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Palo Alto Philharmonic: Concerto Movement Competition

October 11, 2012

Anna BoonyanitThis is the fifth year of this much respected competition. “We’ve set this up in a special way,” Geri Actor told us; she and her husband, Lee Actor, came up with the idea several years ago. “We didn’t want a few people to dominate the competition year after year so we increased the number of winners, and the neat thing is that we’ve always had at least one person who has never participated with an orchestra before.” The Actors are both members of the Palo Alto Symphony. Geri also coaches music students.

The solicitation specifies high school musicians from the greater Bay Area students, 18 years or younger. They’ve had kids as young as 8 and 9. Most are between 15 and 17. Last year there were more than 70 applications. Any kind of music that could be played with a symphony is considered. But best to check with Geri Actor.

To apply, submit a recording of you playing a movement of a concerto or other concert piece for soloist and orchestra, approximately five to 15 minutes in length, by Dec. 31, 2012. Finalists are then selected for live auditions on Feb. 23, 2013.

Additional information about the competition or the orchestra can be obtained by emailing Lee Actor, [email protected], or calling the Palo Alto Philharmonic at (408) 395-2911, or by visiting the website at

Mark MacNamara, a writer and journalist based in Asheville, North Carolina, has written for such publications as NautilusSalonThe Stanford Social Innovation Review, and Vanity Fair. From time to time, his pieces in San Francisco Classical Voice also appear in  Noteworthy examples include a piece about Philip Glass’s dream to build a cultural center on the Pacific Coast; a profile of sound composer Pamela Z and an essay on the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. MacNamara recently won several awards in the 2018 Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards presented by the San Francisco Press Club.  His website is