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Backun International Clarinet Competition

The 2017 Backun International Clarinet Competition will host three separate groups of competitors, running concurrently prior to, and during, the live rounds.

Young Artist: 19 to 30 years of age as of March 11, 2017

Junior Artist: Up to and including 18 years of age as of March 11, 2017

People’s Choice: All participants up to and including 30 years of age, as of March 11, 2017

Specific repertoire requirements for each group of competitors, per round, is specified below. All competitors must adhere to the repertoire requirements.

Both Young Artists (19-30 years of age) and Junior Artists (up to and including 18 years of age) must enter to compete in the preliminary rounds, with those selected to participate in the live rounds being invited to Nashville, TN, USA.

The People’s Choice Award is an online competition where those participating in the preliminary and live rounds have the option to have their audition videos posted online, where they will be judged by the public. The winner of The People’s Choice Award will be announced on March 11, 2017.

Age limits are set as of March 11, 2017, the date of the final rounds.

Of the three live rounds in Nashville, TN, USA, the Quarter-Final Round and Semi-Final Rounds will be conducted live in front of an audience, with the competitors performing behind a screen. Only during the Final Live Round will the screen not be present.




Young Artist Competition (19-30 years of age):

First Prize: $6,000 USD

Second Prize: $3,000 USD

Third Prize: $1,500 USD

Junior Artist Competition ( up to and including 18 years of age):

First Prize: $2,000 USD

Second Prize: $1,000 USD

Third Prize: $500 USD

People’s Choice Award

$1,000 USD

All winners are responsible for any revenue and income taxes that result from the winning of any prize money.



The 2017 Backun International Clarinet Competition is open to clarinet players up to, and including, the age of 30 years old, regardless of nationality. There are no exceptions to the age limit.

In an effort to provide emerging artists with the opportunity to compete on a global stage and gain international attention, artists with management contracts or those engaged as professional orchestral musicians, do not qualify to participate in the competition. 

All competitors, regardless of their acceptance to the live rounds in Nashville, TN, are invited to attend and participate in the events surrounding the competition, March 9-11, 2017.

Registration for the event, as well as the opening for submission of preliminary application materials, will begin on October 15th, 2016. 

The competition application fees include the registration fees for the Nashville event, allowing the competitor to participate in master classes and all concerts, recitals and lectures.

While this competition is sponsored by Backun Musical Services, there are absolutely no limitations on the brand of instruments played during the competition. Competitors are encouraged to play any brand of instrument that helps them achieve their musical goals. Both Quarter-Final and Semi-Final Rounds are conducted behind a screen.



Both Young Artist and Junior Artist divisions will be run according to the following format:

Quarter-Finals: Up to Sixteen (16) competitors

Semi-Finals: Up to Eight (8) competitors

Finals: Three (3) competitors

Finalists: First Prize, Second Prize, Third Prize 

If a candidate admitted to the next round renounces that round, the organization will not refund, or make available, competition space in later rounds, regardless of the reason.

By round, competitors will be informed of the juries’ decisions via email on the date of the round. An official document will also be published and displayed at the performing venue. This information will also be published on the competition website and social media pages.

The competition for both Young Artists and Junior Artists consists of the following stages:

All the above events are open to the public as part of the overall competition and event.

The results are announced after each round. Decisions of the jury are final.



Official repertoire selections, as well as registration links can be found on the subsequent pages:

Young Artist Repertoire and Registration

Junior Artist Repertoire and Registration

Repertoire for The People’s Choice Award is representative of the participants’ age category during the competition. Competitors entering The People’s Choice Award competition must submit a video of at least one work from the respective repertoire list for their age category. See the links above.



There will be three independent juries for the competition. The first is a Preliminary Jury assembled to judge and qualify the preliminary applicants and competitors, determining a total of sixteen (16) artists per division to be invited to the live rounds. In Nashville, TN, USA, there will be two separate juries: One (1) for the Young Artist Competition and one (1) for the Junior Artist Competition.

The jury will consist of international soloists, orchestral musicians and educators. The Chief Judge of the jury is Richard Hawkins, with David Shifrin presiding over both committees during the Final Rounds only.

Jury members will not make contact with contestants, the contestants’ teachers, or the contestants’ parents while such contestant is competing in the competition.

Any jury member who has taught a contestant regularly within the last three (3) years, or who will teach a contestant in the immediate future (one year), or who has a family relationship with a contestant, must abstain from voting on that contestant. Jury members may also waive their vote for personal or professional reasons. All declarations of abstentions will be made the day before the competition begins and will be maintained throughout the competition.

