Coltman Competition FAQs

COVID-19 Precautions

The 2024 Coltman Competition will be held in-person at The University of Texas at Austin Butler School of Music. Competition staff reserves the right to cancel or amend any or all of the 2024 competition.

COVID-19 Precautions: Competition staff urges all ensembles to abide by local and state health and safety guidelines. Our first priority is ensemble and community safety. We are closely monitoring the pandemic and its impact on in-person events. The competition will be following all City of Austin, CDC, and/or venue guidelines.

Where does the competition take place?

The competition takes place at the University of Texas at Austin Butler School of Music. The Austin Chamber Music Center (ACMC), an Austin based 501(c) non-profit that runs the competition, rents rooms/spaces for the competition days only. Rooms on campus, outside of first come, first served practice rooms, are NOT available before Friday’s optional check-in or after the competition has ended on Sunday. If you need to reach someone before check-in, contact ACMC competition staff, not the University.

Competition contact:

Who should my ensemble list as our sponsor?

Your ensemble’s sponsor should be an adult that supports your ensemble. This person could be a chamber music coach, ensemble parent, private lesson instructor, college professor, etc. Please talk to this person before you put them down as your ensemble’s sponsor as they will be emailed competition information. No member of the ensemble submitting an application may function as a sponsor.

What category should my ensemble be submitting an application to?

Junior & Senior Division: String & Piano Category

  • String only ensembles that comprise of violin, viola, cello, string bass, harp, classical guitar
  • String and piano ensembles
  • Wind and string players: If the majority of the ensemble members are string players, then the ensemble should submit an application in this category. Competition staff has the right to reassign an ensemble into the other category.

Junior & Senior Division: Mixed Instrumental Category

  • Woodwind only ensembles (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, saxophone)
  • Brass only ensembles (trumpet, horn, trombone, euphonium, tuba)
  • Percussion ensembles
    • The competition, nor the University of Texas at Austin Butler School of Music, is not able to supply instruments
  • Mixed ensembles combining woodwind, brass, percussion, string, harp, classical guitar, and/or piano
    • String quartets should apply to the String & Piano Category
  • Wind and string players: If the majority of the ensemble members are wind players, then the ensemble should submit an application in this category. Competition staff has the right to reassign an ensemble into the other category.

What does ‘contrasting selections’ mean when it comes to repertoire?

Since the competition is open to all instrumental combinations the goal is to choose repertoire that shows off your ensemble’s capabilities musically, technically, and stylistically. It’s HIGHLY preferred that ensembles pick two repertoire selections from two different music genres, if possible. Ensembles are required to choose two contrasting selections from two different composers. Please read the competition eligibility and regulations information CAREFULLY before finalizing repertoire.

Music Genres

1770 and earlier (Baroque and earlier)
1770-1810 (Classical)
1810-1900 (Romantic)
1900-1950 (Modern)
1950-present (Contemporary)

What are ensemble picture requirements for the application?

Before starting an ensemble application ensembles will need to take a high-quality photo of the ensemble. Photos should be high resolution, full color, minimum dimensions of 1152 pixels wide by 768 pixels tall, and orientation needs to be landscape (horizontal).

What are the score upload requirements for the application?

Before starting an ensemble application ensembles will need to have PDF copies of scores (see Eligibility and Regulation requirements for more repertoire details).

What to upload:
-Only upload scores for the repertoire selections the ensemble has chosen to submit. If a repertoire selection has multiple movements, only upload the movements the ensemble has chosen, not the entire piece.
-DO NOT upload individual parts. If there is no score available, one must be created. Individual parts will not be accepted.

BEFORE scanning, copying, and uploading your score:
-Score PDFs should be labeled by the composer’s name, title of piece, and movement (if applicable) before uploading.
-Each PDF score should be clearly and legibly labeled with the complete piece title and composer name at the beginning.
-Each movement should be clearly labeled with the movement number and title.
-Number the first measure of each line; unless measure numbers or rehearsal markings are already clearly indicated.
-Erase ALL excess markings.
-Check to make sure music is not cut off on sides, bottom, or top when scanning/copying.
-Music should not be wavy or discolored.
-Make sure each page of the score takes up one full page (e.g., if the score is tiny and has multiple pages on one full page it will need to be enlarged so that only one page of the score is displayed).
-Scores should not have ensemble names, individual names, or school affiliations marked on them.

What if my ensemble has a pianist and needs a page-turner?

