Meet the Minnesota Varsity Showcase Round artists! These five instrumental and vocal artists will perform on stage at the Fitzgerald Theater on April 27th, and two composition artists will debut their compositions at the same live event, which will be broadcast live across Classical Minnesota Public Radio's radio network.

Showcase Round

Minnesota Varsity Showcase Concert
Sunday, April 27, 5 p.m.
Fitzgerald Theater, 10 E. Exchange St., St. Paul

The 2014 Minnesota Varsity Showcase will include performances by the five Showcase Artists (Crystal Cheng, Nora Doyle, Jacob Ingbar, Sarrah Bushara and Evren Ozel) and works by the two Showcase Composers (Ava Heubner and Riona Ryan). During the event, audience members and radio listeners (via web) will have the chance to participate in the "Encore Vote," with the winner performing the encore at the concert. Graduate students Can Canbolat, violin; Rosalind Leavell, cello; and Francesca Tortorello, piano — all graduates of the University of Minnesota School of Music — will perform the premieres of the Showcase Composers’ pieces.

Tickets: Admission is free and open to the public but a ticket is required. Tickets can be reserved by calling the Fitzgerald Theater Box Office at 651-290-1200.

About Minnesota Varsity

Minnesota Varsity is a showcase for top high-school musical talent in Minnesota and its environs. This is the first season that non-Minnesota residents, from areas bordering Minnesota and from Sun Valley, Idaho, are eligible to enter.

Music students (aged 14-18 or 9th-12th grade) from across Minnesota, as well as those who live or attend school outside Minnesota but strictly within the listening areas reached by MPR’s terrestrial radio signal (MPR News and Classical MPR networks and The Current) are invited to submit a recording of an instrumental or vocal performance of a classical or musical theater work, for evaluation by a panel of MPR judges. Performances can be solo, or with a group, and can be up to 10 minutes in length. Student composers in the same age group are invited to submit an original score for traditional piano trio: violin, cello, and piano, or for any solo or combination of those instruments, between 3 and 7 minutes in length.

Download the Minnesota Varsity Posters!

See FAQ page for eligibility update 12/19/13

Ten to fifteen instrumental and vocal entrants will be chosen by the MPR Judges for the Featured Round. Featured Round Artists will be invited to make a professional recording of their performances in MPR’s Maud Moon Weyerhaeuser Studio in St. Paul. These performances will be heard on Classical MPR, on air and online. Up to five Featured Composers will be chosen by an American Composers Forum panel of judges. Featured Composers will be invited to a Workshop Day with charter ACF member and composer Carol Barnett as Mentor, to have their works performed by violinist Can Canbolat, cellist Rosalind Leavell, and pianist Francesca Tortorello and receive assistance in polishing their compositions and presenting them to an audience.

Four of the Featured Round Artists will be selected as Showcase Artists by a panel of celebrity judges and one by an online Audience Vote. This year's judges are Julia Bogorad-Kogan, flute, The SPCO; Brian Newhouse, Managing Director of Classical Music at American Public Media; Tesfa Wondemagegnehu, VocalEssence Asst. Artistic Director (and MPR’s Choral Stream Representative); LeAnn House, College of St. Scholastica Music Program Chair and piano professor; and Angela Broeker, University of St. Thomas Choral Activities Director and music professor. Two Showcase Composers will be selected by musicians Can Canbolat, Rosalind Leavell, Francesca Tortorello, Mentor Carol Barnett, and American Composers Forum.

The Showcase Artists will perform on stage at the Fitzgerald Theater on Sunday, April 27th in a live radio broadcast. The Showcase Composers’ works will be premiered at the Fitzgerald Theater as part of the live Showcase concert broadcast.

Educational Sponsor Scholarships

Classical MPR is pleased to welcome five Educational Sponsors to present a special scholarship offer to the Minnesota Varsity Featured Round Artists. Luther College, Concordia College, Saint John's University, and College of Saint Benedict will present $4,000 for four years, to each Featured Round musician to attend their school. We're grateful for the commitment these institutions of higher education make to our Minnesota Varsity musicians!

Important Dates

Submissions Open

Submissions Due by 9:00 a.m.

Featured Round Announcement

3/10/2014 - 3/28/2014
Featured Round On-Air

3/24/2014 - 3/30/2014
Online Audience Voting

Celebrity Judges Select Showcase Round Artists

Showcase Round Announcement

4/27/2014 at 5 p.m.
Minnesota Varsity Showcase Event
(Fitzgerald Theater)


Peruse the submissions, featured and showcase artists from Minnesota Varsity's past! 2013, 2012 and 2011 are all archived!

More Information

Visit the FAQ and Rules pages for more information. Please send questions or comments to

The Minnesota Varsity experience

Where Are They Now?

Where Are They Now? spotlights Minnesota Varsity Featured and Showcase Artists from 2011 and 2012! It's been fun catching up with them to ask what they're doing now and what they remember and value most about their Minnesota Varsity experience. We're pleased to share their inspiring stories with you, and we're proud of every student across the state who's entered Minnesota Varsity and shared their music-making with us and with their friends, families, and communities.

For a second year, American Composers Forum (ACF) will be a partner with MPR in the Composition category.

Minnesota Varsity is supported by the generosity of these foundations and individuals:

The Charles H. Clay Family Charitable Trust
Kay and Gerry Erickson
Mary Gale
Margaret H. and James E. Kelley Foundation
Andy Kiorpes and Farrel Rich
Robert Kriel and Linda Krach
Ann Newhall and Rick Schleuss
Stephen Otto
Paul and Mary Reyelts
Robin Ryan and John Zech
Kay Savik and Joe Tashjian
Frank and Laurel Winsor
Irma Wyman

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Kevin O'Connor
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