and Eli’s Portrait are part of the repertoire of many well-established guitarists today. Assad has completed over 300 arrangements for different chamber music settings. Most recently, Assad has finished a concerto for cello and chamber orchestra named “Quadros do Brasil” that has been dedicated to Mr. Yo-Yo Ma under his request. He has been arranger for Gidon Kremer, Dawn Upshaw, Yo-Yo Ma, Nadja Salerno Sonnenberg, Paquito D’Rivera, Turtle Island String Quartet, and LA Quartet among others. Assad was awarded an award for artistic life achievement by the Guitar Foundation of America in 2015 along with his brother Odair, and an honorary degree by the University of Arizona in Tucson in 2013. Assad has taught master classes in conservatories, universities, and music schools in the US, Europe, Latin America, Japan, and Australia. From 1994 to 1996, he taught at the Conservatoire Royal de Musique in Brussels and from 2003 to 2006 at the Chicago College for the Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. From 2008 to 2016 he was part of the guitar faculty at the SFCM.

Jorja Fleezanis (Strings Finals Judge) was concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra from 1989 to 2009—the longest-tenured concertmaster in the orchestra’s history and only the second woman in the U.S to hold the title of concertmaster in a major orchestra when appointed. Prior to Minnesota, she was associate concertmaster with the San Francisco Symphony for eight years, and a member of the Chicago Symphony. A devoted teacher, Fleezanis became an adjunct faculty member at the University of Minnesota’s School of Music in 1990 through 2009. She has also enjoyed teaching roles with other organizations such as Round Top International Festival Institute in Texas, University of California Davis, San Francisco Conservatory, the Music@Menlo Festival, the New World Symphony, the Music Academy of the West, Boston Conservatory, the Juilliard School, the Shepherd School of Music, and the Interlochen Academy and Summer Camp. She is also a frequent guest and clinician at the Britten Pears Center at Snape Maltings, England in programs for both young musicians and professional orchestral violinists. Her recording of the complete violin sonatas of Beethoven with the French forte pianist Cyril Huvé was released in 2003 on the Cyprés label. Other recordings include Aaron Jay Kernis’ Brilliant Sky, Infinite Sky on CRI, commissioned for Fleezanis by the Schubert Club, and Stefan Wolpe’s Violin Sonata recorded with Garrick Ohlsson for Koch International. Fleezanis studied at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Kelly Markgraf (Voice Finals Judge), bass-baritone, has been hailed by the New York Times for his “heart-stirring” singing and “charismatic” stage presence. The 2018-19 season will mark the release of his recent world premiere recording with Giancarlo Guerrero and The Nashville Symphony of John Harbison’s Requiem, Marc Neikrug’s chamber opera A Song by Mahle, the role of Ring Lardner in Joel Puckett’s The FIX at Minnesota Opera, collaborations with composer Matthew Aucoin, counter-tenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, and Houston Da Camera for Orpheus-themed program at the Menil Collection, featuring music from Aucoin’s upcoming Orpheus at the Metropolitan Opera. In 2017 he created the role of Paul Jobs in Mason Bates’ premiere The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs at the Santa Fe Opera. He also created the role of Hannah-Before in Laura Kaminsky’s transgender opera As One. He has performed with the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas, he made his San Francisco Symphony debut as Bernardo in a live concert recording of West Side Story which was later nominated for a GRAMMY Award. His discography includes the world-premiere recordings of Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath and Carlisle Floyd’s Wuthering Heights, the new definitive recording of West Side Story with the San Francisco Symphony, two albums of chamber music from the Music@Menlo Festival, and the forthcoming release of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs which was recorded live during its premiere at The Santa Fe Opera. He holds degrees from Boston University, the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, and the Juilliard School.

