Young artist’s harp competition

Young Artist's Harp Competition

We regret that due to unexpected circumstances we will not be holding a competition in 2024.

The Young Artist’s Harp Competition takes place every two years prior to the YAHS seminar. Sign up for our email list to receive competition updates.


The Young Artist’s Harp Competition was launched in 2007 by the Young Artist’s Harp Seminar as a way to encourage young harpists to strive for a high level of artistic achievement by providing them with an open forum for performance, positive feedback, and nurturing competition. Our goal is to give each competitor an experience that will raise their level as an artist and enhance their ability as a harpist.

Flexibility with repertoire and our open performance philosophy—from a video preliminary audition round to live final performances that are not hidden behind a screen—continue to be a core philosophy of the competition. All aspects of the competition are designed to be friendly and fair, and all harpists who enter the Young Artist’s Harp Competition will receive a comprehensive, constructive evaluation of their video audition from a highly qualified judging panel. (Download a sample of Evaluation Form, which includes the same judging criteria that will be in place for the final round of the competition.)

Dates and details

The Young Artist’s Harp Competition takes place every two years in conjunction with the Young Artist’s Harp Seminar. We regret that we will not be holding a competition in 2024 due to unexpected circumstances.

The competition is open to harpists of any nationality and includes three age divisions:

Emerging Artist Division—age 19 and under
New Artist Division—age 14 and under
Preparatory Division—age 11 and under


Prizes will be awarded at the winner’s concert at the conclusion of the competition.
Winners who do not perform at the winner’s concert will forfeit prize money. 

Emerging Artist Division (age 19 and under)

First Prize—$1,000
Second Prize—$750
Third Prize—$500

New Artist Division (age 14 and under)

First Prize—$750
Second Prize—$500
Third Prize—$250

Preparatory Division (age 11 and under)

First Prize—$200
Second Prize—$150
Third Prize—$75

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about the Young Artist’s Harp Competition. Check back in case new questions are added, and contact us directly if you have a question that isn’t addressed here.

Is there an entry fee?

Yes, there is an entry fee of $80 for the New Artist and Emerging Artist Divisions and $60 for the Prep Division, which must be paid by May 1 for an entry to be complete.

Will harps be provided if I cannot bring my own?

Yes, a selection of harps will be provided for competitors who cannot bring their own. We try our best to provide an assortment of sizes and brands, however please understand that we are limited to what is available and we cannot guarantee a particular make or model. Harps will be shared and practice time will be assigned and limited depending on the number of people who need to use harps. 

How does the Dropbox procedure work?

Once we have received your application and entry fee, we will share a Dropbox folder with you where you can upload your video audition file. Most of our entries in the past have required between 1 and 2G of space on Dropbox, depending on your division. Please be sure that you have that much room in your Dropbox account for uploading your video. If not, you will need to reduce the file in some way, or increase the size of your account. We highly recommend that even if your video isn’t ready, you submit your application and fee well before the May 1 deadline so that we can share the Dropbox folder with you, and you can confirm that you have access. That way you can upload your video when it’s ready without risk of missing the deadline.

Please use the following file name format for your materials: first name-last name-division-document. Example:


Can I play either lever or pedal harp in the Preparatory Division?

No. Beginning in 2020, the Preparatory Division competition repertoire requires a pedal harp. If you are a lever harpist who would like to experience YAHS, we encourage you to apply to our one-week Preparatory Division program.

Do you have an example of the Evaluation Form?

Yes. Download a sample evaluation form here.

What time zone applies to the deadline for entries on May 1?

All times are given in Eastern (New York City) Time.

Can I enter the competition even if I’m not planning to attend the Young Artist’s Harp Seminar?

Yes. The competition is open to harpists of any nationality who meet the age requirement. The Young Artist’s Harp Competition and the Young Artist’s Harp Seminar are held consecutively for the convenience of those wishing to attend both events, but it’s not mandatory.

I’m not sure how to set up the camera angle to record my video audition. What do you mean by “clear view”?

“Clear view” means that we want to clearly see the face and body of the harpist, unobstructed by the strings of the harp, as shown in this example:

Can you send me information about the Young Artist’s Harp Competition?

No. All the information we have is on this website. We encourage you to print this page to share with your teacher.

Is lodging provided for competitors?

No, competitors are responsible for their own lodging and transportation to Washington College, in Chestertown, Maryland. Early dormitory access for an additional fee may available for competitors traveling alone who are also attending the Young Artist’s Harp Seminar.

May I choose a piece from the A or B category list for my free choice?

Yes, as long as you meet the requirements for the A and B categories you may choose another required repertoire piece for your free choice.

Can I perform different music in the live final round than I included on my preliminary video audition?

No. If you are invited to the live final round, you must perform the same music that you included on your preliminary video audition.

Does music have to be memorized?

Yes, all must must be performed from memory, both in the preliminary video audition and in the final stage.

Can I perform repertoire in any order?

Yes, as long as you perform the required repertoire in one sitting, it may be performed in any order.

Do time limits include the time between movements?

No. If the required repertoire specifies a time limit, it does not include transition time between movements.

Can I make modifications to the music?

Contestants will not be penalized for reasonable edits of the printed music that add to musical interpretation of the piece, such as eliminating or adding notes to a chord, embellishing trills, etc. Edits such as cuts or simplifications of the music beyond reasonable interpretations are not allowed.


Audition Recording Requirments

The purpose of the video audition is to ensure that finalists selected to compete in person meet a minimum standard of ability. Your video audition must include a performance of all the required repertoire in one sitting, as if you were giving a live performance. You may perform the repertoire in any order. You may not stop or restart the camera once you begin recording or edit the video in any way. However, you may record your complete performance as many times as you wish, and submit the best one.

No one is permitted to speak, appear on camera (except the harpist being recorded), or applaud during your performance. You may pause briefly, put the harp down between pieces, or check tuning as you would in a live performance, however the recording must not stop. There is no time limit for your video performance, however your Category C free choice selection must not exceed the time limit for your division.

The camera must be set up to include a full frame of the entire harp and harpist, providing a clear view of the harpist. Do not shoot through the strings. Do not adjust the frame once you have begun recording. (See the FAQ for a photo example of a good camera angle.) Do not shoot sideways.

The judges will review your video using the evaluation form (see FAQ) to determine if you have a thorough knowledge of the music you are presenting. Your video should be recorded in a quiet setting free from any distracting noise that would prevent the judges from fully appreciating your performance. You should use the best equipment possible, but it is not necessary to submit a professionally produced video; home video equipment is adequate if you feel it gives a good representation of your performance. Your video audition will not be judged on sound quality or stage presence, however note that these categories will be judged in the live final round.

Submitting your video

All video auditions must be submitted electronically using Dropbox. (Visit to install the program on your computer.) Once we have received your application and application fee, you will receive an invitation to share a Dropbox folder with us where you can upload your video audition.

Do not label or edit your video audition in any way. Do not include titles of pieces, your name, or text of any kind on your video.

Most entries require between 1 and 2G of space on Dropbox for your video submission. Please be sure that you have that much room in your Dropbox account for uploading your video. We recommend that you test the procedure well in advance, so that you don’t experience technical delays that prevent you from meeting the entry deadline. Even if you are not ready to submit your video right away, please consider submitting your application and fee before the May 1 deadline so that we can share the Dropbox folder with you. That way, you will have ample time to upload your video without waiting for us to share the folder.