The Stepping Stone reserves the right to amend its rules until .

1. Registration

  1. The Stepping Stone is open to Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Permanent residents must provide valid proof upon registration (scan or clear picture of the permanent resident card and/or certificate; see rule 5.5).
  2. The Stepping Stone is open to voice, piano, violin, viola, cello, double bass, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, saxophone, French horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba, harp, harpsichord, recorder, guitar, and keyboard percussion.
  3. Past Stepping Stone First Prize winners may not re-enter the competition.
  4. Upon registration, candidates must be aware of the Competition Code of Ethics and abide by its rules. Read the Code of Ethics by following this link: Code of Ethics (pdf).

2. Age limit

  1. 16 to 28 years old (except for voice: 31 years old) as of January 1, 2020.
  2. Proof of age is required upon registration (see rule 5.5).

3. Deadline

  1. The completed registration form and all the required documents must be submitted electronically by , 11:59 p.m., local time.
  2. All registration forms received after , 11:59 p.m., local time will be rejected.

4. Registration and Participation Fees (registration terms)

  1. Registration fees to participate in the Preselection must be paid upon registration. Payment methods accepted: Square, cheque, or money order. Payment must be completed by , 11:59 p.m., local time (postmark is taken as date of submission). Post-dated cheques are not accepted. There are fees for NSF cheques.
  2. Registration fees can be reimbursed, less the applicable administrative fees, for cancellations made before . No refunds after this date.
  3. Exceptionally, if a candidate is unable to participate in the Preselection due to a serious injury, the CMC may reimburse the registration fees, less the administrative fees, upon receipt of a doctor’s note. Supporting documents should be sent to the National Office within a reasonable time following the announcement of the injury. The decision to accept the reason for cancellation or not is at the entire discretion of the National Office. Following the National Audition, no refund for serious injury will be accepted.
  4. A candidate admitted to the official Stepping Stone events must pay the entry fee before the date indicated in the Competition confirmation email. Failure to pay these fees within the required time will result in the rejection of the application.
  5. Donations made at the time of registration, or at any other time, are not refundable.

5. Documents to submit

  1. The required repertoire for the Preselection, the First round, the Semi-final and the Final (see rule 7.0). Please note that for the preselection process, the repertoire must be submitted through a specific form that is clearly identified during registration. The repertoire of the First round, Semi-final and Final is submitted with the registration form.
  2. Scan of the Preselection music score. The jury uses these scanned scores to select the musical excerpts that will be heard during the Preselection audition. Bar numbers must be written at the beginning of each line.
  3. A biography, including educational background, performances, professional experience, awards, etc. (maximum 250 words).
  4. One recent photograph in high resolution (300 dpi).
  5. Proof of age AND of Canadian citizenship or Canadian permanent residency are required. The following documents are accepted: birth certificate, passport, Canadian citizenship certificate or permanent resident card.
  6. All documents must be submitted via Dropbox before , 11:59 p.m., local time.

6. Preselection process and competition procedure

  1. Preselection process:
    1. Up to a maximum of 30 candidates will be selected from among all participants in the preselection process that takes place in different cities across Canada before a jury of five adjudicators. Selected candidates will be informed at the end of the preselection process around mid-May. The jury’s decision is final and without appeal.
    2. Just like in a professional audition, the candidate will have to be able to play the entirety of the submitted repertoire. Specific parts, totalling approximately 15 minutes, will be chosen by a jury and this jury can interrupt a candidate at any time. Candidates are informed of the selection right before the audition. This is not a blind audition.
    3. For this part of the Competition, candidates audition in the closest chapter to their residential location. If a candidate wishes to audition in another chapter that was assigned, he or she must inform the National Office, which may be able to modify, at its sole discretion, the Preselection audition location. Any request submitted after the release of the official schedule will be refused. List of local chapters of the CMC.
    4. Candidates are not allowed to record, film or take picture of their performance during the Preselection. The Preselection auditions are closed to the public and comments from the jury of the Preselection are not given to the candidates.
  2. Stepping Stone procedure:
    1. The Stepping Stone is composed of three rounds:
      1. First round: up to 30 candidates
      2. Semi-final: 12 candidates
      3. Final: 6 candidates
    2. Candidates commit to be free from any other activities during the Preselection (March 23 to May 30, 2020), the Stepping Stone (June 2 to 9, 2020) and the Gala Concert (July 4th, 2020). In case of absence, refer to rule 14.
    3. Candidates who cannot perform at the required time are disqualified. If a candidate notices a schedule conflict before the announcement of the official schedule for the First round, he or she must inform the National Office, which may be able to modify, at its sole discretion, the order of appearance of candidates. Any justification submitted after the release of the official schedule of the First round will be refused. To preserve the order of the candidates’ auditions, any request to modify the schedule will be denied for the Semi-final and the Final.
    4. Following each of the Stepping Stone events (First round, Semi-final and Final), candidates receive comments from adjudicators and may meet with the jury when the results are announced only if they have not been selected for the next round. No contact with the jury is allowed for candidates continuing on to the next step. As a result, finalists will only receive comments from adjudicators and be able to meet with the jury at the very end of the process.
    5. Candidates must attend all results announcements for each round they take part in (a precise schedule will be published in due time).

