PCM Chamber Music Competition

A national pre-collegiate award presented by the Pasadena Conservatory of Music
March 2325, 2018
Pasadena, California
Onyx Quartet

Our competition challenges students to strive for excellence in the performance of chamber music. It aims to educate and inspire audiences, and the community, through student achievement in the art of chamber music.

Watch the videos from 2017

String Quartet Winners


1st prize
2nd prize
3rd prize
Andrew Cook Beethoven prize

All non-winning groups: Master classes with Andrew Cook and judges



  • Preliminary Video Round
  • Semi-Final round – 6 to 8 groups
  • Final round – 3 groups


  • All entries and supporting materials must be received by Thursday, February 8th, 2018. Ensembles advancing to the live, semi-final round will be notified on Friday, February 16th, 2018.
  • The competition is open to String Quartets and Piano Trios of U.S. and non-U.S. residents with an average age of 18 or younger on March 24th, 2018.
  • No individual may compete in more than one ensemble, including the video round.
  • Changes in personnel are prohibited once the video has been submitted to the competition.
  • The video round must include a minimum of ten minutes of playing time and must include one movement of a Beethoven work and one movement from a contrasting period.
  • Up to eight ensembles will be invited to perform in the live semi-final round, where three ensembles will be selected to advance to the final round.
  • Invited ensembles are responsible for their own transportation and accommodations.

Repertoire Requirements

  • Three movements must be performed, including one Beethoven work (additional details below), and two works of contrasting styles and periods (i.e. Romantic and Contemporary periods).
  • String Quartets must include one movement of any Beethoven String Quartet.
  • Piano Trios must include one movement of any Beethoven Piano Trio.
  • The Beethoven work must be performed on the video during the video round.

There are 3 distinct rounds of competition: Preliminary Video Round, Semi Final Round, Final Round.

Preliminary Video Round

Each ensemble must submit video recordings of two selected movements. The video round must include a minimum of ten minutes of playing time and must include one movement of a Beethoven work and one movement from a contrasting period (Romantic or Contemporary.)

The video recording must show all ensemble members at all times and must include the same players who will appear in the live performance rounds in March. The picture must remain stationary (no panning, fade-in/fade-out or close-up techniques*). The ensemble should fill the screen as much as possible. Each movement must be a complete take with no editing.

After recording their video, ensembles should email links to streamable video platforms (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.) or send physical DVD to the Pasadena Conservatory of Music.

Please contact us directly via compete@pasadenaconservatory.org with any additional questions regarding the video round rules and repertoire requirements.

*The PCM chamber music competition reserves the right to disqualify applicants entering enhanced or modified recordings.

Semi Final Live Round

String Quartets:

  • One movement of any Quartet of Romantic or Contemporary period.
  • One movement of any Beethoven String Quartet.

Piano Trios:

  • One movement of any Romantic or Contemporary period.
  • One movement from any Beethoven Trio.

Final Round

  • One movement from the Romantic period and one movement from the Contemporary period (must be the same repertoire as previous rounds).

Note: The Beethoven requirement will not be performed in the Final Round.

Competition schedule will be announced soon.

Apply Now

Barrett Hall window
Barrett Hall column


Established in 1984, the Pasadena Conservatory of Music is an independent, nationally-accredited community school whose mission is to educate, advocate, inspire, and share through music study and performance. The Conservatory offers a comprehensive curriculum that encompasses traditional and contemporary music for children and adults. More than 1,200 students attend the school annually and over 3,000 students in schools throughout the Pasadena community benefit from its extensive outreach programs.

To learn more about the Pasadena Conservatory of Music, please visit us at pasadenaconservatory.org

Community Outreach

Through its three outreach programs PCM strives to offer underserved youth in our community access to high-quality music education.

Learn more about the Pasadena Conservatory of Music’s community outreach programs.

Encore Trio

Past Winners

  • Gold Medal | Onyx Quartet

  • Silver Medal | Encore Trio

  • Bronze Medal | Fuoco String Quartet

  • Andrew Cook Beethoven Prize | Pristine Trio

PCM building

Contact Us

Pasadena Conservatory of Music
100 North Hill Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91106

Please email the competition staff directly at compete@pasadenaconservatory.org