Applying for the competition

The 2024 competition is open to students studying flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, French horn, trumpet, trombone, bass trombone, tuba, percussion, and timpani.

Applications for stringed instruments – violin, viola, cello, double bass – and the harp will be accepted for the 2025 Bursary Competition.


How to apply

  • step 1
    Select your solo repertoire from the approved list to include in your application. No substitutions will be allowed.
  • step 2
    Complete and submit the online application form by 5 pm EST on January 26, 2024.


Eligibility criteria

The Bursary and other prizes are open to music students who are following a recognized course of music study in preparation for a career as a professional orchestral musician. 

The applicants must be not less than 16 years of age and not more than 26 years of age as of the closing date for applications.

Applicants must be Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents of Canada, and have one of the following close connections to Canada’s National Capital Region (NCR)*:

  • have resided in the NCR during their formative years; or
  • have been living in the NCR and studying at a recognized institution in the NCR or with a recognized orchestral instrument teacher in the NCR for the full academic year immediately prior to applying.

*The National Capital Region (NCR) encompasses the City of Ottawa, Ontario and the City of Gatineau, Québec, and includes surrounding suburban and exurban communities. 

Decision on an applicant’s eligibility rests entirely with the Committee.

Applicant availability: Students applying for the NACO Bursary Competition must be available for the duration of the competition period, including the preliminary auditions and, if selected, the finals.

About the application process

What to include with your online application:

  • List of selected solo repertoire from the approved list.
  • Your up-to-date one-page résumé/CV in PDF format.
  • A photo of the applicant must be attached to the application (JPG). The photo doesn't need to be of professional quality, but must be a clear, unobstructed headshot.

The approved solo repertoire list has been carefully developed and is regularly reviewed by the NAC Orchestra Bursary Committee. In drawing up this list the Committee has chosen pieces which, in terms of length, variety and level of difficulty, best meet the requirements of this Competition. No substitutions will be allowed. Candidates must state their chosen solo repertoire from the approved list at the time of application.

Status of application/Notice of acceptance

The main form of communication for this competition will be by email. It is the responsibility of the applicant to check email on a regular basis for communications. 

Candidates will be sent notice by email confirming the status of their application approximately 2 weeks after the application deadline. If your application is accepted, your preliminary audition time will be indicated on this notice.