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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 2024, than the age category in which they register (if registering for an age-based class). Exceptions: Open class, duets over 18 and concerto over 18, are 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.
  • Participants may only register one time in each class each year.
  • 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 Comments Only in that class (scroll down for Comments Only clarification).
  • 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.
  • In light of the constantly changing restrictions related to the spread of Covid-19, the Ottawa Piano Festival reserves the right to switch to virtual format.

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. Contrasting pieces would ensure that the pieces are in different time periods, styles, tempo and composers. It is always safer to choose pieces from the different RCM or CC time periods (i.e. choose two pieces from different time periods and/or styles). 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.
  • Repeats are optional, but not required, as long as they fit within the time limits.
  • No repertoire changes or substitutions will be allowed after the registration deadline on January 1, 2023. New pieces cannot be added to the already submitted repertoire. However, we will allow removing any of the registered piece(s) after the deadline, provided that the number of submitted pieces is in accordance with the repertoire guidelines and that the request is coordinated with the festival administration by email.
  • Concertos 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 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

  • This year we ask for 3 copies of each piece for levels up to grade 5, 1 copy for grades 6-9, duets and miscellaneous, and 2 copies for grade 10, Diploma, Open and Concertos.  At least 1 of those must be an original score.

Provincial Festival

  • Participants may be recommended to advance to the Provincial Festival, which is available to all classes with the exception of Preparatory, Family Piano Duets and Piano Miscellaneous. Students must be prepared to meet the criteria of the Ontario Music Festival Association. Decisions of the adjudicators regarding provincial recommendations are final.
  • The Provincial Festival in June 2024 will be virtual for grade 1-5, duets/trios and concertos, and live for grades 6-Open. Recommended participants will be responsible for submitting their videos (in in grades 1-5, concertos and deuts/trios), covering all fees, and must approve their programs with the Ottawa Piano Festival before submission.

Evaluation and Results

  • As a community festival run by volunteers, we encourage teachers of participating students to be involved in the adjudication process for a minimum of two and a maximum of four classes in grades Preparatory to Grade 5. Grades 6-9 and Duets will be adjudicated by Dr. Joy Innis and Adrienne Shannon, and grades 10, Diploma, Open and Concerto classes will be adjudicated by Michel Fournier and Marlene Finn. Please note that teachers have other volunteer opportunities available to be performed at the festival (info desk, music collection, etc.).
  • Each class (except Grade 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Diploma, Open, Duets and Concerto) will be evaluated by three adjudicators (participating teachers) whenever possible.
  • 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 certificates to our participant. We don’t hand out 1st/2nd/3rd places. Each certificate represents a level of quality, and so several students can receive a gold, and the same with other certificates.
  • Participants will be issued comment sheets and certificates at the end of the class.
  • 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.
  • Comments only option: the participant will be considered non-competitive, which means s/he will receive a full adjudication and participation certificate, but will not be eligible for a scholarship nor receive a placement (gold/silver/bronze).

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.
  • Medals are awarded to the student(s) with the highest mark in each class, within the gold standing. Medals will be distributed at the Gala.
  • Scholarships will be given out at the Gala.

Special Awards

  • 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 March 25, 2023 – postponed due to early event date.
  • Concerto Classes – A participant receiving the highest mark in concertos by Haydn, Mozart or Beethoven, will be chosen to perform with the Divertimento Orchestra. Eligible concerto movements must be within 8-12 minutes (including all tutti parts).


  • The Ottawa Piano Festival will ask permission at the time of registration to use any photos/videos of participants for the festival website, its media and publicity purposes.
  • Participating families are allowed to take photos/videos of their own children, and are not allowed to take photos/videos of other participants nor adjudicators without their permission.

Cancellations and Refunds

  • The OPF will not provide refunds after the registration deadline January 15, 2024.