Montreal Classical Music Festival


more than 50 years of history

Formerly part of the NDG Arts and Letters Festival, the Montreal Classical Music Festival draws each year an increasing number of participants as well as attracting a greater public audience.

After being cared for by Mrs. Milda Ruffo for many years, the directorship of the Festival was taken over in 2000 by the QMTA, in partnership with the Borough of Verdun. 

Since 2019, the event is presented and hosted by the prestigious École de musique Vincent-d'Indy.

  • It is with great sadness that, due to the circumstances surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, the organizing committee has decided to cancel the 2020 edition of the Montreal Classical Music Festival. We hope you will join in great numbers upon its return in 2021.

    The Montreal Classical Music Festival is a prestigious competition designed for young musicians aged 5 to 23 (singers 30) who are currently studying music with members of the Quebec Music Teachers' Association. Competitors will perform in the following categories: piano, violin, cello, winds, guitar, voice, music writing, and chamber music (ensemble).



Rules and Guidelines 2020 Printable (PDF)

Register on-line (January 15 to March 31)

Download a printable entry form (PDF)


Find out more about QMTA membership

Join the QMTA - Fill out an online form

Contact the MCMFThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Find out more about MCMF Sponsorship
(to be updated in 2021)

Become a Sponsor - Online Form

Official Rules and Policies

About the Festival
  • The 2020 edition of the Montreal Classical Music Festival is organized and hosted by the Quebec Music Teachers’ Association, in collaboration with the École de musique Vincent-d’Indy.

  • There is only one round of competition, no semi-finals or finals. Performance sessions will take place at the Ecole de musique Vincent-d’Indy, in Montreal, on May 16–17, and the Gala Concert and Awards Ceremony will be presented on June 6, at 7 p.m.

Preliminary Notes
  • The competition is open to contestants aged 23 or younger (30 for singers).

  • Applicants must be residing or studying music in the Province of Quebec.

  • When their entry is submitted, the applicant’s music teacher must be a current active or provisional member of the Quebec Music Teachers’ Association (see List of certified QMTA members).

All individual participants of an ensemble need not be private students of QMTA members; it is sufficient for the ensemble to be directed or coached by a member.

  • Non-member teachers may join the QMTA within 7 days of their students’ entries, provided they meet the membership criteria and obligations and pay the dues for the current year (cf. How to become a member).

  • In submitting an entry to the Festival, the competitor and their teacher acknowledge that they have read and understood the present rules and agree to abide by them in good faith. Any infringement may result in disqualification[1].

  • The MCMF reserves the right to revise its rules until the opening of the registration period, January 15, 2020. Any amendments will be uploaded on the website without any individual notification to teachers or competitors.

  • All special requests concerning registration must be addressed to the Registrar’s Office in writing or by email. Although every effort is made to accommodate teachers and competitors, we cannot guarantee that all requests will be fulfilled. Additional fees may apply (cf. Entry Fees and Payments).

[1] A disqualified competitor may, at the jury’s discretion, perform their program selections, but will not earn any comments, score or prize.

Registration Procedure
  • Registration opens January 15, 2020. Candidates wishing to submit an entry to the Festival must complete the MCMF Official Entry Form online. A printable version (PDF) is also available.

  • The applicant must complete one form per category entered (cf. Categories). All fields are mandatory. Failure to submit a fully completed entry form may result in delays or rejection.

  • It is the teacher’s responsibility to ensure that all their students’ entry forms are duly completed and submitted by the March 31, 2020 deadline.

  • Entries sent by mail must be postmarked no later than March 31. The address is MCMF Registrar, 336 St. Francis Blvd, Suite 2, Chateauguay (Quebec), J6J 1Z3. Please DO NOT bring or mail anything to the QMTA head office in Verdun, or the Co-op/École Vincent-d’Indy. 

  • Late entries may be accepted under certain conditions. Late fees apply (cf. Entry Fees and Payments).

  • The competitor may cancel their entry anytime by notifying the Registrar’s Office as soon as possible. All fees are non-refundable.

  • Specific registration rules apply to ensemble and music writing categories (cf. Specific Rules)

  • Rules regarding multiple entries:
    • In different categories: YES
    • In multiple age groups within the same category: NO
    • As a member of more than one ensemble: YES, provided the instrumental formation is different.
Categories | Age Group Guidelines


  • Competitors are classified by category and age group, regardless of level.