Ensembles not based in Austin:
Page-turners will be provided for ensembles not based in Austin at no cost for the semi-final and final rounds; however, it’s highly recommended that ensembles provide their own page-turner so the pianist is comfortable for their performance. If it’s not possible for your ensemble to provide a page-turner, please note that the competition assigned page-turner will have no rehearsal time with the ensemble before competing.

Austin based ensembles:
All Austin based ensembles will be required to provide their own page-turners for the semi-final and final rounds.

Will I receive a confirmation after I submit my ensemble’s application?

Yes. After an online application has been submitted, the contact person who completed the application should receive an email confirmation. If they don’t get one make sure they check their spam folder (or Promotion folder). If no email has been received, contact competition staff to confirm the application went through BEFORE the application deadline. Competition staff will email the application contact person if there are questions regarding application materials.

The application contact person and sponsor will be emailed by competition staff the WEEK OF January 29, 2024 to confirm preliminary round results.

If invited to the live rounds, what will my ensemble perform?

Senior & Junior Division Categories Semi-Final Rounds on Saturday, March 2, 2024

  • Ensembles will be allotted a total of 10 minutes playing time for the semi-final round.
  • Ensembles will determine on their own how they will use the 10 minutes of playing time and must announce the plan before starting. The ensembles must include portions of BOTH repertoire selections.
  • Ensembles will be stopped at the 10-minute mark; however, ensembles should be aware of where that 10-minute stopping point is.
  • Below are examples of what ensembles can choose to play for the semi-final round. Ensembles should choose selections that best represent their playing abilities.
    • One submitted repertoire selection and a portion of the second submitted repertoire selection.
    • 5 minutes of both submitted repertoire selections.
    • Both submitted repertoire selections, if total playing time is less than, or equal to, 10 minutes.
  • Ensembles will be required to tell judges, before playing, what will be performed so judges can have scores ready. If the ensemble chooses not to start at the beginning of a repertoire selection, judges must be alerted before playing begins.

Senior Division Categories Final Round on Sunday, March 3, 2024

  • Ensembles will perform BOTH submitted repertoire selections for the final round. There is a maximum of 25 minutes playing time.

Junior Division Categories Final Round on Sunday, March 3, 2024

  • Ensembles will perform BOTH submitted repertoire selections for the final round. There is a maximum of 15 minutes playing time.

What is appropriate dress attire for the live semi-final and final rounds?

Concert black (not required); nice slacks or knee to floor-length skirt and dress shirt; knee to floor-length dresses; dress shoes that are easy to walk in.

When will my ensemble get our competition schedule?

Competition staff will be emailing all ensembles their competition schedule (warm-up time and competition time) for Saturday, March 2 a few days prior to the competition date. Ensembles will also get general finals day information. This information will be emailed to only the ensemble’s contact person and sponsor, who will be responsible for getting this information to the rest of the ensemble members.

Does my ensemble check in on Friday or Saturday?

If at all possible, we’d like ensembles to check in on Friday between 5:30-8:00 PM so we know you’re in Austin and ready to go. Competition staff will be available to answer any questions you may have and you’ll have an opportunity to get familiar with the Butler School of Music. After checking in, ensembles may rehearse, if desired, during the allotted time frame. Large rehearsal classrooms are NOT available Friday outside the hours of 5:30-8:00 PM or on Saturday and Sunday unless assigned by competition staff. Fifth (5th) and sixth (6th) floor practice rooms are open on a first-come, first-served basis on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (see below for building times).

If your ensemble does not check in on Friday evening, you will check in on Saturday 10 minutes prior to your assigned warm-up time. Large classroom warm-up times on Saturday and Sunday are determined in advance by competition staff and are not negotiable. Ensembles may come at any point to use practice rooms on the 5th or 6th floor on a first-come, first-served basis:

  • Friday building hours: 8 AM to 10 PM
  • Saturday building hours: 7 AM to 10 PM
  • Sunday building hours: 7 AM to 10 PM

What is the time commitment on Saturday for the live semi-finals and Sunday for the live finals, if invited?


All ensembles invited to the semi-finals on Saturday, March 2 should keep their schedules open from 8 AM to 5 PM. Ensembles invited to the live semi-finals will be given a general schedule approximately one month before the competition. Finalized schedules will be emailed to ensembles a few days prior to the competition.

We ask that all ensembles flying, or driving in from more than 2 hours outside of Austin, arrive in Austin on Friday. The competition schedule will not be adjusted for those that miss their scheduled warm-up or performance times.

Ensembles invited to the Sunday finals will be announced on Saturday at 4 PM.


