Barnett Chamber Music Competition

A.N. & Pearl G. Barnett Chamber Music Competition

Sunday, April 7, 2019
Anne & Howard Gottlieb Hall

The seventh annual A.N and Pearl G. Barnett Chamber Music Competition will be held on Sunday, April 7, 2019, in Anne & Howard Gottlieb Hall at Merit School of Music in Chicago.

The Barnett competition is open to musicians aged 18 and under with two divisions: 

  • Strings and Piano 
  • Winds, Brass, Percussion, and Voice 

Contestants will be competing for $7,500 in cash prizes.  There are prizes for winners in each of the two divisions, as well as an award for the overall winner.  There is also a special award for the top finishing group from Merit School of Music. The Grand Award winner will have the opportunity to perform on 98.7 WFMT (date to be determined after competition).

The Barnett Chamber Music Competition is free and open to the public.    



+ The Barnett Chamber Competition Grand Award:  $3,250 (includes $1,500 Division prize) 

+ Strings and Piano Division Winner:  $1,500 

+ Strings and Piano 2nd Place:  $875 

+ Winds, Brass, Percussion, and Voice Division Winner:  $1,500 

+ Winds, Brass, Percussion, and Voice 2nd Place:  $875 

+ Merit School of Music Ensemble Award:  $1,000 


  • Ensembles may consist of 3 to 6 musicians. 
  • Competitors must be 18 or younger on April 7, 2019. 
  • A maximum of one pianist is allowed per ensemble. 
  • No individual may compete in more than one ensemble. 
  • Ensemble members can perform on various instruments within the same ensemble. 
  • All performances must be acoustic; no microphones or electric amplification will be allowed. 
  • Ensemble division placements are made by Barnett Chamber Music Competition staff.


  • Ensembles must prepare a program of no less than 10 minutes and no more than 15 minutes. 
  • Repertoire must contain a minimum of two contrasting movements from at least two separate chamber works. 
  • Individual movements and/or stand-alone pieces must be performed in their entirety, although repeats may be omitted. 
  • Repertoire must feature all members of the ensemble in each piece. 
  • Once program information is submitted, no changes will be allowed to repertoire, performance order, or personnel.


Applications must be received no later than March 20, 2019.  There is an entry fee of $100 per ensemble.  Applications are available here.

Competition Day 


  • Ensembles must check in at least 60 minutes prior to their performance time. 
  • Two original scores of each published work must be provided at check-in.  
  • Each ensemble will be assigned a 30-minute warm-up prior to their performance time. 
  • A piano will be available in the warm-up room for any ensemble with a pianist. 


  • Performance order will alternate by division and will be chosen by lot. 
  • Ensembles will be heard by a three-member jury. 
  • Ensembles are allotted a total of 20 minutes on stage, which includes set-up, performance, breaks between pieces, and tear-down.  Any performance which exceeds this time limit, or which does not meet the above repertoire requirements, will be subject to disqualification at the discretion of the judges.
  • Winners will be announced during a short ceremony in Gottlieb Hall.  Winners need not be present at this ceremony, but competitors are strongly encouraged to stay and listen to as many performances as possible.  Winning ensemble information will also be posted on the Merit School of Music website at after the ceremony. 


For questions regarding the competition, contact Timothy Riordan.