  • Participation is open in the following categories:
    • Piano solo
    • Piano concerto
    • Violin solo[1]
    • Violin concerto
    • Cello
    • Guitar
    • Winds (all instruments)
    • Voice (all types)
    • Music writing (free instrumentation)
    • Ensemble[2] (free instrumentation)

Age Groups

  • All age groups imply the mention “and under”.

  • Age groups are, according to categories :
    • Concerto, ensemble, and music writing categories: 8, 11, 15, 19, and 23 years;
    • Other categories: all ages 5 to 18 years; 23 years; 30 years (voice category only).

  • Candidates must not be older, as of January 1, 2020, than the age group in which they enter. A proof of age may be required. For guidelines regarding the ensemble category, see the "Specific Rules for the Ensemble Category" section.

  • A competitor may select the age group that corresponds to their actual age or choose a higher age group considering the duration of their performance (cf. Time Limits). Note: It is possible to enter in the same age group in subsequent years.

[1] Violin categories include viola.
[2] The "ensemble" category replaces and includes the former "piano ensemble" category.

Entry Fees and Payments

Please note that all changes are subject to approval by the MCMF Registrar’s Office (cf. Preliminary Notes).

  • All fees are non-refundable and non-transferable to other candidates. Any forfeited or overpaid amount will revert to the MCMF bursary fund.

[1] Cheques made out to the Montreal Classical Music Festival are no longer accepted by the bank and will be returned. The certification of cheques is not required.
[2] A fee of 10$ is charged for each repertoire selection modified.

MCMF 2020 Entry Fees Chart
Time Limits | Repertoire Requirements

Time Limits

  • A competitor’s performance may include one or more pieces or movements, provided the time limit is respected. If the time limit is exceeded, the performance may be interrupted by the judge.

The age-groups time limits do not apply in concerto categories (piano or violin), where the performance is restricted to either one (1) movement of concerto or concertino regardless of duration OR several movements of the same concerto, within a maximum duration of five (5) minutes.

  • The total timing indicated on the entry form must include preparation time (tuning) and breaks between pieces. It will be rounded up to the next 30-second interval.

  • Performance Time Limits by Age Group
    • 5, 6, 7 yrs: 5 min
    • 8, 9 yrs: 6 min
    • 10, 11 yrs: 7 min
    • 12, 13, 14 yrs: 10 min
    • 15, 16 yrs : 15 min
    • 17 yrs and over : 20 min

Repertoire Requirements

  • Repertoire is not subject to approval by the MCMF officials, nor do pieces need to be listed in a recognized syllabus. There is no specific rule regarding the level of difficulty.

  • The chart below, offered as reference, presents general equivalences between age groups and the programs published by McGill Schulich School of Music, Royal Conservatory of Music; and École de musique Vincent-d’Indy[1].

  • Rules regarding musical works accepted at the Festival:
    • Pieces of classical genre: YES, without reserve
    • Popular pieces: NO
    • Pieces of all other genres: under condition[2];
    • Simplified arrangements: NO
    • Abridged or adapted pieces: under condition[2]

  • Piano and violin concertos should be entered in concerto categories, while other concertos for guitar, cello, or winds, are subject to the solo performance category rules.

  • If a movement of concerto for piano or violin includes a cadenza, it must be performed. Any published version will be accepted.

  • Memorization of repertoire is compulsory for all categories, except ensemble and music writing (cf. Specific Rules).

  • Repeats are optional, provided prescribed time limits are not exceeded.

  • A competitor cannot select a repertoire that has been previously performed at the MCMF.

  • A competitor who performs pieces that do not correspond to the repertoire selections listed on the entry form is liable to disqualification. To change a repertoire selection after an entry has been submitted, the competitor’s teacher must submit a request to the Registrar’s Office[3]. Fees may apply (cf. Entry Fees and Payments).

[1] École Vincent-d’Indy syllabi are available for consultation at the Cooperative Vincent-d’Indy.
[2] Accepted, provided the selection is listed in the syllabus of a recognized (classical) music institution.
[3] Any changes or updates made after April 15 will not appear on the Festival documents (convocation slip, judges’ comments sheet, program), but the judge will be notified on the day of the competition.

Suggested Minimum Level of Pieces
Printed Music | Accompaniment Policies

Printed Music

  • For rules regarding memorization, please refer to “Repertoire Requirements”. 

