Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any questions regarding the Festival syllabus that are not answered by reviewing the syllabus itself, or in these FAQs, feel free to contact for more information.

Virtual Festival: Some of the questions in this FAQ aren’t relevant to the virtual Festival. They may once again become relevant to the Festival once the Festival returns to a live performance format. Such questions and their answers will be crossed out – like this – to reflect this temporary change.

Registering for the Festival

Common inquiries with respect to registering for the Festival, registration fees, and the like.

I'm new at this. How can I register for the Festival?

All registration for the Festival takes place using our online registration forms.

While the basic information to register is straightforward, and you should be familiar with the process of registering if you have ever purchased something online before, there is a good deal of specific information that is required that you might not be familiar with.

The Festival website provides sample worksheets which you can use to assemble the information required for registering, and your or your child’s music teacher, along with the Festival itself, can provide additional assistance at need.

When are the registration deadlines again?

The registration deadlines are found in the syllabus, on our Deadlines and Special Approvals page, and on our Register Online page.

Which registration form should I use?

For the 2019 Festival and going forward, the Festival is streamlining the registration process. There are now only two distinct registration forms: one for solo performers, and one for ensembles.

If you are registering as a solo performer (whether on your own behalf or on behalf of your student or a child in your care), use the Solo Registration Form.

If instead you are registering on behalf of any sort of ensemble, use the Ensemble Registration Form.

There is an error in my registration information. How can I get it fixed?

Registrants may inadvertently misspell names, phone numbers, or email addresses, choose incorrect classes, and the like, during the registration process. The Festival, for its part, may inadvertently produce similar errors when transferring information from the registration forms to the Festival operations database, which will become apparent when teachers receive proofing notices.

Whenever you see some error in your registration information, simply email the Festival to bring it to our attention, and we will correct it as soon as we are able.

I'm a little late registering this year. Can I register past the deadline?

Unfortunately, no. The registration portals will automatically shut down at midnight on the day of the deadlines.

The Festival begins processing registrations for the purpose of issuing proofing notices and scheduling shortly after the end of each registration period. When the Festival has been accommodating regarding late entries, we’ve found that it contributes to delays in the proofing and scheduling process.

The Festival strongly recommends that participants register early. There is an unfortunate tendency for there to be a high volume of traffic on the website during the final days of the solo performer registration period. This traffic can result in glitches of various kinds, possibly even causing prospective registrants to miss the deadline.

While we at the Festival really do want to afford as many interested parties the opportunity to participate, it’s ultimately unfair to the participants to delay issuing of their proofing and scheduling in order to accommodate late registrations.

When do I need to submit scores and recordings?

Friday, March 5, 2021. Please note that if you are registered in a competitive class, you will be disqualified in that class if you submit your materials after the deadline.

Classes & Repertoire

I am registering in both violin and piano classes. How can I be sure they won't have classes at the same time?

The Festival has two means of avoiding such conflicts. First, it schedules disciplines so as to avoid obvious conflicts – such as by having Music Theatre and Voice classes on separate weeks. Second, it double checks the scheduling of participants who register in multiple disciplines.

In the unlikely event that such a conflict does occur, simply advise the Festival as soon as you become aware of it, and we will find a solution.

If you, your student, or a child in your care, are also participating in one or more ensembles, such as a band or orchestra, please be certain to identify each such ensemble in your registration form so that the Festival can avoid scheduling conflicts.

Is there a limit to the number of classes that I could register in?

In theory, no. You could conceivably register in any number of classes, in any number of disciplines.

The registration forms may have a limit on the number of disciplines and/or classes in which you can register at a time. In such a case, the Festival recommends registering separately for each separate discipline.

Keep in mind that you can only register once in a competitive class, but you may register as often as you wish in a non-competitive or participation-only section of that same class. For instance, you could register in class P101C only once, but could register in either of class P101N or P101P twice, three times, or more – paying a separate registration fee for each duplicate entry.

Can I register for classes in more than one grade?

Yes, although with some restrictions.

As part of your registration for the Festival, you are required to enter, or declare, the Conservatory grade at which you are studying as of December 31st on the year before the Festival year. This grade can be an estimate provided by your teacher if you are not actually taking Conservatory exams to verify your level of play.

You generally only enter graded classes matching your grade. However:
– As long as you have registered in at least one competitive section of a class matching your declared grade, you may register in up to one competitive section of a class at the next higher grade.
– You may register in any number of classes at lower grades, but may only do so in non-competitive or participation-only sections.

