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Dorothy Sutton Performance Festival

Registration & Fees Postmark Deadline - September 10 2022

Audition Date - October 1, 2022 (Moravian University)

State Showcase Recitals and Keystone Concerto Festival - Saturday, November 12, 2022 (Kutztown University)​​

Begun in 1980 by Dorothy Sutton, the Dorothy Sutton Performance Festival is an opportunity for talented music students to participate in a State Festival in a Showcase Recital. To assure high standards, the student must first qualify with a Superior rating in Local Preliminary Auditions and must demonstrate a minimal knowledge of music theory by passing a written theory exam with a grade of 85%. Students performing at the State Festival Showcase Recital will receive a gold medal and a Certificate of Participation.

Eligibility & Requirements:

  • Teacher

    • Participating teachers must be a member of PMTA and a member of a PMTA Local Association. The teacher must have paid local, state and national dues prior to the Local Association’s deadline for submitting applications. Teachers may belong to more than one Local Association, but students may perform at only one local event.

  • Student

    • Any piano, vocal or instrumental student of a PMTA member may participate in the DSPF Preliminary Auditions. Participating students must reside in Pennsylvania. Any age may participate, including adults.

General Information:

  • Solo performers and ensemble teams will perform repertoire according to the Performance Requirements outlined below. Performers who receive a Superior rating and have scored 85% or higher on a theory test may advance to the state level for performance in a Showcase Recital where they must play the ONE piece the judge has chosen. All students at the preliminary level will receive written critiques from the judge with comments supporting the rating. 

Performance Requirements:

  •  Musical Scores:  Students must provide one original copy of the music. Photocopies are strictly prohibited, unless there is express written permission from the publisher.  It is the teacher’s responsibility to submit a signed photocopy release form at the time of enrollment.  NOTE: CD Sheet Music is permissible. 

  • Accompanists: Students are allowed and encouraged to use commercially available recorded accompaniments or accompaniments recorded by a teacher or other performer.  

  • Length of time: Performances may not exceed fifteen (15) minutes but may be adjusted by the local chairperson.

  • Solo: 

    • Piano and voice: Two (2) memorized pieces of a contrasting nature by different composers, preferably from two (2) different eras in the more advanced levels.

    • Other instruments: the same, however memorization is not required but STRONGLY recommended.

  • Duets/Ensemble:

    • Two pieces of contrasting nature by different composers, preferably from two different eras in the more advanced levels. Memory is not required.

    • Teachers may conduct or accompany their ensembles. No recorded accompaniments.

  • All repertoire performed must be appropriate for all ages and audiences.  Lyrics may not include any direct or indirect references to drugs, alcohol, violence, sex, include any foul language, or any other subject / topic the committee deems inappropriate.  The Committee reserves the right to accept or reject any piece.  The committee reserves the right to accept or reject any piece.  The committee's decision is final.  It is the submitting teacher's responsibility to ensure all music is appropriate

  • All selections must be a minimum of sixteen (16) measures without repeats, including elementary level students. Simplifications or arrangements are NOT acceptable at the intermediate and advanced levels unless the original composer is the arranger (i.e. Liszt transcriptions, Brahms Waltzes.). Unacceptable repertoire includes: arrangements of movie, Broadway, or pop songs, hymns, organ literature, etc.; simplified or partial versions of classical repertoire - anything not originally composed for piano solo. 

Theory Tests:

  • Theory score to perform at the state event must be 85% or higher.

  • The PMTA board has amended the rules to encourage students to attempt the higher levels without penalty. Levels 6 and above are optional for all instruments and voice.  Any student who has scored 85% or higher on Level 5 during a previous year may opt out of the theory requirement. (The Local and State Chairs have records of who has met this requirement.)  Students who attempt Level 6 or higher and receive a superior rating will qualify for the state showcase regardless of their theory score.  Students who receive a superior rating and choose to opt out of Levels 6 and higher also will be eligible for the state showcase. 

  • Students need not progress to a new level every year.

  • Ensemble students also performing as soloists will take only one test.

  • Ensemble students performing as an ensemble only must take a test, at the level of least experienced member of the group.

  • Test retakes are not permitted.

  • Students are not permitted to see or take the test before the designated test date.

  • Theory test content is listed here.

Local Fees:
$17.00 per student (non-refundable)

$20.00 per duet / ensemble (non-refundable)

Students eligible to participate in the State Showcase Recital:

  • State Fee:  $13.00 per student (non-refundable)

  • Your teacher will give you more information, if applicable.


Teachers submit the following by the Postmark Deadline:

  1. One Application for each student with the Teacher Code on the top right (see Teacher Code List for details).

  2. One Judge's Rating Sheet for each student.  Fill out the student's first name only, their repertoire, and the Teacher Code on the top right.  

  3. A roster of student applicants listed in alphabetical order complete with the Teacher Code.  Include duets / ensembles as one separate entry.

  4. One check for your total studio fees made payable to LVMTA. 

  5. Send the above to Darlene Ziegler.  Address available in Member Directory.  Contact below, if needed.

For more information, contact Jennie Flicker, chair; , 484-866-7710 -or- Darlene Ziegler, chair;

Dorothy Sutton Performance Festival Forms & Resources

DSPF Application Form

DPSF Student Parent Letter

Teacher Code List

Student Photo Permission

DPSF Rating Sheet

Judge Instructions

Photocopy Release

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