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The Ariel AVANT “innovation competitions” function as an open invitation to classical musicians and chamber ensembles to push forward the evolution of classical music as an art form. Concert presenters, industry thought leaders, and Ariel Artists roster artists all join forces to identify “best ideas” in the marketplace and reward them with development time, commissioning support, and performance opportunities.  AVANT takes the competition beyond artistic mastery, focusing on relevance, innovative power, inclusive dialogue, diverse participation, and positive impact as metrics of excellence.  

AVANT competitions are open to classical music soloists and chamber ensembles of every background, regardless of age, ensemble instrumentation, race, gender identification, sexual orientation, or any other factor.  The few eligibility requirements are: an active performance history of at least two years (with established membership in the case of chamber ensembles), a touring party ranging from 3-6 people, and the ability to tour in the United States during the Grand Prize touring period (September through December 2021).

Beyond that, BEST IDEA WINS.  And we all win in discovering and offering support, development time, and performance opportunities to best ideas.  The Grand Prize of each AVANT competition includes a co-commission of a new work, a two-week incubation residency for development/beta testing, and five performances paired with engagement events.

The AVANT competitions will happen annually.  We will present anywhere between one and three competition subjects per year.  Competitions subjects may change or stay the same from year to year; the number of competitions may increase in some years and decrease in others.  The power of the AVANT platform lies in its agility to be immediately responsive to the speed of artistic evolution, the pressing concerns of the moment, and the shifting paradigms of our industry.

In terms of judging submitted proposals, we come to the competition format with enough humility to understand that tremendous bias is woven into the very foundation of the classical music ecosystem.  We seek to mitigate implicit bias by using three tiers of judging panels made up of varying ratios of concert presenters, industry thought-leaders, and Ariel roster artists, all from diverse backgrounds.

Thanks to everyone for your daily practice.