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  • The Ottawa Piano Festival is open to all students up to the age of 18. Participants must not be older, as of January 1st 2021, than the age category in which they register (if registering for an age-based class). Exception: Open class, open to students of any age.
  • Participants may not register in two different age or grade categories. For example, a student participating in Grade 7 piano class may not also participate in Grade 6 class.
  • Once a participant has entered one grade, he/she may not enter a lower grade in future years. Should a student decide to participate in a class at a level lower than his/her most recent exam level or current piano level, he/she will need to register as Participation Only in that class.
  • Ottawa Piano Festival reserves the right to place a student according to submitted information and participant’s level entered in the past festival years. 
  • Requests for further clarification of these rules may be made in writing to the Ottawa Piano Festival. 

Repertoire Guidelines 

  • Participants are expected to play a minimum of two contrasting pieces in each solo class. Exceptions: one piece is allowed (but not limited to) in Piano Duets, Family Duets and Piano Miscellaneous classes. Participants in Concerto class are expected to play one selection only. Participants should follow the time limits, indicated under Classes
  • The level of graded classes should correspond to the levels of the Royal Conservatory of Music Toronto, Conservatory Canada or any other officially recognized Canadian syllabus. Chosen repertoire does not have to be from a syllabus, but has to be of the approximate difficulty of the chosen grade.
  • One piece from the next level higher is permitted in solo classes.
  • No repertoire changes or substitutions will be allowed after the registration deadline on February 1, 2021. New pieces cannot be added to the already submitted repertoire. However, we will allow removing any of the registration piece(s) after the deadline, provided that number of submitted pieces is in accordance with the repertoire guidelines and that the request is coordinated with the festival administration by email.
  • Concerto must be performed with piano accompaniment. Any movement may be performed as long as it is within the time limits. Performers are responsible for providing their own accompanist and for adhering to current Covid-19 distancing protocols.
  • The time limits must be respected in each class. If the time limit is exceeded, the jury reserves the right not to evaluate the exceeded performance time.
  • Memorization is encouraged, and is mandatory for any student wishing to be considered for a scholarship or other prize. Exceptions: Piano Duets, Family Piano Duets and Piano Miscellaneous.

Copies of Scores

  • Upon request, competitors will need to email downloaded originals to the Ottawa Piano Festival. Otherwise no original copies need to be sent.

Provincial Festival Competition

  • Participants may be recommended to advance to the Provincial Festival Competition, which is available to all classes with the exception of Preparatory, Family Piano Duets and Miscellaneous. Students must be prepared to meet the criteria of the Ontario Music Festival Association. Decisions of the adjudicators regarding provincial recommendations are final.

Evaluation and Results

  • Teachers of participating students are required to be involved in the adjudication process for a minimum of two and a maximum of four classes. Grades 8 and 9 will be adjudicated by Valerie Dueck (Geneva, Switzerland) and Paul Dykstra (Kelowna, BC) and grade 10, Diploma, Open and Concerto classes will be adjudicated by Jimmy Brière (Université de Montréal ) and Akiko Tominaga (Mount Royal Conservatory, Calgary).
  • Each class (except Grade 8, 9, 10, Diploma, Open and Concerto) will be evaluated by three adjudicators (participating teachers).
  • Adjudicators will not evaluate their own students or family members.
  • Decisions of the jury are final. No appeals or reviews will be accepted.
  • The Ottawa Piano Festival awards Gold/Silver/Bronze/Merit standings to our participant. We don’t hand out 1st/2nd/3rd places. Each standing represents a level of quality, and so several students can receive a Gold standing, and the same with other standings.
  • Participants will be issued comment sheets by email and certificates with standings via teachers as soon as adjudication is completed and certificates are ready for distribution.
  • Marks are not given to participants in order to discourage an unnecessarily competitive atmosphere. They are kept by the OPF administration in order to give out medals and scholarships.

Scholarships, Awards and Medals

  • Outstanding performers will be considered for scholarships, awards and medals. Participants must receive a minimum standing of silver in order to qualify for a scholarship. Participants must receive a minimum standing of gold to receive a medal. These are determined by marks given by the adjudicators, and kept by the festival administration. The number of scholarships awarded will be based on available funds.
  • Promising Student Award is designed for students in grade 3 to 8 who demonstrate something special in their playing which deserves encouragement. This award also applies to participation only students. 
  • Medals are awarded to the student(s) with the highest mark in each class, within the gold standing. Medals will be distributed after being engraved.
  • Scholarships will be sent directly to recipients by e-transfer this year.  

Special Awards

  • Concerto Classes – A participant receiving the highest mark in concertos by Haydn, Mozart or Beethoven, will be chosen to perform with the Divertimento Orchestra in their February 2022 concerts –  to be confirmed. Eligible concerto movement must be within 8-12 minutes (including all tutti parts).
  • Best performers of the J.S.Bach pieces will be invited to participate at the Great Bach Marathon, organized by the Royal Canadian Collage of Organists Ottawa Centre on May 8, 2021 – postponed.


  • The Ottawa Piano Festival will ask permission at the time of registration to use any photos/videos of participants for the festival website and publicity purposes.


  • The OPF will not provide refunds after the registration deadline February 1, 2021.