All judging will be by numerical scoring without discussion, and submitted to the Jury Chair for each round. The juries’ deliberations are governed by internal regulations. The judges’ notes and comments will be made available to each contestant after the competition has been completed in its entirety. These notes must be formally requested and will be emailed to the contestant.

The judges’ decisions are final. There is no right of appeal. Any attempt to coerce, bribe or influence a judge, staff member or volunteer of the competition will result in immediate disqualification from the competition, and expulsion from the event. The competitor will be listed as disqualified on all formal notices and no refund will be offered.



The deadline for submission of registration is 11:59pm EST (Eastern Standard Time), January 15th, 2017. Candidates must register online using the link provided:

Young Artist Registration Requirements:

Junior Artist Registration Requirements:

Registrations will only be considered after completion of the entire online application. The registration fee is not refundable under any circumstances. Partial and uncompleted applications will be considered void and non-refundable.

Registered candidates will receive official notice of their application status the week of January 23rd, 2017. Those applicants who have been live rounds on March 9-11, 2017 will then receive a detailed package of information about the live rounds in Nashville, TN, USA.

Applicants who do not qualify for invitation to the live rounds are encouraged to attend the event as a participant, in order to benefit from the many masterclasses, lectures, recitals and concerts scheduled. Not all competitors will be able to participate in masterclasses, as limited space is available.

Candidates who wish to receive an official invitation earlier (for visa applications), can receive this upon request after registration and payment is received in full. This letter of invitation is not to bypass the preliminary competition rounds, but only to be invited to attend the event in Nashville, TN, USA.

Upon invitation to participate in the live rounds, competitors have one (1) week to acknowledge receipt of the invitation and confirm their intentions to participate in the live rounds at the Blair School of Music, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, USA. Participants must be available all three days of the competition (March 9-11, 2017), with a rehearsal day with pianists scheduled for March 8, 2017. If a competitor fails to accept the invitation to the live rounds in Nashville, TN, USA, her/his invitation will be withdrawn and the next qualifying competitor will be invited to fill this space. The Chief Judge alone will make this decision.

Candidates who pass into the next round are obligated to participate in this round. If, for any reason, a candidate doe not participate in the next round, her/his place may be taken by the next available candidate, as determined and approved by the Chief Judge alone.



The competition organizers will recommend reasonably priced hotels around the performing venue. Participants and competitors are responsible for booking their own travel and accommodations, as well as covering all expenses related to their participation in the competition.

Candidates are responsible to take-out health and accident insurance policies, as necessary, for the duration of their stay in Nashville, TN, USA.

By submitting an application to the competition, or registering to attend as a participant, the participant/competitor acknowledges and accepts that the organizers, Backun Musical Services Ltd. and the Blair School of Music and Vanderbilt University are in no way responsible for any accident and illness of the candidate or damage and theft of her/his belongings during her/his participation in the competition, or stay in Nashville, TN, USA.



Competitors and participants waive any and all rights to recordings, photographs, or videos made during competition and event. The organizers hold the rights to publish all content submitted to, performed during, or pertaining to the competition at any time, including publishing the names and countries of the participants and competitors, as well as their respective performances and any media resulting from their participation in the competition or event. This includes in print, recording and online, and through any other media.



The competition will provide official accompanists for each competitor invited to the live rounds. Rehearsals for the Quarter-Final rounds will occur on March 8, 2017 at the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, USA. The schedule for rehearsals and competition performances will be posted online and at the performance venue. 

One fifty (50) minute rehearsal per round is provided to the competitors advancing. Participants arriving late to lessons will not be granted additional time for any reason. Additional rehearsals may be possible at the candidates' own expense, depending on the availability of the pianists.

Candidates may choose to provide their own accompanist, at their own expense and scheduling. Rehearsal rooms will be provided for each round, according to a published schedule. If a competitor is late for their allotted time, rehearsal space will not be rescheduled.



English is the official language of this competition. Should participants need a translator, they must arrange one in advance, at their own expense.



By registering for, and participating in, the competition, the candidate accepts all terms and conditions, rules and regulations associated with the competition and event, and agrees to abide by these during the entire process. The rules and terms of this competition are subject to change. Please refer back to this page before submitting the final application online. 

Any questions regarding the competition, rules or event can be directed to:



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