36 Church Street, Syosset, NY 11791
(718) 888-0635

COS Discovery Competition

Application Deadline:

September 9, 2023

Preliminary Round:

October 13, 2023

Semi-Final Found (If Needed):

October 20, 2023

Final Round:

October 27, 2023


October 28, 2023

About The Competition

Every year, one deserving COS member is chosen through a competition to perform as soloist with the YSE in the annual COS Discovery Gala Concert, sharing the evening’s spotlight with some of world’s most established concert artists at a major concert venue in New York. Past guest artists, among many others, have included Emanuel Ax, Cecile Licad, Richard Stoltzman, Soovin Kim, Jaime Laredo, Sharon Robinson, and Yo-Yo Ma. 

Holding to its principles of “Teaching Children the Language of Music”, this competition provides students an additional incentive to learn to work towards a standard of excellence, giving them the opportunity to grow immensely through its preparation. As the 11th Discovery Winner Pamela Sundelacruz describes the experience: “...everybody that enters would like to win. But there are no guarantees. While winning the competition can serve as motivation, I think each participant needs to have another aim — a focus on improving. These two ideas are related but not at all the same. Only one person wins the competition. However, every participant can succeed in improving — whether in technique, expression, or even performance. Once they are determined to improve, I have no doubt that there will be positive results.” 

In 1984, Artistic Director Michael Dadap and Executive Director Dr. Yeou-Cheng Ma took over the directorship of COS with a vision to revive the orchestra through extensive music programs and performance opportunities. Their vision became a reality in less than five years, and their pursuit for developing a “whole musician” has attracted hundreds of children to the once eighteen-member orchestra. In 1993, as COS prepared for a concert with Yo-Yo Ma and the YSE, the Board suggested posting an ad in a major New York publication. Mr. Dadap instead convinced the Board to direct those funds toward scholarships and the launch of what would become the Discovery Competition. 

Inspiration for the Discovery Competition came from the Avery Fisher career grant, which is given to artists after long observation of their dedication, performance, and focus. During the initial years of the Discovery Competition, the COS Directors nominated deserving members based on year-round performance, and a non-COS jury was invited to adjudicate. To keep pace with the growth of the Discovery Competition, the process has been refined over the years to allow every motivated student to participate, and to thus best fulfill the COS philosophy: to help children grow musically and mature as performers through this experience.

Rules & Regulations


(This is in addition to the Concerto of Choice)

Applications and Submissions

1.    Brief biography (in either text or point format. Please list past and current teachers, music-related activities and recognition received)

2.    A one-page essay on ONE of the following topics:

  • “My plans after the competition”

  • “Necessary steps to prepare for an audition/competition”

3.    An accompanist is required for all works where a piano accompaniment is available. It is the candidate’s responsibility to secure an accompanist.

Please use the form below if you have questions regarding the Discovery Competition or call (718) 888-0635
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Teaching Children The Language of Music
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