FEBRUARY 26-27, 2016


About the Competition

First place in all (7) categories will receive a cash prize of $1000.00 and an opening set at the Portland Jazz Festival.


Students can enter in multiple categories. Download complete festival rules, procedures and general information (PDF).


  1. Any school group or individual wishing to participate in the JAZZ FORWARD COMPETITION must be enrolled in High School, and be 19 years of age or younger on December 1, 2015.  ‘Under Graduate’ entrants are Students enrolled at least .50 time in a College Jazz Program, OR students participating in a ‘Gap Year’ or ‘Institute’ style program, and are 25 years or younger.  High School Students participating in dual enrollment programs, home schooling or arts enrichment programs ARE eligible to compete.
  2. Students can enter in multiple categories. Each soloist or student ensemble applicant must complete the online application form and pay the $50 application fee for each category entered. Ensembles or soloists selected for the Final round of the competition will be charged an additional participation fee. ($100 per soloist $200 per ensemble)
  3. Each applicant must submit a recording online at the JAZZ FORWARD COMPETITION website. Recordings should be in mp3 or mp4a format, contain 2-4 selections, and total no longer than 15 minutes in duration.
  4. Eligible entries must be recorded between September 1, 2014 and December 1, 2015
  5. Faculty and/or professional rhythm sections and accompanists ARE PERMITTED for entrants in the instrumental and vocal soloist categories. However, the use of non-eligible musicians in the Big Band, Combos, or Vocal Ensemble categories is prohibited.
  6. Pitch correction IS NOT ACCEPTED on vocal entries in the JAZZ FORWARD COMPETITION. Entries found to have used pitch correction will be disqualified. Please limit production techniques used in submissions.
  7. Entries will be accepted from midnight September 1st, 2015 through midnight December 15th 2015. NO Late entries will be accepted.
  8. Selection of the competition finalists will be based on a blind review by a panel of faculty adjudicators. Recordings will be evaluated on criteria including but not limited to the following: creativity, improvisation, groove, feel, time, intonation, sense of ensemble (where applicable), and phrasing.
  9. Finalists will be selected and notified by email of the results no later than January 1, 2016
  10. Applications, photos and audio submissions will not be returned.
  11. Each entrant agrees that the JAZZ FORWARD COMPETITION will have the right to publicize and use his/her name and likeness, the fact that he/she won a prize, information about the competition and all matters incidental thereto in print and electronic materials.
  12. All federal, state, and local taxes on prizes are the sole responsibility of the winner.

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