See the Festival Rules and Regulations for more details.

How do I enter multiple repertoire selections for a single class on the registration form?

The registration form allows solo performers to enter one to four repertoire selections per class, and ensembles to enter one or two selections.

If you wish to perform more selections than that, simply make a note of the additional selections in the Special Requests field of the form. Please make certain to associate the selections with the appropriate class.

What is the procedure for securing approval to perform non-Conservatory repertoire?

The Festival now allows performers to play repertoire not found on Conservatory repertoire lists in most of our classes. Performers must still perform Conservatory repertoire to be eligible for Provincials.

Can I enter a small ensemble class and a solo class at the same time?


As long as you are meeting all applicable requirements for each class, you can register in both solo and small ensemble classes at your discretion.

Can I be a member of multiple small ensembles?

Yes. Each ensemble must have distinct membership overall – for instance, you couldn’t have two separate string quartets will all the same members – but some overlap is acceptable.

What is more, you could be a member of multiple ensembles in the same class! For instance, if you are in two separate piano duets that both happened to register in the same class, that would be acceptable.

Can a small ensemble enter more than one class?

Ensembles are subject to the same restrictions as solo performers.

An ensemble may enter a competitive section of a class only once, but may enter non-competitive or participation-only sections at its discretion. An ensemble may register in multiple different classes, so long as there are multiple such classes in which it could legitimately register.

Fees and Festival Costs

How can I pay the registration fees?

This Festival regularly receives over one thousand registrations annually. The administrative overhead to process cheques and invoices for all these registrations is a very onerous burden.

As such, if you are a solo performer, when registering for the Festival, you can pay your registration fees online using the method(s) made available by the Festival for that purpose.

You also have that option when registering on behalf of an ensemble. If, however, your ensemble belongs to an organisation that is paying the fees and requires some form of formal invoicing in order to process payment, you can instead request that an invoice be issued by the Festival for the amount of the ensemble’s registration fees.

I have to cancel my registration, how can I do that and can I get a refund?

Cancellations happen for a variety of reasons, and we feel as badly as you do if you find you are unable to attend the Festival.

As there may be other participants waiting for a place, whenever such circumstances arise, please advise the Festival as soon as you are able.

Unfortunately, except under exceptional circumstances, the Festival is unable to refund registration fees once they are paid: our finalised arrangements with adjudicators, venues, volunteers; our purchases of supplies for the Festival; and so on, are based on the number of registrations we receive. Don’t be afraid to ask all the same, as the Festival is always willing to review any request for a refund, especially before the registration deadline.

The Festival will offer refunds for duplicate registrations, double payments, and any other over-payment to the Festival, as soon as they are brought to the Festival’s attention.

What is the cost for audiences to attend the Festival?

The Festival is pleased to have audiences attend as often as possible in support of our participants!

You can purchase admission on a session-by-session basis, or purchase a Festival pass allowing admission to most, or all, Festival classes. The Festival syllabus notes the cost of admission. Children aged 12 years old and under have free admission to all Festival classes.

I've ordered a Festival Pass on the registration: how do I get it?

When you order a Festival Pass during registration, a voucher, exchangeable for your Pass, will be mailed to you in advance of the Festival.

You can redeem your voucher at any active Festival venue, or at the Festival office, to receive your Festival Pass itself.

Festival Operations

Common inquiries regarding the operation and conduct of the Festival.

The rule regarding repeats isn't in the syllabus anymore?

For the 2019 Festival (and going forward, unless and until altered again), the Festival has dispensed with specific instructions regarding repeats or other score markings.

Performers should follow the specific rules of their class, if there are any, or if they are performing repertoire from a Conservatory list, they must observe the specific rules of the Conservatory for that repertoire.

Instead, regardless of the class and the repertoire being performed, adjudicators may direct performers and ensembles to observe or ignore repeats or other similar score markings at their discretion.

If no such direction is given, performers and ensembles should simply perform their repertoire as it appears in their scores.

In competitive classes, do performers receive feedback from the adjudicator even if they don't win?


Every participant in any class – competitive or not – receives a full written and verbal adjudication. Classes are scheduled to allow every participant the full Festival experience.

In competitive classes, participants perform in front of a supportive audience and receive a full adjudication, regardless of whether they place first or not.

I want to play an arrangement of a piece by Gabriel Fauré. Since his music is now in the public domain, can't I just use a photocopy?

While music by Gabriel Fauré might be in the public domain, individual publications and arrangements would remain under copyright of the publisher, arranger, etc.

