The Wellesley Symphony Orchestra Young Soloist Competition

In November each year, the Wellesley Symphony Orchestra conducts its Young Soloist Competition. The Competition is generously hosted by the Dana Hall School of Music, whose Music Building at 103 Grove Street in Wellesley provides a friendly atmosphere and well appointed rooms for musicians and their accompanists to warm up and to perform for the judges. The audition room has two pianos.

The 2018 competition will be held on Saturday, November 3. Here is a link to the 2018 application. There is no application fee. Each participant selects a concerto movement suitable to be performed with the WSO at our March 2019 Family Concert at MassBay Community College in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Auditions should be about 10 minutes long, and each participant is responsible for making arrangements with an accompanist. In addition to performing with the orchestra, the winner receives a $500 award.

NOTE: Applications for the WSO Young Soloist Competition are posted here on or before Labor Day each year. If you have any questions about the competition at any time, please contact Dianne Mahany by email at or by telephone at 978-443-5212. *It is important to apply early*; for the past several years, all slots have been filled almost 2 weeks before the published application deadline, and a waiting list has been put in place.

We have a wonderful group of participants each year, including about 30 young musicians up to the age of 18 (the youngest in recent memory was 8 years old.) We welcome all orchestral instrumentalists and pianists to our competition. (It is always very difficult for the four judges - including Max Hobart, our Music Director, to make a selection. We have occasionally chosen a runner-up.)

2017 Competition Winner – Hayden Idson

Our 2017 winner is 12-year-old Hayden Idson, a wonderful cellist who is a seventh-grader at the Park School in Brookline. Hayden played the first movement (and coda from the last movement) of the Saint-Saëns Concerto #1, and it was a stunning performance. Hayden began his cello studies at the age of 4 ½ with Sandy Kiefer at the Longy School of Music, and has been a student of Michael Bonner since 2013. Hayden will perform with the Wellesley Symphony Orchestra at the March 18, 2018 concert. He will turn 13 just a few days before!

Hayden appeared as a soloist for the first time at the age of 10 with the Waltham Philharmonic Orchestra, playing the first two movements of Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E minor. In the subsequent year, he was invited to perform Tchaikovsky’s Pezzo Capriccioso, Op. 62, with both the Sharon Community Chamber Orchestra and the Brockton Symphony Orchestra.

In addition to winning the 2017 Wellesley Symphony Orchestra Young Soloist Competition, Hayden won first place in the 2017 Waltham Philharmonic Orchestra Concerto Competition, and placed second in both the 2017 Philharmonic Society of Arlington Young Artists Competition and the 2017 New England Philharmonic Young Artist Competition.

In his free time Hayden likes to play the erhu and piano, run track, and compose music.

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