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Updated 2023 Rules

All official rules and details are contained below.

 

General

Contestants must be currently enrolled in a high school or junior high school/middle school. If a contestant is not located in the United States, the contestant must be no more than 18 years of age.

Former first-place winners of Houston Underground competitions are ineligible to compete.

 

Dates and Deadlines

 

The Houston Underground Competition will be held on Saturday, May 20th, 2023 at Kerr High School in Houston, TX, and will begin as early as 8:30 AM (8150 Howell Sugar Land Rd, 77083). Contest will end at the conclusion of the final performance, followed by a brief period for judges' deliberation (15-20 minutes), and finally the awards ceremony (approx. 6:30pm). Participants are not required to stay for the awards ceremony. In the event of an absence, prize or comment sheets will be mailed to you. 

 

All applications for the quartet division are due by April 28th; there will be a late registration period for the Quartet Competition as long as performance spots remain open. Late registrations (made after April 28th) will be charged a $15 late fee. A waitlist will be created for overflow quartet applications. Please see below for the Solo Competition deadlines.

 

Applications

 

Applications will be available on the website beginning in February 2023. Application fee is $75 per quartet and $50 per solo applicant, payable via the online application. All application fees are non-refundable. 

HS Quartet Competition

 

Quartets must be entirely composed of students who are currently enrolled in high school. Students do not need to attend the same school in order to compete in an ensemble together. Furthermore, students may appear in more than one ensemble.

 

Any arrangement of four saxophones (i.g., SATB, AATB, AATT, etc.) will be acceptable. Quintets and trios are allowed, although more repertoire is typically available in quartet instrumentation. Contestants are encouraged to utilize a standard SATB arrangement.

 

Quartet performances must last no longer than 15 minutes. While there is no minimum time requirement, performances that go past 15 minutes will be cut off by the judges. No penalty will be given for exceeding the time limit.

 

While there is no dress code for the competition, performers are encouraged to present themselves professionally.

 

**Original copies of all performance works must be owned, and some proof of ownership (sales receipt, score, original published physical editions, etc.) must be provided on the day of the contest in order to participate. Public domain works are acceptable, provided that the parts performed are also public domain. You will not be allowed to perform without an original. 

Jr. High Quartet Competition

 

Quartets entering the Junior High division must be entirely composed of junior high students. Junior High quartets will NOT compete against High School quartets, although the two contests may be held in the same room.

 

Any arrangement of four saxophones (i.g., SATB, AATB, AATT, etc.) will be acceptable. Quintets and trios are allowed, although more repertoire is typically available in quartet instrumentation. Contestants are encouraged to utilize a standard SATB arrangement.

 

Quartet performances must last no longer than 15 minutes. While there is no minimum time requirement, performances that go past 15 minutes will be cut off by the judges. No penalty will be given for exceeding the time limit.

 

There is no dress code for the competition, but performers are encouraged to present themselves professionally.

 

**Original copies of all performance works must be owned, and some proof of ownership (sales receipt, score, original published physical editions, etc.) must be provided on the day of the contest in order to participate. Public domain works are acceptable, provided that the parts performed are also public domain. You will not be allowed to perform without an original.

Solo Competition

 

The Solo Competition is open to all current high school students, and will have two rounds. The first round will consist of an online video screening, and the final round will happen live on Saturday, May 20th, 2023.

 

The Solo Competition deadline for applications is April 28th; Houston Underground must receive all applications by that date. Late entries will not be considered.

 

First Round: Students are required to choose ONE work from the following list:

Performed on Alto or Baritone Saxophone

 

  • Paul Creston – Sonata – Movement I

  • Paule Maurice – Tableaux de Provence – Movement V

  • Darius Milhaud – Scaramouche – Movement I

  • Jacques Ibert – Concertino da Camera – Movement I

OR

Performed on Tenor Saxophone 

  • James DiPasquale – Sonata – Movement I

  • Heitor Villa-lobos – Fantasia – Movement I

  • Eric Ewazen – Concerto – Movement I

 

Beyond selecting one work from the required list, students may supplement their performance with other works of their choosing, up to a total of 10 minutes of performance time. Performances must include piano (when appropriate) and be uploaded to YouTube, Vimeo, Google Drive, or any other file-sharing or video-streaming platform. Video URL links must be provided in the application process. A panel of judges will review the videos and live-round qualifiers will be announced May 5th.

 

All recordings must be video recordings (not audio-only) and consist of a single take of a complete work or movement. Video must show the performer from head to toe and must be from a single, front facing angle. Recordings must not contain any overdubs, cuts, or other editing. Recordings may be made from live performances or studio performances, with or without an audience. Audio quality must be good enough to discern the performance, but will not be a factor in scoring the performance. 

 

Final Round: 30 contestants will be chosen to advance to the final round, on Saturday, May 20th, 2023 at Kerr HS, 8150 Howell Sugar Land Rd, Houston TX 77083, and beginning as early as 8:30 AM. Final round contestants will be announced no later than May 5th, via email.

 

Finalist performances must last no longer than 15 minutes. While there is no minimum time requirement, performances that go past 15 minutes will be cut off by the judges. No penalty will be given for exceeding the time limit. Repertoire may include music from the first round, but there is no required repertoire for the final round.

 

All contestants in the Solo Competition are required to provide piano accompaniment for any appropriate works. Contestants must arrange for pianists on their own; unlike previous years, Houston Underground will NOT be providing pianists for contestants. However, contact emails of pianists are available upon request from Houston Underground.

 

There is no dress code for the competition, but performers are encouraged to present themselves professionally.

 

Students are allowed to compete both in the Quartet Competition and final round of the Solo Competition. Although they occur on the same day, every effort will be made on behalf of the competition to avoid schedule conflicts.

 

**Original copies of all performance works must be owned, and some proof of ownership (sales receipt, score, original published physical editions, etc.) must be provided on the day of the contest in order to participate. Public domain works are acceptable, provided that the parts performed are also public domain. You will not be allowed to perform without an original.

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