2023 Rising Stars

New in 2023!  Outstanding young local musicians are invited to audition for the Newcastle Music Festival’s Rising Stars 2023 program. The aim of the Rising Stars program is to offer performance opportunities in a nationally acclaimed music festival.

Up to four recitalists will be chosen to perform in the Rising Stars concert of the 2023 Newcastle Music Festival at 2.30pm, on Saturday19th August, 2023, at Adamstown Arts at Adamstown Uniting Church.

Each recitalist will receive a performance fee of $150.00, subject to their participation.

Erin Sweetman, pianist, is the Festival’s selected associate artist. Erin will accompany any of the chosen recitalists who requires accompaniment.

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Audition will be by video, submitted through YouTube.
There is a fee of $25 per applicant to register and submit your audition video.


Selection criteria:

The selection panel will be looking for the success of your audition video as a concert performance. Your performance should be:

  • accurate,
  • with excellent intonation,
  • beautiful sound, and
  • a high degree of musicality.
  • There should be no weak spots in your performance.
  • The technical difficulty of the music is much less important than the success of your performance.
  • An excellent performance of a simple work will score higher than an unsatisfactory performance of a difficult work.
  • The selection panel is looking to be inspired, delighted and entertained, not simply to be impressed.
  • The decision of the selection panel will be final, and no correspondence will be entered into.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Instrumentalists must be 15-23 years old, and vocalists 17-25 years old, as of August 1, 2023.
  • You must be a resident of, or receive music tuition in Newcastle or surrounding areas within the following postcode ranges:
  • 2250 – 2338 OR 2415 – 2430 (Gosford to mid-North Coast, Newcastle and Hunter Valley).
  • You must consent to the concert being recorded and videoed for possible promotional activities of Newcastle Music Festival.
  • Parental consent and teacher support is required for applicants under 18.
  • A copy of the recording will be made available to you. (NB Private video or recording of the concert is not permitted).
  • You must be available to rehearse with accompanist Erin Sweetman (if required) in early August 2023.
  • You must be available for the recital at 2.30pm on Saturday, August 19, 2023 at Adamstown Uniting Church (Adamstown Arts – corner of Brunker and Glebe Rd, Adamstown).

How to Prepare for Registration

  • Get permission to participate from your parent and teacher (if you are under 18)
  • Choose your pieces (see Repertoire Criteria below). Start NOW!
  • Your program must be of 13-17 minutes duration.
  • Rehearse your pieces. Start NOW!
  • Organise a time and date, and suitable venue, for recording your video (with your piano accompanist if required).
  • Record your video using a phone or webcam enabled desktop computer.
  • We recommend that you record your video by the end of May.
  • Upload your final video to your YouTube account – Google account holders already have a YouTube account, or you can create one for free.
  • The file upload may take up to 20 minutes.
  • Set the video as Unlisted and note the URL.

How to Submit your Registration:

  • Complete all the steps listed above first.  
  • Open and fill in all details in the Registration Form 
  • Pay your registration fee of $25 during registration.
  • Complete and submit your Registration Form, and upload your audition video to YouTube before 5pm, June 23.
  • Any incomplete registrations or videos not uploaded by 5pm, June 23, will be ineligible for judging. 
  • If you are under 18 years of age, the Registration Form requests the names and email addresses of your parent/guardian and teacher. A Permission Form will be sent to both your parent/guardian and your instrumental/vocal teacher, who must support your application.

Repertoire criteria:

  • Your recital program must be acoustic – no electronic instruments or amplification is permissible.
  • You must prepare a 13–17-minute program that can be presented either on your own (eg piano/organ/guitar/voice accompanied by yourself) or with piano accompaniment.
  • Any pieces requiring piano accompaniment must be performed with piano in your video at your own expense (NB. Backing tracks will not be acceptable).
  • No other style of accompaniment (eg guitar played by someone else) is acceptable.
  • Your program may consist of a single work (eg. an entire sonata, as long as it falls within the time restrictions), or multiple works.
  • Each work performed must be complete. For example, a sonata or suite must be performed in its entirety. Please contact us to discuss your program early in your preparation if you are in doubt. (Email: newcastlemusicfestival@gmail.com)
  • As this is a recital program, instrumental concertos are not acceptable.
  • Works composed for solo and orchestra that are often heard with piano in place of the orchestra are acceptable. Please contact us to discuss your program early in your preparation if you are in doubt. (Email: newcastlemusicfestival@gmail.com)
  • The choice of music in the program must be suitable for performance in the Newcastle Music Festival.
  • There are no restrictions on the style of music (eg, classical, jazz, contemporary, music theatre, your own compositions), but the repertoire choices must show significant skill suitable for a public concert. 

About your video:

  • Your video must be a complete performance of all the works you would perform in the Rising Stars recital, if selected.
  • It must be videoed without edits, and you must be visible in the video at all times.
  • You may submit only ONE video, even if you are performing more than one work. 
  • If your program requires a piano accompanist, you are responsible for engaging and paying for the pianist for your video.
  • The video must be uploaded to YouTube and you must provide the URL of the video to Newcastle Music Festival on your Registration Form. 

About performances in Newcastle Music Festival

  • Up to four recitalists will be selected to perform in Newcastle Music Festival.
  • If you are selected to perform, and require piano accompaniment, Erin Sweetman will perform with you – Erin’s fees for rehearsals and the performance will be paid by the Festival.
  • No other accompanist will perform in the Festival.
  • A rehearsal time with Erin will be negotiated with you for late July or early August. 
  • Recitalists requiring piano accompaniment will be required to provide a PDF or hard copy of the music by email or mail by 15 July.
  • Selected performers will be asked to provide a CV and photo for use in promotional materials.
  • If you are selected to perform, the performance will take place on Saturday 19th August at 2.30pm, at Adamstown Arts at Adamstown Uniting Church, 228 Brunker Road, Adamstown.
  • Only the works featured in your audition video may be performed.
  • Newcastle Music Festival holds the right to make audio/video recordings of your recital, to be used for future promotional purposes, if required.
  • A copy of any recording will be provided for you, but may not be used for any commercial purpose (i.e. make them for sale).
  • Newcastle Music Festival will not use the recordings for commercial purposes (i.e. make them for sale) without an agreement with you.

Performer Contracts
Selected performers will be notified by email and telephone, in early July. They will receive a contract issued by Newcastle Music Festival, to be signed within ten days of receipt.

NB: The performance fee of $150.00 is not prize-money. It is a fee for performance subject to the contract. The contract includes a provision, that if you are successful in your audition but choose not to (or fail to) perform, the fee is not payable.

Rising Stars