Evaluation Guidelines


Contestants are evaluated by a panel of three judges in ten criteria, each on a scale of one to five with five being the highest and one being the lowest score. Six of these criteria are designated as Technical and four are designated as Artistic. Both of these major designations are totaled separately, and then the panel’s scores are combined for the Grand Total score.

Judging Criteria

Judges are assigned to a panel of three, and the panel will be assigned to a particular category of contestant. The same panel will judge all of the contestants in a category, and the judges will remain empaneled until all of the scores have been tabulated and rankings resolved for the category. If a judge becomes incapacitated after the commencement of the actual judging, that judge’s scores will be discarded, and rankings will be determined based upon the scores of the other two judges. If, for some reason, a judge fails to give a score for a particular criterion, the contestant will receive a score of half the aggregate score given by the other two judges for that criterion.

Scoring Criteria

Judges will assign a score for each criterion by circling a number in the list following the criterion label. Scoring is on a scale of one to five, with five being the highest and one being the lowest score. These are the descriptive meanings assigned to a score:

  • Five (5): Perfect – No detectable weakness or problem in this area.
  • Four (4): Excellent – Only slight weaknesses or problems in this area.
  • Three (3): Good – There are detectable weaknesses or problems in this area, but not so serious as to greatly damage the overall performance.
  • Two (2): Poor – Serious weaknesses or problems in this area noticeably detracted from the overall performance.
  • One (1): Unprepared – Weaknesses or problems in this area detract from the overall performance to such a degree that the work is not ready to be performed in public.

A comment section is provided for additional feedback to the contestant, and judges may also provide additional feedback in the use of a plus or minus sign next to the circled score. This additional feedback has NO EFFECT on the rankings, which are based solely on the circled scores. Comments are expected to be short and direct, and are optional, except in the case of a criterion score of One or Two. These scores should always be accompanied by a written comment(s) addressing specific reasons for the score.

Ranking Criteria

As the title indicates, the Oquirrh Mountain Symphony Concerto Competition is a competitive event, and one of the defining characteristics of a true competition is that the competitors may know their standing in relation to the other competitors. Rankings are by competition category and are based on the Grand Total scores received by the contestants. The top five competitors in each category will be advised of their rankings as part of the results distribution. Other competitors will be advised of their ranking upon a written request for that information signed by the competitor (and if the competitor is below the age of eighteen, a responsible adult.)

Criteria Definitions and Considerations


Pitch/Intonation: The accuracy of the performance of notated pitches. (No fixed pitch instrument is judged on intonation.)

Rhythm/Tempo: The accuracy of the performance of notated rhythms and tempos. Is the tempo under control?

Tone quality: Quality of sound. Is it characteristic of the instrument? Is it under control? Is it good? (For pianos, this includes pedal technique and quality of touch.)

Articulation: The accuracy of the performance of the notated articulations.

Dynamics: The accuracy of performance of notated dynamics and dynamic changes.

Technique: Demonstrated mastery of the music and the instrument. Is the performance focused in terms of the application of the above technical aspects? (For example, a 32nd-note run may contain the correct pitches in the correct order and the correct rhythm and tempo, but how “clean” was it?) Are the aspects of technique under independent control?


Phrasing: The measure-to-measure structure of the performance. Does the performance show an awareness of phrases and cadences? Does the performer appropriately use technique to shape this structure?

Interpretation: Is the performance appropriate and cohesive in terms of style? If it is Mozart does it sound like Mozart? Is a pianist playing Bach and pedaling like Rachmaninoff? Or, vice versa? Does a mazurka sound like a mazurka? Does Gershwin swing?

Conception: The large-scale structure of the performance. Does the performance show an awareness of structural demarcation points? Are they handled appropriately? How does the performer handle cadenzas? Tempo variations? This criteria also includes whether the work selected was appropriate to the performer’s demonstrated abilities.

Stage Presence: Does the performer present a professional impression? Does the performer exhibit an appropriate awareness of the audience and the performance situation? This essentially includes all the visual aspects of the performance; entrance, exit, posture, dress, etc.