General information

Auditions: 6 and 7 April 2021 in London
Finals Concert: Saturday 10 April at 12 noon at Wigmore Hall
Applications must be received by 1 January 2021

General information

It is essential that all candidates read this information before completing the application form.

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the uncertainty it causes, certain aspects of the competition have been altered to accommodate this unusual situation.

Since 1991 The Parkhouse Award has been providing exceptional ensembles of piano and strings with vital support during the early stages of their career by presenting them in prestigious concert halls. (See winners for past holders of the Award.)

Eligible ensembles are: Duo: violin, viola or cello with piano
Piano trio
Piano quartet

The winning ensemble is given three concerts, usually over the course of two years but again, due to Coronavirus and the pressure on venues, this might be over a longer period. The competition is open to ensembles living in the UK or overseas who have already assumed, or are ready to assume, all the responsibilities of a professional career and who can demonstrate that they formed their ensemble at the latest in the first half of 2019. Due to Coronavirus it will not have been possible to perform much, if at all, during 2020, but please provide as much information as possible from 2018/19, details of any music-making during 2020, plus plans for 2021 onwards.


Age limit

Applicants should be no more than 32 years of age on 1 January 2021, with aggregates as follows:

DuosAggregate of 60 years with an upper age of 32
Piano triosAggregate of 90 years with an upper age of 32
Piano quartetsAggregate of 120 years with an upper age of 32

Copies of national identity cards or passports showing date of birth must be provided.


Stage 1 — Submission of completed application form

  • Applicants must provide a fully completed form by 1 January 2021. Late entries will not be accepted unless arrangements have been made to this effect well before 1 January 2021. Communications received on 1 January 2021 requesting a late application will not be considered.
  • Applicants will be informed by the end of January 2021 whether or not they have been selected for Stage 2: the live audition or audition by video (see below).
  • The names of two referees, who must not be family members and who can vouch for your ensemble's suitability to enter the Award, must be provided. They will be contacted if necessary. Written references are not required.
  • The entry fee (usually £50) has been waived for the 2021 competition due to the difficulties that the Coronavirus pandemic has caused so many people in the music world.
  • One member only of the ensemble must be the representative for the purposes of entering the competition. By signing the application form the representative confirms that the ensemble accepts the requirements of the competition.
  • Applications should be emailed to music.


Stage 2 — Live audition OR audition by video if Coronavirus restrictions prevent auditions in person

Live audition
Candidates who have been successful at Stage 1 will be required to play on 6 or 7 April 2021 at a venue in London. Two contrasting pieces are required, one of which must be from the Classical period (Mozart, Beethoven etc). If you are playing a work that includes quarter tones you must indicate this on the application form and provide a score on audition day. Otherwise scores are not required. The repertoire must not be more than 13 minutes at the most. A page turner is usually provided. If Coronavirus restrictions prevent this, applicants will need to turn their own pages or, alternatively, read scores digitally. Travel expenses, costs of accommodation and rehearsal facilities are to be borne by the applicants.

Audition by video

  • Applicants must provide a link to a live, unedited audition video following the rules about choice of repertoire (see Live Audition, above). This should be taken using a static camera.
  • Applicants are advised to record a video in good time in case it isn't possible to hold live auditions.


Stage 3 — Finals Concert
Four ensembles will be chosen from the Stage 2 to perform at Wigmore Hall on Saturday 10 April 2021 at 12 noon. Each ensemble perform must perform two works for a maximum of 30 minutes and therefore the repertoire must be 28 minutes at the most in order to allow for tuning and breaks between pieces. The works performed must be entirely different from those performed during Stage 2. For example, if a movement of a sonata, trio or quartet is performed during Stage 2 you may not perform that movement or any other movement from the same work at Stage 3, the Finals Concert. A page turner is usually provided. If Coronavirus restrictions prevent this, applicants will need to turn their own pages or, alternatively, read scores digitally.

Candidates will be heard by different juries at the auditions and finals, but with the same chairman for both juries. Your performance at the audition will not be taken into account when the finals jury reaches its decision. The decisions of either jury are final and are not open to discussion or correspondence.

  • The Parkhouse Award reserves the right to allow any stage of the competition to be broadcast or televised.
  • The winning ensemble will mention The Parkhouse Award in all CVs and biographical notes.


The Award concerts

Three fully promoted concerts are provided in London and the North of England usually over the course of two years, but this period will probably be extended due to venue planning difficulties caused by Coronavirus. The Award engages with classical music media in order to achieve further performances and publicity for its winners.

Performance fees are not paid for the concerts promoted by The Parkhouse Award, but travel, accommodation and reasonable out of pocket expenses are covered.

In addition, it may be possible to arrange further concerts, including the Shaldon Festival in Devon and Richmond Concert Society in Surrey. All arrangements concerning additional concerts will be made directly between the artists and the Society concerned. Fees will be paid by the promoter. The Parkhouse Award cannot be held responsible for any aspect of these additional engagements, including cancellation.

Application form

The 2021 application form is available in pdf and word formats.