Sharing our Passion Through Educational Programming

The GJSO is passionate about educational programs for the young and young-at-heart and providing as many ways as possible to “Meet The Music”. The Instrument Petting Zoo, Symphony Storytime, Crystal Baton, Concerts in the Classroom, and the Young Artist Competition offer a wide variety of educational opportunities for all ages.

Link Up: The Orchestra Rocks

One universal element of music is rhythm. Composers and musicians play with elements of musical time, creating patterns of sound and silence that are expressive and exciting. A consistent groove can unite musicians, singers, and audiences in an experience of listening and performing together. Through the Link Up repertoire, hands-on activities, and a culminating interactive performance with a professional orchestra, we will discover how the orchestra rocks.

Instrument Petting Zoo

“The kids loved it. I had one student who went to the music store that day and his mother purchased him a violin. He is 6 years old and is now taking violin lessons. It was a very positive experience!”

Judy ReddingLife Academy

The delight in watching the eyes of a child light up is priceless—and that is exactly what happens when the Instrument Petting Zoo arrives! Children and students of all ages listen to musicians from the symphony provide a brief explanation and demonstration of instruments of the symphony: woodwinds, brass, strings and percussion. The majority of the time is spent trying out the instruments. The hands-on experience is exciting and gratifying—and is reflected in their reactions when they get sounds out of a trombone, clarinet, violin and more!

Interested in bringing the Instrument Petting Zoo to your school or group? Call the Symphony Office at 243-6787 or contact Executive Director Kelly Anderson via email at

Young Artist Competition

Application Deadline: March 1st, 2022 at 11:59pm Mountain Time Zone

Program Information
The Grand Junction Symphony prides itself on selecting the finest artists to perform concerti with the orchestra through its Young Artist Competition each year. The instrument chosen for the competition rotates each year between piano, solo instrument, and voice. The 2021-2022 competition is for piano contestants.

The winner or winners from the final round on March 27, 2022 will be offered an opportunity to perform in the 2022-2023 season as soloist with the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra. Dates, times, and repertoire are TBA depending on the schedules of the soloist and orchestra.

ROUND 1 – Initial Applications due through Acceptd March 1st, 2022
FINALS – After initial applications are reviewed, a selection of finalists will be announced on March 7th, 2022. Online finals will take place March 25th, 2022 and Winners will be announced March 27th, 2022

Your Acceptd application submissions are the first round of auditions. 3-5 finalists will be chosen from this first round. The GJSO will hold a Final Competition Performance online where finalists’ recordings of their concerto applications will be viewable by an invite-only audience.  Judges will select 1st/2nd/3rd prize winners and audience will vote for Audience Choice prize from online finals.


Winners will receive:
1st Prize – $1500 USD, and an engagement to perform the winning concerto with the GJSO in the 2022-2023 season.
2nd Prize – $750 USD
3rd Prize – $500 USD
Audience Choice – $250 USD

Final Round will be held online-only March 25-27, 2022.

Winner/winners will be offered soloist contracts for the 2022-2023 season. For the 2022-2023 season, the winner will receive a separate performance fee TBD, plus travel, and hotel. Fee, performance date, and repertoire to be determined by July 2022.

Total Prize Money
4 prizes

NEWS: Because of rising COVID infections nationwide, the GJSO has decided to convert this year’s Young Artist Competition to an Online-ONLY event. No travel is required to Grand Junction in order to participate in the finals or to win the competition. Winner(s) will still be awarded a soloist contract with the GJSO in the 2022-23 season.

Audition Requirements for ROUND 1
Acceptd Applicants should submit a video recording of a solo performance with accompaniment (piano or orchestra is acceptable.) Videos are required–audio recordings may be sent in addition to video, but videos will be the primary material for judging. Recordings should be a minimum of 15 minutes, and can be either a single movement of a concerto, or excerpts from a concerto, or the complete piece. It is preferred that the recording is of the same piece the applicant would perform in the finals and, if chosen, in the 2022-2023 concert season with the GJSO.

Requirements for FINALS
3-5 finalists will be chosen from this first round. Finalists will be required to submit a video of their complete concerto, if their initial application video was not already complete.  This full concerto performance must be the same piece the candidate would perform with the GJSO in the 2021-2022 season.  Accompaniment can be a piano, string quintet, full orchestra, etc, but the video performance for the final round must be accompanied.

Please note: the following piano concertos have been recently performed by the GJSO, and are therefore ineligible to play in the 2022-2023 season

  • Beethoven – Concerto #5 “Emperor”
  • Liszt – Piano Concerto #2
  • Gershwin – Rhapsody in Blue
  • Ravel – Concerto for Left Hand
  • Rachmaninoff – Piano Concerto #2
  • Rachmaninoff – Piano Concerto #3
  • Prokofiev – Piano Concerto #3


Age Limit – 30
Applicants must be born on or after March 1, 1992

Open only to pianists (2023 competition will be for vocalists, and 2024 for non-piano instrumentalists.)

Contact Information
Please feel free to contact Music Director, Charles Latshaw, with any questions.

To apply, click here.

Crystal Baton Composition Competition


The Crystal Baton Composition Competition is a unique opportunity for elementary and middle school students to compose a simple melody line that will be arranged, orchestrated, and performed by the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra.

Enter Competition