All ensembles invited to the finals on Sunday, March 3 should keep their schedules open from 7 AM to 4 PM.

Ensembles that are flying for the competition should not schedule their flights before 7 PM on Sunday so that everyone has time to get to the airport. All ensemble members are required to attend the awards ceremony on Sunday at 3 PM (time subject to change). After announcements winning ensembles will be required to stay to take photos and do interviews.

Can we change our ensemble’s assigned audition times on Saturday or Sunday?

No. Competition staff will assign all audition times. Ensembles will not be allowed to reschedule their audition or warm-up time. Ensembles should keep their schedules open on Saturday from 8 AM to 5 PM and Sunday 7 AM to 4 PM, competition days.

Is video or photography for the semi-final and final rounds allowed? Will the competition be live-streamed?

No photography is allowed during the live semi-final and final rounds in the performance halls (Recital Studio and Bates Recital Hall). Videography is permitted during both rounds, but only from the back of the hall. If this becomes distracting, competition staff will escort you out of the hall. Unfortunately, live streaming is not an option at this time at the Butler School of Music.

Will our ensemble be allowed to tune on stage?

Seeing as non-piano ensembles have ample time to tune/warm-up before their performance, tuning is allowed backstage only. Ensembles with piano will be allowed to take a QUICK tuning note on stage if needed.

What frequency are the performance hall pianos tuned to?

All pianos within the UT Butler School of Music, including the Recital Studio and Bates Recital Hall, are tuned to A-440.

What are the acoustics like in the performance halls and what kind of pianos are in the halls?

Bates Recital Hall

The acoustic profile of this hall is live and tends toward bright. Lower registers can be a bit muddy. Walls and ceiling are hard surfaces, but the 650 seats add some diffusion. It is a large hall and details can sometimes become lost. To mitigate these problems, we will be using an acoustical shell. Bates has a 9 foot Steinway Model D piano and is tuned to A-440.

  • The Senior Division semi-finals and all final rounds of the Junior Division and Senior Division will take place in this hall.

Recital Studio

The acoustic profile of this hall is medium-dry. It is a much smaller space than Bates, but also features primarily hard surfaces with the 150 seats acting as diffusion. There are also some baffles at the back of the hall to mitigate slap back echoes. The Recital Studio has a 9 foot Steinway Model D piano and is tuned to A-440.

  • The Junior Division semi-finals will take place in this hall

Do you have any suggestions for travel, lodging, or ways to get around Austin?

At this time the Coltman Competition is not able to provide or offer any discounts on travel/lodging for competitors; however, we can offer a few suggestions. Ensembles are responsible for all travel and lodging arrangements and expenses.

Below are some hotel options near the University of Texas:

  • AT&T Executive Education & Conference Center – 1900 University Ave, Austin, TX 78705
  • Days Inn – 3105 North I-35, Austin, TX 78722
  • Rodeway Inn – 2900 North I-35, Austin, TX 78705
  • Double Tree – 1617 North I-35, Austin, TX 78702
  • Hampton Inn & Suites – 1701 Lavaca St, Austin, TX 78701

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, 3600 Presidential Blvd, Austin, TX 78719

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport has several car rental options including Enterprise, Budget, Alamo, Hertz, and more.

If your ensemble does not have access to a car, there are several ways to get around town.

  • The Capitol Metro System is the bus/rail public transport system in Austin. One-way fare & day passes can be purchased on the bus/train, online, or through their mobile app. Visit for schedules and additional information.
  • Austin has several ride-share options, including Uber and Lyft, among others.
  • Austin also has traditional cabs.
  • Many hotels have shuttle options, so make sure to ask what’s available when making your reservations.

University of Texas and the Butler School of Music:
CLICK HERE to learn more about UT’s Butler School of Music, directions, parking, etc. Be advised that there is no free parking on UT’s campus, so plan accordingly.

Who can attend the competition?

Anyone can attend the live semi-final and final rounds on Saturday and Sunday. All live rounds are open to the public and admission is free.

How can I volunteer for the competition and what are the requirements?

Anyone that has a positive and hardworking attitude can volunteer for the competition! You do not necessarily need to be a musician to volunteer, though if you are a musician please tell us so we can place you accordingly. When inquiring to volunteer, tell us about yourself (your background, what you may be interested in helping with, physical limitations, etc.). There are multiple volunteer time shifts that you can sign up for on Saturday and Sunday. Once you commit to a shift competition staff will put you in an appropriate volunteer station. More information will be communicated via email as the competition gets closer. If you’d like to inquire about volunteering please contact us at

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