About the Festival

The goals of the New London Piano Festival are to provide students the opportunity to perform in a non-competitive setting and to allow students to hear performances by other young piano players studying at their own level. The Festival will encourage ongoing study by providing recognition for achievement at each level of musical progress. Further incentives to students to develop their skills are outlined in the “Gold Cup” program. Young pianists will realize they are part of a community of musicians and will develop the sense that they are part of a larger musical experience. This will translate into a feeling of belonging, and nurture their desires to embrace and improve their skills.

Sponsor Eligibility:

Every student must be sponsored annually by an individual teacher. The sponsoring teacher must be a member of Connecticut State Music Teachers Association or submit a sponsoring teacher fee of $25. All teachers entering students will be asked to assist with some aspect of the operation of the Festival.

Student Eligibility:

Entrants must be less than 19 years of age as of March 1st of the Festival year. Rules can be found here.


The cost of the solo application is $22, for duet application $24. For families with 2 or more students participating the solo application is $20.

Sponsoring teachers (non CSMTA members) submit an additional $25 fee with student application(s).

Fees are not refundable.


Applications and appropriate fees must be received by the Festival deadline: February 1 of the Festival year.

One application must be completed for each soloist and for each duet.

In a given year, entrants may enter only one class in any event.

Include one check payable to Middlesex-New London CSMTA. Multiple checks from individual families will be returned. Send payment and application forms to:
Natalia Syed
111 Arbor Crossing
East Lyme, CT 0633.

Awards, Certificates and Gold Cup Plan:

Each performer will receive a rating from presiding judges:
Superior (5 points)
Excellent (4 points)
Satisfactory (3 points)
Fair (2 points)
Needs Improvement (1 point)

A certificate will be issued to each participant. When a total of 15 points has been earned the first Gold Cup is awarded. When each additional 15 points have been earned, the next, larger Cup is awarded.

In duet events, points and Gold Cups are awarded separately to each performer.


Entrants who receive a Superior rating should progress to a higher class in the following year. Entrants who receive a rating lower than Superior may progress or repeat the current class one time with different required and choice pieces. Regression of class in not permitted. Students who received Superior Rating in the Musically Advanced Level may continue to perform in Festival in the Continuing Musical Advancement Level by presenting two pieces at the level of difficulty at least equal to that of the Musically Advanced. One of the pieces must be contemporary in style. Students may continue to perform in the Continuing Musically Advancement category each year through the senior year of the high school, with the assumption that the level of complexity of the repertoire will increase every year.

Repeats and Time Limits:

Repeats should be generally omitted except in short Primary compositions.

Maximum Time Limits:

Moderately Difficult (1&2) and Difficult levels (1&2) should not exceed 8 minutes in length.

Very Difficult (1&2) and Musically Advanced (1&2) should not exceed 10 minutes in length.

Piano Solo Event:

The Festival will provide a graded syllabus of music by American composers.

Entrants are required to play one piece from the Syllabus and one piece of the player’s choice. Music must be presented to the judges prior to performing.

The student’s choice piece must be an original, published, and complete (not an arrangement) composition. Published (not copies) scores of the required and choice pieces must be provided for the judges. If student is using a legitimate digitally downloaded edition, he/she must have a coversheet authorizing its use, or the purchase receipt. Digitally downloaded music will be accepted if it is a public domain. (The work of any composer who died before 1938 will be considered public domain.) Any contestant who fails to bring music scores will be permitted to perform but will not be evaluated.

The choice piece should represent comparable level of difficulty as compared to required pieces from the Syllabus. The choice piece should show either a different style of composition, or a different range of technical abilities than the syllabus piece. Both pieces must be memorized.

The choice piece should not appear in the Syllabus Pieces even if listed for a different level.

At Intermediate level and above, the choice piece should be an original composition from a non-American composer.

The level Primary 1 and 2 choice piece should be at list 12 measures long; for level Primary 3 and above, the choice piece should be at least 18 measures long.

Starting with the Moderately Difficult 1 Level, there will be an opportunity for the students to participate in master-class, which will take place at the conclusion of each Recital at the Moderately Difficult Level and above.


Piano Duet Event

Entrants are required to play one piece from the Syllabus and one piece of the player’s choice. Music must be presented to the judges prior to performing (copies accepted if original shown). Players may use sheet music (memorization of piece is not required).

The choice piece should represent comparable level of difficulty as compared to required piece from the Syllabus.

The choice and required pieces may be from the same collection and by the same composer.