Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra & Westside Music Foundation
Collegiate Concerto Competition


The Santa Monica Symphony, in collaboration with the Westside Music Foundation, hosted its inaugural Collegiate Piano Concerto Competition during the 2018-2019 concert season. The competition drew applicants from Southern California’s premiere music schools including music majors from UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music, USC’s Thornton School of Music, the Colburn School, and many others. After two rounds of auditions, the judging panel, which included SMS Maestro Guido Lamell, pianist and keyboard professor Antoinette Perry and SMS pianist Leo Marcus, selected the following winners:


1st Place: Nicholas Mendez Del Valle  (Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor) – $2,500 prize sponsored by the Santa Monica Symphony Board of Directors

1st Alternate: Matthew Krell  (Liszt: Totentanz) – $1,000 prize sponsored by Robert Segal, in memory of Jeanne Segal

Honorable Mention (tie): Noah Dean Lovold  (Ravel: Piano Concerto in G Major) – $250  Honorable Mention prizes sponsored by SMS Principal Flutist and Board Member Susan Greenberg

Honorable Mention (tie): Clarice Yan Kwan  (Mendelssohn: Piano Concerto in G Minor) – $250

Along with the cash prize, first place winner Nicholas Mendez Del Valle, a student of USC’s Daniel Pollack, was awarded the role of soloist at the Symphony’s May 2019 concert. Del Valle’s performance at the Memorial Day Weekend Concert brought the audience to its feet in a rousing ovation. You can read more about Nicholas and the competition here:

The Santa Monica Symphony Collegiate Concerto Competition is taking a break in the 2019-2020 season. Information on the next Santa Monica Symphony Collegiate Concerto Competition will be posted at a future date. For reference, competition guidelines for the 2018-2019 completion are posted below. For general information please contact the Westside Music Foundation at


• Applicant must be an Undergraduate Collegiate Music Major enrolled at an accredited Conservatory, College, or University. Applicants must submit a proof-of-enrollment document from their Conservatory, College, or University.

• Any standard concerto for the competition instrument written before the late 19th century.

• All concerto movements must be approved by the Music Director & Conductor of the Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra.

• All application fees are NON-REFUNDABLE.

• Financial Aid is available to applicants who qualify. Please contact for further details.

• The decisions of the judges are FINAL.

• Judges are NOT obligated to select a winner.

• Any applicant who at any time contacts a judge regarding this competition and/or its results will be disqualified.