7. Repertoire guidelines

  1. To find out what the specific repertoire required for each instrument is, please refer to the repertoire section of the Stepping Stone.
  2. Works presented during the Stepping Stone must be different in each round. Multi-movement works such as a concerto, sonata, suite, opera, etc., cannot be split over multiple rounds.
  3. The program may include one or more works included in the Preselection audition.
  4. Works performed in a previous edition of either the Competition or the Stepping Stone can be played as part of the current edition of the Stepping Stone, exception made for a work that granted the candidate a Grand Prize during the Competition or a prize during the Stepping Stone. However, the candidate is allowed to register a work that granted him or her a Grand Prize during the Competition if this piece was performed at least three years ago (2017 or before).
  5. With the approval of the CMC, a major work for solo instrument and orchestra can replace a concerto or a movement of a concerto.
  6. Works with orchestra accompaniment must be performed with piano accompaniment. A formal request for use of a harpsichord for accompaniment purposes must be submitted in advance to the National Office. Availability of a harpsichord cannot be guaranteed.
  7. Time limit:
    1. Preselection: the total time of the repertoire is limited to 45 minutes; however, candidates are heard for about 15 minutes by the jury. Specific parts are chosen by a jury, which can interrupt a candidate at any time.
    2. Stepping Stone, the total time of the repertoire is limited to 40 minutes for the First round and 60 minutes for the Semi-Final (excluding the compulsory new Canadian work).. Candidates may be interrupted by the jury when they reach the time limit. There is no time limit for the Final round.
  8. Repeats are permitted if the maximum time limit is respected.
  9. It is forbidden to make any cuts in the pieces or movements except for the tutti sections of concertos. Cadenzas are mandatory. Alternative cadenzas that are not officially published must be approved by the National Office before the repertoire modification deadline (see rule 7.15).
  10. Candidates must indicate the precise length of time of all works on the registration form.
  11. Memorization:
    1. During the Preselection, the First round and the Semi-Final, memorization of every piece on the programme is compulsory, except for sonatas with accompaniment and compositions written after 1950, for which it is permitted to have the music. If a candidate intends to play a sonata from a score with no mention of the word “sonata” in the title, approval must be obtained from National Office first.
    2. For the Final, memorization is compulsory.
  12. Compulsory Canadian work in the Semi-Final. During the Semi-final, candidates must perform a compulsory Canadian work selected by the Competition. The Canadian work is distributed to all candidates at a moment decided by the Competition. Based on rule 7.11.1 concerning music composed after 1950, memorization is optional. The time for the compulsory Canadian work is not included in the maximum time allowed for the Semi-Final.
  13. During each round, candidates may change the performance order of their registered pieces at any time. On the day of the performance, candidates must present their scores in performance order.
  14. For each round, all pieces and movements registered must be performed. No substitution is permitted.
  15. Repertoire modification request. Preselection: the deadline to submit a repertoire modification is .Stepping Stone: following the Preselection process, selected candidates for the Stepping Stone will have the opportunity to request a repertoire modification before the deadline announced by the Competition. After these dates, no modifications are allowed. Any modification must be submitted by email to Fees apply.

8. Punctuality

  1. Candidates must be backstage fifteen minutes before their performance.
  2. No changes in the performance order of candidates are accepted; nor is any lateness.

9. Copies of Scores

  1. Six copies, one original and five photocopies, of each score are required for each step of the Competition. For accompanied works, at least one copy must include the accompaniment part.
  2. Candidates must write down the bar numbers at the beginning of each line. The name of each selected work, the movement number, the name of the composer and the candidate’s name must all be clearly identified on the score. Sheets must be printed on both sides and should be bound to facilitate handling. Paper clips and staples are not allowed. If done improperly, the CMC may refuse a score.

10. Evaluation and Results of the Stepping Stone

  1. Candidates are evaluated by five adjudicators.
    1. During the First round, the ranking of candidates is established based on their marks received during this round. The 12 candidates who scored the best marks proceed to the Semi-final.
    2. During the Semi-final, the ranking of candidates is established based on their marks received during this round. The 6 candidates who scored the best mark proceed to the Final.
    3. The results of the Semi-final and the Finale are cumulative for the awarding of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize.
  2. Decisions of the jury are final and there are no appeals. No review of the marks may be requested.
  3. In case of a tie, the Competition reserves the right to consult the jury members in order to assign only one First prize, one Second Prize and one Third Prize.
  4. Candidates who receive a scholarship of $ 500 or more are responsible for paying all taxes and duties in accordance to the laws regarding taxes from the federal and provincial governments. Social insurance number will be requested for the purpose of issuing a Relevé 1 and/or a T4A.
  5. At the discretion of the Competition, the First Prize winner of the Stepping Stone may be invited to perform with orchestra at the Gala Concert. All travel and accommodation expenses are at their expense. The repertoire is selected by the Competition and the conductor, in collaboration with the winner.

11. Expenses

  1. All lodging, travel expenses and accompanist’s fees are the candidate’s responsibility.

12. Cancellation

  1. Candidates who wish to cancel must notify the National Office as soon as possible.

13. Photography / Audio and Video Recording

  1. During the Preselection, candidates are not permitted to record their performance. During the Stepping Stone, a recording service is available; it is forbidden to take any picture or recording during all rounds of the Stepping Stone.
  2. The photographer(s) and videographer(s) appointed by the Competition are allowed to photograph and/or record the performances.
  3. Candidates must forfeit all recording, broadcasting and distribution rights of any kind to the CMC, together with all artists’ resale rights, for an unlimited period. Candidates agree to sign and respect the terms included in the consent form submitted upon registration. The CMC may use these images for promotional purposes and for its records.
  4. Candidates commit to be available to meet with the Competition sponsors, partners or administrators. Candidates may be asked to give interviews with media selected by the CMC to promote the Competition. The code of conduct defined in the CMC Code of Ethics applies. Any promotional material may be used by the CMC through its various promotional tools (newsletter, website, social networks, etc.)

14. Disqualification

  1. Candidates not complying with these rules are disqualified.
  2. An incomplete or inaccurate registration form may result in disqualification.
  3. Use of the audition hall and/or the piano without authorization is strictly forbidden.

15. Other

  1. Any situations not covered by these rules are referred to the Board of Directors, whose decisions on such matters are final.