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This competition began in 2012. It is open to pre-college musicians age 19 and under and not enrolled in college. Contestants must be residents of Minnesota or neighboring states North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin or Iowa. They perform in non-conducted string and wind ensembles of three to eight musicians playing classical chamber music repertoire. 

The competition also offers a non-classical category called CREATIVE. There must be at least three applications submitted per year for this category to be offered. See Guidelines and  Forms for more information.

There are two rounds: Video round and Final round. Cash prizes totaling nearly $4,000 will be awarded. The top group chosen in the Finals will perform in the Ordway Concert Hall in the spring, and they will be honored at a reception following the SPCO concert that evening.

All applications should be submitted to getacceptd.com/spco beginning on January 6, 2020. Absolute deadline for receiving applications is February 10, 2020.