Audrey Saint-Gil (Piano Finals Judge): French conductor and pianist Audrey Saint-Gil is the assistant conductor at Los Angeles Opera and associate to Plácido Domingo and James Conlon. A native of Southern France, Saint-Gil attended the Conservatoire National de Musique de Toulouse where she was awarded three first prizes with distinction in piano solo, chamber music, and vocal coaching. She continued her doctoral studies, in parallel with her solo piano career, at the Université de Toulouse and graduated with a PhD in Greek philosophy. Saint-Gil began her career at the Théâtre du Capitôle in Toulouse and her international career at the Konzerthaus in Vienna under the direction of Bertrand de Billy. At the same time she was appointed Head Vocal Coach of the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris. In 2018, she debuted conducting La Traviata to wide critical acclaim at the Narnia Festival in Italy. She made her American debut as Assistant Conductor with Michigan Opera Theatre and has worked with major opera houses such as Cincinnati Opera Festival, Ravinia Festival, Caramoor International Music Festival, Royal Opera House, Washington National Opera, New York City Opera and Los Angeles Opera under the direction of James Conlon and Plácido Domingo. She has served as a judge for several major vocal competitions including the International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition at the Metropolitan Opera. Saint-Gil was featured in this season’s Schubert Club International Artist Series performing piano with baritone Christopher Maltman.

Charles Ullery (Brass & Woodwinds Finals Judge) was principal bassoonist of The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra from 1975 to 2017. Prior to that, he was a member of the San Francisco Symphony for four seasons and the Sixth Army Band at the Presidio in San Francisco for 2 years. Chuck has appeared at the Sarasota Music Festival, the Utah Festival, the Rockport Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, the Carnegie Hall Festival, with the SPCO as soloist, and as a principal bassoonist of the Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra in Jackson, Wyoming (1975-2015). He spent the 1987–88 season as a faculty member at Oberlin College, the 2008–09 season as a visiting lecturer at Indiana University, taught for a quarter at Northwestern University in Evanston in 2014, and has been an affiliate faculty member at the University of Minnesota. Chuck graduated with honors in mathematics from the University of Arizona at age nineteen and started graduate work in math at UCLA before entering the Army. The wonderful bassoon teaching of Norman Herzberg “crossover” from math into classical music. His greatest pleasures include visiting his daughter, a post-doc faculty member at Harvard; spending time with his son, a violist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic; walking, traveling, and biking with his wife Elsa Nilsson; reading economics and revisionist American history, tutoring math, and playing way too much online chess.

'It has been an indispensable source for musical growth, and a proving ground where I could test my skill and artistry. I feel like I've grown up as a musician through the Schubert Club competition, and it is an opportunity for which I am immensely grateful.' -Liam Ainslie Mayo, 2017 Piano Winner

Photos from past Competitions

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March 14 & 15, 2020

Scholarship Competition for Piano, Strings, Voice, Guitar, Brass & Woodwinds

Macalester College
Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center
Music Building
130 S. Macalester Street
Saint Paul, MN 55105

Preliminaries: March 14, 2020
8:00 am- 5:30 pm
Finals: March 15, 2020
9:00 am- 4:30 pm

Thank you to our partners at Macalester College!

 Musicians on the Rise

2020 Competition Winners Recital
Saturday, March 28, 2020, 1:00 pm

Ordway Concert Hall
345 Washington St
St Paul, MN 55102

Reserve your free tickets online or call 651.292.3268

Register Online Now!

Application for Piano

Application for Voice

Application for Brass, Woodwinds, Strings, and Guitar

Finalists & Winners


For up-to-date news on results, photos, and more follow us on Instagram and Twitter @schubertclub #sccompetition


Looking for confirmation email? Schubert Club reviews each application individually in order of receipt. You will not receive an automatic confirmation, but will receive an email from staff after your application has been reviewed.

Questions? Please contact Kate Cooper at 651.292.3266 or

More Info

Scholarship Competition Categories

Note: The age of contestants is determined as of 09/01/19.


Level I: Grades 7, 8, 9
Level II: Grades 10, 11, 12
Level III: College Freshman through age 23
Level IV: Age 24 through 28


Level I: Grades 7, 8, 9
Level II: Grades 10, 11, 12
Level III: College Freshman through age 23
Level IV: Age 24 through 28

Combined Brass and Woodwinds

Level II: Grades 9, 10, 11, 12
Level III: College Freshman through age 28


Grade 9 through age 28


Level I:  Age 18 through 21
Level II:  Age 22 through 25
Level III:  Age 26 through 30

Looking for an accompanist? Check our online directory.

Music Educators

If you would like to publicize the Competition information within your music school or studio with posters or postcards, please contact Kate Cooper, Competition Manager at or 651-292-3266.