11th USA International Harp Competition
Judging Rules & Procedures

The jury consists of seven internationally recognized harpists, teachers, and musicians. The jury is chaired by a President whose role is to direct the overall conduct and operation of the Jury and to assure that the Jury adheres to all Competition rules and procedures. 

  1. All members of the jury must be present for all stages and deliberations during the Competition.

  2. Jurors are forbidden from discussing contestant performances of active contestants at all times.

  3. Jurors may not vote for a contestant who is currently their student or has been their student at any time during the three years immediately prior to the Competition. In the case of masterclasses, jurors must recuse themselves if they believe a student/teacher relationship was established. Jurors must submit a Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form identifying any such relationship prior to the start of Stage I.

  4. Jurors may adjust their scores at any time during a given stage. Points may not be changed once the stage's evaluation scores have been tabulated. Jurors are to write a short interpretation of the point score on their evaluation form.

  5. Each Stage of performances are to be evaluated independently.

  6. Individual jury scores and scoring tallies are confidential during and after the Competition.

  7. After each stage, jurors must submit their completed evaluation forms to the Executive Director. The Executive Director and a non-harpist member of the USAIHC Board of Directors calculate the average score of each contestant. Only the Executive Director, non-harpist members of the USAIHC Board of Directors assisting with tallying results, and the Jury President are permitted to view the evaluation forms and summary point totals of the jurors.

  8. For Stages I, II and III, the contestants with the highest average scores advance.

    • No more than 50% of the Stage 1 contestants may advance to Stage II.

    • No more than eight contestants may advance from Stage II to the semi-finals, Stage III.

    • No more than three contestants may advance from Stage III to the finals, Stage IV.

  9. Any of the three finalists may be eliminated from the final stage if they have not adequately prepared the required repertoire, which includes memorization of the Stage IV required repertoire. In such a case, the contestant with the next highest score in the third stage will advance to Stage IV. A harpist member of the USAIHC Board of Directors monitors the finalists’ piano/conductor rehearsal to determine if such a situation exists.

  10. The Competition winner is determined based on overall performance from all four stages. Stage IV jury scores are totaled and averaged, as in Stages I, II, and III. The average scores from the four stages are then summed resulting in an overall Competition value. The First Prize goes to the contestant who has the largest summed total; Second Prize goes to the next highest summed score; etc. In the event of a tie, the Jury President casts the deciding vote.

  11. Prizes are awarded for first through eighth place. The average scores from Stage III will determine the order of finish for fourth through eighth place. If the order of finish for fourth through eighth has a tie situation, jury members will vote by name for the highest prize for the tied contestants.  Majority vote will determine prize position. 

  12. Special prizes awarded for the best performance of particular works are determined by majority vote of the jurors. Voting will occur during the applicable performance stage after placement votes have been processed. All contestants who performed the particular work are eligible for consideration.  Each juror indicates the name of his/her candidate as the winner on a ballot. The Executive Director and a non-harpist member of the USAIHC Board of Directors collect and tabulate the ballots. If no one receives a majority of the votes, the contestants with the highest votes that when combined represent a majority of the votes are placed in “nomination” for the second round of voting.  If there are only two contestants being considered and the vote results in a tie, the Jury President will cast the deciding vote.

  13. Any harpist who has had access to the winning composition of the 6th Solo Harp Composition Contest prior to publication is not eligible to receive the prize for the “Best Performance of the Winning Composition”.

  14. The jury will award all prizes and there will be no ties.

  15. The decisions of the jury are final.


11th USA International Harp Competition
Judging System

The USA International Harp Competition is open to harpists of any nationality between 18 and 32 years of age. Contestants are accepted based on a selection committee review of submitted application materials.  The USA International Harp Competition maintains the highest international standards of excellence in the performance of solo harp. 

Contestant performances are to be adjudicated in Stage I and II based on the following five categories:

  • Accuracy - note accuracy, rhythmic accuracy, memorization

  • Expression - phrasing, dynamics, balance, clarity

  • Musicality - style, tempo, phrasing

  • Performance - poise, artistry, stage presence

  • Technique - tuning, tone quality, pedaling

For Stages I and II each juror will award a contestant between one and five points per category using the following scale for a minimum total score of 5 points and a maximum total score of 25 points (half and quarter points within each category are permitted):

    • Excellent    5

    • Very Good      4

    • Good               3

    • Fair                  2

    • Poor                1

 For Stage III each juror will award a contestant a single numerical score using the following scale:

    • Excellent   21-25

    • Very Good      16-20

For Stage IV each juror will award a contestant a single numerical score using the following scale:

    • Excellent   21-25