  • Prior to the start of their performance session, the competitor is required to provide the judge with a hard copy of each piece to be performed, including concerto cadenzas if applicable. Failure to provide copies of music scores will lead to disqualification.

  • To enable the judge to provide more precise comments, it is strongly suggested that the measures be numbered.

  • All sheet music used by competitors, accompanists, and judges must be official editions, or printed digital scores (with proof of public domain or legal purchase). The use of photocopies is strictly forbidden and will be penalized. The competitor will have to, per their choice either: (a) purchase the score from the on-site music store[1]; (b) pay the MCMF a fine equivalent to the monetary value of the score; (c) withdraw the piece from the repertoire to be performed; OR (d) be disqualified[2].

  • Music scores should not be mailed to the Registrar's Office.

Accompaniment Policies

  • All selections requiring an accompaniment (piano concerto, strings, winds, and voice categories), must be performed with piano accompaniment only. Pre-recorded backtracks are not accepted.

  • The competitor is responsible for arranging and paying for their accompanist. The availability of their accompanist must be ensured for the performance sessions as well as the gala, if applicable. Competitors must also provide page-turners if required.

  • Any music score used for an accompaniment must be an official copy, not a photocopy (cf. Printed Music). Electronic scores (on iPad, for example) are accepted, with proof of public domain, or legal purchase. Accompaniment scores are not submitted to the judge.

  • Lengthy tutti sections of concertos should be shortened.

  • The quality of the accompaniment is not considered in the evaluation of a performance. 

[1] Cooperative Vincent-d’Indy, located on the premises of the École Vincent-d'Indy (Students' entrance, East of the building) is open during Festival hours.
[2] A disqualified competitor may, at the jury’s discretion, perform their program selections, but will not earn any comment, score or prize.

Schedule | Dates to Remember


  • Upon submitting their entry form, the candidate acknowledges that their category may be scheduled at any time during the MCMF performance sessions, May 16 and 17, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The MCMF is not responsible for scheduling conflicts that may arise.

  • The official schedule is established once all entries have been received and will be uploaded to the website on April 15. Special scheduling requests will not be granted.

  • If, for unforeseen circumstances, a competitor expects to be delayed in arriving at the Festival for their performance session, they should, if possible, inform the Assistant-Coordinator, who is the on-site resource person (cf. Contact Info). At the discretion of the session secretary, competitors who arrive late, but before the end of their session, may still be allowed to perform but absentees will be disqualified.

  • Although it is not a requirement, the MCMF strongly suggests that the teachers attend their students’ performances.

2020 Dates to Remember

January 15: Registration opens
March 31: Registration closes
April 15: Convocation slips mailed and official schedule published
May 16-17: Performance sessions
May 30: Winners' names published online
June 6: Gala Concert and Awards Ceremony
June 23: Deadline for claiming prizes 

Venue Information
  • The 2020 edition of the Festival will be held at École de musique Vincent-d’Indy, 628 Cote‑Ste‑Catherine Rd, Montreal (Outremont), H2V 2C5 (Edouard‑Montpetit metro station).

  • On Festival days, parking is free anywhere on the property.

  • Competitors must register at the welcome desk 15 to 30 minutes prior to the start of their performance sessions. The presentation of their convocation slips is not required.

  • A souvenir programme of the event will be sold for $5 at the reception desk.

  • The École Vincent-d’Indy does not provide any practice rooms. Playing the pianos (whether before, between or after the sessions), loitering in rooms and corridors other than those designated for the Festival or occupying bathrooms for practicing purposes is strictly forbidden.

Conduct of Performance Sessions | Technical Issues

Conduct of Performance Sessions

  • Performance sessions will be held simultaneously in three halls: Marie-Stéphane, Cécile-Romaine, and Salle de musique, on May 16 and 17, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

  • Performance sessions are public. Competitors may invite guests at their discretion. Admission is free.

  • Although the competitors’ order of performance is usually based on the difficulty of repertoire selections, it may also be randomly arranged. The MCMF reserves the right to modify the order of performance of a session at any time, without prior notice.

  • The scores handed to the judge must be placed in the order of performance that appears on the program, with the books opened to the correct pages (cf. Printed Music).

  • Names of competitors and titles of pieces will not be announced during performance sessions. This information is available in the Festival Programme, which is available for purchase at the Welcome Desk.