Save for exceptions defined in the syllabus, scores presented to the adjudicator’s assistant before your class begins must be published copies – any photocopy will result in the performance being disqualified.

The Festival is willing to waive this requirement if you can furnish written permission from the copyright holder to use the photocopy.

Will I receive more marks for performing from memory?

Although performing from memory is strongly encouraged in all disciplines, it is not a requirement of the Festival.

Adjudicators are instructed not to take memorisation into account save as a tie-breaker of last resort.

The order of the pieces I am playing in my registration, notices, and the Programme are incorrect. What can I do?

While the Festival endeavours to record the repertoire you will perform in the order in which it is registered, performers and their teachers will from time to time decide to change that order in between registration and the Festival itself.

If, by the day of your performance recording, you wish to change the order in which you will perform your repertoire, simply do so advise the adjudicator’s assistant when submitting your scores, and submit them in the order in which you wish to perform them. When you submit your recording, please advise the Festival so we can change the order in the adjudicator’s paperwork.

After the Festival

Common inquiries regarding activity once the Festival is concluded.

Provincials and Piano Concerto Classes

Virtual Festival Update: The below crossed-out guidelines assume live performance at this Festival and submission of a video recording to Provincials. When submitting a piano concerto video, if you wish it to be considered for Provincials recommendation, please ensure you are in conformance with all Provincials requirements, except for the visibility of the YouTube video, which Provincials handles in a different manner from this Festival. When submitting your video to Provincials, you may change the visibility settings as required.

Requirements for Provincials for piano concerto classes differ from the requirements of the Ottawa Festival:

– Starting in 2019, Provincials requires that submissions for piano concerto classes be made via video recording, and there will be no live performances of those classes in the 2019 Provincial Festival or going forward.

– The Ottawa Festival does not require submission of a video recording, only the normal application process, and piano concerto classes will be undertaken via live performance, as in past years.

– While concerto classes in the revised (2019) Piano syllabus for the Ottawa Festival now more closely match those of the Provincial Festival, there may be additional differences in the repertoire required, etc.

When registering for this Festival, if you wish to be considered for recommendation to the Provincial Festival, you must tailor your registration to meet the requirements of both this Festival and Provincials. Otherwise, you may disregard the Provincials requirements.

Please note the following:

-You are responsible for undertaking video recording of your performances. This may be done independently of your Festival performance, or it may be undertaken during your Festival performance, with the use of a space designated for recording in the venue in which you perform.

– The piano concerto classes at Provincials are distinct from the graded, diploma, and National-Qualifying classes: it is entirely possible for a participant to enter and participate in Provincials with solo repertoire in one of those classes and with concerto repertoire in one of the concerto classes simultaneously.

Please be sure to review the Piano syllabus and the Provincial syllabus for all pertinent requirements.

What is the process for awarding scholarships?

Scholarships are awarded based on the recommendations of the adjudicators. Subject to some minimum requirements set by the Festival, and to conditions set by scholarship donors, these recommendations are made at their discretion.

The Festival Rules & Regulations set out the minimum requirements for scholarships awarded by the Festival. Any discipline whose own requirements are more stringent than the minimum will include its specific requirements in its own section of the Syllabus.

Scholarship donors often specify conditions under which their scholarship is to be awarded. This is a normal and acceptable process. Such conditions may modify performers’ eligibility. For instance, if a scholarship is automatically awarded to the winner of a particular trophy, the adjudicator’s recommendation is not required to award that scholarship. The Festival respects the wishes of donors in these matters to the maximum extent possible.

The Festival requires that adjudicators prepare and furnish an extensive list, ranked in descending priority order, of performers they feel are deserving of a scholarship, once they conclude their session(s) with the Festival.

The Festival’s Scholarship Committee then reviews the adjudicators’ recommendations, the extent to which performers recommended by the adjudicator meet the minimum requirements, and the conditions set by donors, and awards scholarships to performers based on this review, until all available scholarships have been awarded.

Unfortunately, there is rarely, if ever, sufficient funds to award scholarships to everyone recommended by the adjudicators. While prioritizing awards based on the order of performers in the adjudicators’ recommendations, the Festival attempts to award scholarships as fairly as possible.

If I performed a piece in a non-competitive class this year, can I perform it in a competitive class next year?

Unfortunately, no – most of the time. Unless a class specifically allows it, when performing in a competitive class, you may not choose repertoire selections that you have performed in the Festival in previous years.

One possible exception to this rule might be if a set piece is the same from one year to the next.