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Scholarship Auditions

Since 1946, the Musical Merit Foundation of Greater San Diego has held a yearly competition for instrumentalists and vocalists. Competition winners have demonstrated extraordinary education, prodigious talent and skill. Many are currently studying in prestigious universities and conservatories; many from past competitions are performing professionally in symphonies and opera companies throughout the world.

Annual Auditions


Annual auditions are held in late May or early June to determine winners of scholarships.



Initial screening is conducted through video submissions.



Competitors who pass the PRELIMINARY auditions are candidates for the SEMI-FINAL auditions on Friday. All those who participate in the Semi-Final Round receive an award.



Winners of the Semi-Final round advance to the FINAL ROUND on Saturday. This round is open to the public and is live-streamed. All Saturday performers attend the Reception for Judges and Finalists following the last audition of the day.

AWARDS CONCERT and Reception

Winners are required to perform in the AWARDS CONCERT on the Sunday afternoon following the FINAL auditions. 



The PRELIMINARY auditions are judged by a panel of at least three judges each in the categories of winds, strings, voice, and keyboard (piano and pipe organ). No private instructor of any contestant may be a judge in that category. Judges are unaware of the identity of contestants, and are asked to make written comments which will be mailed to each contestant following the competition.



There are six to eight judges on the panel for the FINAL auditions, selected from distinguished university professors and professional musicians who reside outside San Diego County. Selection of FINAL judges is subject to approval by the Executive Board of the Foundation.

The decision of the judges is conclusive.



Residency Requirements:

  • NEW APPLICANTS and RETURNING APPLICANTS who have not passed through to the Semi-Final Round:

An applicant who is participating in the PRELIMINARY auditions must be a resident of San Diego County, Imperial County, or Baja California for a minimum of one year at the time of the preliminary audition  —OR—  have been a full-time registered student (12 semester units) in a college or university in the above geographic area since the preceding September. Proof of full-time registration must be enclosed with application.

  • RETURNING FINALISTS and those who have not passed through to the Semi-Final Round:

Residency requirements do not apply to participants in the FINAL auditions.

Age Requirements: 

  • All instrumentalists must have reached age 16 or be a graduating high school senior, and not have reached age 24 on the date of the Final auditions.

  • Vocalists must have reached age 18 or be a graduating high school senior, and not have reached age 32 on the date of the Final auditions.

Apply Online


Before you begin your online registration, be sure to have:

  • REPERTOIRE: You will be required to comprehensively list your repertoire including performance time (min:sec) of each entry.

  • ACCOMPANIST CONTACT INFO: Name, email, and phone number 


If you are auditioning in the PRELIMINARY Round, you will also need to provide

  1. your instructor's contact information so that he or she can approve your participation and your repertoire.  

  2. Proof of Residency:  You may send your transcript from your San Diego/Baja area school for the 2023-24 year.  Alternatively, you may send other documentation to show your residency in the area from May 2023 to present.

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