  • To create a larger audience, some sessions may include several age groups within the same category (e.g. violin 5, 6 & 7 and under).  Each group competes separately nonetheless, and winners are announced at the end of each age group.

  • At the end of their session, each competitor receives a global score for their performance, a certificate of participation, and written comments from the judge. Bursaries and other awards will be distributed to the prizewinners during the Awards Ceremony following the Concert, on June 6 (cf. Gala Concert and Awards Ceremony).

  • Competitors and audience members are asked to vacate the room promptly upon the termination of a session.

Technical Issues

  • Grand pianos are provided in all three halls.

  • All music is acoustic (unplugged). Singers do not use microphones.

  • Pre-recorded backtracks are not accepted (cf. Accompaniment Policies).

  • Piano pedal extenders (supplied by the competitor) are permitted.

  • Competitors are allowed to record, videotape or take photos during their own performances only. It is forbidden for any member of the audience, except the FMCM’s official photographer, to record or to take photos of other competitors without their authorization. The FMCM reserves the right to use photos of competitors for promotional purposes. Any images or videos that are used will be presented without students’ names or personal information. The competitor who wishes to withdraw their consent must inform the person in charge before the beginning of the session or concert. It is not permitted to take photos between and after the sessions.

Jury, Scoring, and Prizes
  • The jury is composed of seven judges, one judge in each of the following categories:
    • piano solo junior (5-13 yrs)
    • piano solo senior (14-23 yrs) and piano concerto
    • strings
    • winds
    • voice
    • guitar
    • music writing and ensemble

  • Names of judges are not disclosed before the start of the Festival.

  • There must be no teaching or family relationship between a judge and the competitors in the category that they will be adjudicating.

  • Evaluation of performances is based on repertoire selection, technical skills, and interpretation.

  • The judges’ decisions are final and not subject to revision or appeal.

  • Prizes are awarded in each category’s age group to competitors who reach the three highest scores, provided the minimum score required for each prize has been attained: 1st prize: 90%, 2nd prize: 88%, and 3rd prize: 85%. Ex aequo prizes are occasionally awarded.

  • Winners's names will be posted on the MCMF website on May 30. (See MCMF 2019 list of Winners).
Gala Concert and Awards Ceremony
  • A prestigious gala concert and awards ceremony will close the Festival on June 6, 2020, at 7 p.m. at Salle Marie-Stéphane, École Vincent-d’Indy.

  • General admission is free for all Festival competitors upon presentation of their convocation slips, members of the jury, sponsors, Festival organizers and volunteers, and all children aged 12 and under. Admission is $10 for all others (parents, teachers, and other guests). No tickets are required.

The Awards Ceremony

  • All 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes include monetary bursaries (cash prizes), medals, and other rewards; these are presented to the winners during the awards ceremony which follows the concert. In 2019, over $6,000 worth of prizes were distributed to MCMF winners.

  • If unable to attend, the prizewinner may designate someone to collect their prize(s). All unclaimed prizes and bursaries will be kept at the Cooperative Vincent-d’Indy, where they may be picked up until June 23. After this date, all remaining amounts will revert to the 2021 MCMF bursary fund. Prizes will not be mailed. Uncashed or lost cheques will not be replaced.

  • The first-prize winner who has obtained the highest mark in his trophy category (cf. MCMF Trophy Categories) will be presented with the corresponding trophy. The MCMF reserves the right to modify or to withdraw the attribution of any trophy.

  •  In addition, the competitor who has obtained the highest mark, inclusive of all categories, in age groups 5–13 years, receives the title of Junior Grand Champion. The competitor who has obtained the highest mark, inclusive of all categories, in age groups 14–23 receives the title of Senior Grand Champion. The grand champions, announced on the night of the gala, win exclusive prizes.

The Concert

  • A number of trophy recipients will receive an invitation to perform at the concert. The competitor who is invited to play will be informed shortly after their performance session. If this person is unable to perform, the next runner-up will be invited to play, but will not receive the trophy.

  • The performers, as well as the musical programme presented at the concert is selected by the jury, with the right of review by the MCMF Organizing Committee. A competitor will not be invited to perform a repertoire selection other than the one that earned their first prize award.

  • Gala performers are expected to wear appropriate attire for the event.

  • For guidelines on photography and recording, see "Technical Issues".

Specific Rules for the Ensemble Category
  • Ensembles may be instrumental, vocal, or mixed.

