Annual Concerto Competition

Application Opens:
Monday, August 14, 2023
Application Deadline:
Friday, September 8, 2023
Thursday, November 2, 2023
First Christian Church, 650 McCallie Ave, Chattanooga


The CYS Annual Concerto Competition will be held on Thursday, November 2, 2023, starting at 5:00 PM.

Any CYS member in the Symphony who is in good standing is eligible to compete. Good standing means the member’s balance must be paid in full and the member must adhere to attendance policies throughout the season. Former winners are not eligible to compete the subsequent year. Former runners-ups are eligible to compete.


  • Members must complete the application form and submit the chosen piece to the CYS Manager. Deadline: Friday, September 8, 2023.

Music Selection:

  • The chosen piece must be one movement from a standard concerto, or solo/ensemble selection that has orchestral accompaniment parts available. Questions should be directed to private teachers/conductors.
  • If the CSO does not already own the orchestral accompaniment parts for the selected piece and they must be purchased or rented, the selected winners agree to pay half the cost to rent or purchase the orchestral parts for any amount over $500. The CYS Manager can help determine the cost of rental/purchase once a selection has been submitted.
  • The CSO reserves the right to suggest a different piece for performance.
  • Purchased music will remain the property of the CSO.
  • The chosen piece should be no longer than 10 minutes.


  • Competition times and instructions, including a scheduled warm-up time, will be sent to each applicant.
  • The competition takes place in person.
  • Members must perform one movement from a standard concerto, or solo/ensemble selection that has orchestral accompaniment parts available.
  • Members must compete on the instrument that they play in the CYS, and they must compete with the piece of music that they will perform (if selected as a winner).
  • Members should furnish five (5) printed copies of their selection (including accompaniment) for the judges on the day of the competition.
  • It is highly recommended that the member competes with a piano accompanist.  Members are responsible for providing their own accompanist and for ensuring the accompanist knows the time and location of the audition.  If you need recommendations for an accompanist, please email the CYS Manager.

Competition Winner:

  • The winner of the competition will be announced approximately one week after the competition.
  • Judges will select one winner and based on performance standards reserve the right to not declare a winner.
  • The winner will be featured at a CSO concert.

concerto competition winners

Ewan Manalo was 4 years old when he first met the cello, a string instrument about as tall as he was. His first cello was borrowed from his first teacher, Wendy Bissinger, in the town of Greenville, North Carolina. Ewan quickly fell in love with learning and making music. His musical development outpaced his instrument size; he was happy to finally grow into a ¾ size cello so he could start learning the “big pieces,” like the Dvorak cello concerto. At 10, Ewan moved to Ooltewah,TN, where he continued his studies with Annie Camp. In high school, Ewan was awarded a Myra Jackson Blair Scholarship, and he joined the studio of Felix Wang at Vanderbilt University, with whom he has studied for the past 4 years. Now a senior, Ewan has auditioned for cello performance at schools such as the Cleveland Institute of Music, the University of Michigan, and the Curtis Institute of Music.
Ewan actively performs and competes across the Southern region of the United States, becoming the youngest winner of the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition in 2017, before winning again in 2022; he has also won the Carolina Chamber Music Intensive Chamber Concerto competition in 2019, the Southern Adventist University Concerto Competition in 2020, and the Hilton Head Youth Concerto Competition in 2022, and has performed with the associated orchestras of each competition. He has performed recitals in the Chattanooga and Nashville areas, and was a featured artist in the Young Artist Performance Series in 2022. Ewan is also an avid chamber musician, and has participated in summer camps such as the Summer Chamber Music Institute, the Hilton Head Chamber Music Institute, and the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival. He competed as part of the Musa Quartet in the 2022 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, where his quartet made the quarterfinals. As part of the Vesna Quartet, he helped to raise over $2000 for Ukrainian refugees as the 2022 Ukrainian crisis broke out. Ewan has been instructed by and has participated in masterclasses with artists such as Michael Kannen (Peabody Institute), Colin Carr (Royal Academy of Music/Stony Brook University), and Alison Wells (Royal Conservatoire of Music).