  • All acoustic (unplugged) instruments are accepted, including small percussions. All musicians (except pianists) must be able to step on stage with their instrument, without prior set up.

  • The number of musicians in each ensemble is restricted to a maximum of six (6).

  • The age group for an ensemble is determined according to the age of the eldest member of the ensemble (cf. Age Group Guidelines).

  • Upon entry, an ensemble must supply a stage name (pseudonym)[1], which will thereafter serve to designate the group as “the competitor”. The evaluation is based on the ensemble performance, rather than individual musicians.

  • Memorization of repertoire is optional. While each musician of an ensemble may use an individual part, the judge must be provided with an orchestral score (cf. Printed Music).

  • Each repertoire selection must be performed by all the musicians of the group.

  • No member substitutions to the ensemble shall be authorized once the entry has been submitted.

  • Teachers may not be part of ensembles made up of their students, even as accompanists.

[1] For example, “Smith Piano Trio”, or “The Fabulous”.

Specific Rules for the Music Writing Category
  • Compositions may be for soloist or for instrumental, vocal or mixed ensemble.

  • The competitor cannot submit a composition previously entered in the Festival.

  • All acoustic (unplugged) instruments are accepted, including small percussions. All musicians (except pianists) must be able to step on stage with their instrument, without prior set up.

  • A maximum of three (3) compositions may be submitted, as long as the total performance time does not exceed the limit for the age group entered (cf. Time Limits).

  • The minimum length of the score should be 24 measures without repeats.

  • The whole composition, including the accompaniment if applicable, must be the original work of the competitor whose name appears on the entry form.

  • Competitors in the music writing category may perform their works or have them performed by others. If musicians are hired, the competitor is responsible for the expense.

  • Compositions will be judged on melody, harmony, rhythm, overall structure and coherence, and creativity, but not on the interpretation or the technical skills of the players.

  • Memorization is not required in the music writing category.

  • Before the performance, competitors must supply the judge with a copy of each manuscript, including all instrumental parts, and necessary dynamics, editing, and tempo markings. Multi-part compositions must be orchestral scores, with each instrument labeled.

  • Manuscripts must not be sent in advance.

  • Manuscripts should be neat and legibly printed in black, preferably by computer, in standard manuscript size, with pages and bars numbered.

  • The manuscripts will be retained by the MCMF.

  • At the discretion of the coordinator[1], one first-prize composition in each age group may be submitted to the CFMTA National Student Composer Competition as part of Canada Music Week®’s activities in November 2020. Entry fees will be covered by the MCMF.

[1] The provincial coordinator of the Student Composer Competition is Jean-Michel Rousseau.

MCMF Sponsorship & Donation Opportunities
  • Various advertising opportunities are available to businesses, organizations, schools, teachers, and all others who wish to make a direct contribution to MCMF bursaries and awards (cf. Become a Sponsor).

  • The Montreal Classical Music Festival is not registered as a charitable organization and therefore cannot issue receipts for donations. Donations may be sent to the Quebec Music Education Foundation (QMEF) by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at 514 702-5000.
Communications | Contact Info


  • All efforts are made to ensure that all documents, convocations, certificates, etc. are issued in the competitor’s language of preference, as indicated on their entry form.

  • Upon acceptance of their Festival entry form, competitors will receive a confirmation email.

  • By mid-April, participating teachers will be mailed the following:
    • A list of their registered students, with the day and time of each performance session;
    • Personalized convocation slips for each entry submitted;
    • The Festival’s Official Schedule.

  • It is the teacher’s responsibility to distribute the convocation slips to their students.

  • Omissions or errors appearing on the convocation slips must be reported to the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as soon as possible.

  • The competitor’s teacher must address all special requests to the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. in writing or by email. Although every effort is made to accommodate competitors and teachers, we cannot guarantee that all requests will be fulfilled. Additional fees may apply (cf. Entry Fees and Payments).

MCMF Organizing Committee

  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Chief-Coordinator and Public Relations Manager: 514.342.5106

  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Secretary-Registrar, and Advertisement Manager: 514.777.8035

  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Assistant-Coordinator and on-site resource person during performance sessions: 514.387.4937

  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Treasurer

  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Music Writing Competition Coordinator


  • Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Mailing: MCMF Registrar’s Office, 336, St. Francis Blvd, Suite 2, Chateauguay (Quebec) J6J 1Z3

Design Studiopix © 2018