2016 Lee Piano Competition

Dr. Steven SpoonerAugustana College hosts the Eighth Biennial Lee Piano Competition on Saturday, April 27, in memory of the late J. Earl Lee and Clara Lee, two esteemed Augustana professors. The registration deadline is Friday, April 12, for this event featuring competitors from across the country, ranging in K-12 grades from 4-12, competing for more than $6,500 in cash awards.

Opening the competition will be a recital featuring competition guest artist Dr. Steven Spooner (shown right), Concert Pianist and Associate Professor of Piano at the University of Kansas. The recital is at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 26, in Kresge Recital Hall on the Augustana College campus.

Competition preliminaries will begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday, April 27, and continue until 5 p.m. The final competition round begins at 6:30 p.m. and will feature the top performers from each of three divisions: Division 1 (grades 4-6), Division II (grades 7-9), and Division III (grades 10-12). Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony beginning at 8:30 p.m.

All events are free and open to the public. Competition will be held in Kresge Recital Hall and the choir room, both located in the Humanities Center.


Event Details

The Lee Piano Competition is a biennial competition for pianists held on the Augustana College campus in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The competition is held in honor of the late J. Earl Lee and his wife, the late Clara Lee.

J. Earl Lee was a professor of music at Augustana College from 1931 to 1991, serving as chair of the music department for 20 years. Clara Lee was a professor of speech at Augustana College from 1952 to 1991. J. Earl helped found the Sioux Falls Community Concert Association in 1935. In 1958, Clara Lee was chosen Debate Coach of the Year by a national speech honorary society.

The Lee Piano Competition is funded through the generous gifts of Karl O. Lee and his mother, Agnes Lee. Augustana College is grateful for this support and for the lasting recognition given to the legacy of J. Earl Lee and Clara Lee.


Divisions, Fees, Repertoire, Awards

Division I II III
Grade in School
K-12 Grade on Competition Date
4-6 7-9 10-12
Registration Fee
Non-refundable U.S. Dollars
$25 $35 $45
First Prize Award $600 $800 $1000
Second Prize Award $500 $650 $800
Third Prize Award $350 $500 $600
Fourth Prize Award $175 $250 $300
Maximum Competitors Selected
First-come basis until maximum is reached — any other registrations will be returned with fees fully refunded
35 28 22
Maximum Audition Time
If music is longer, judge will select sections or movements, but will allow representation of each contrasting style required
12 minutes 15 minutes 20 minutes
Repertoire Requirements
Each composer/selection must represent contrasting style periods from: Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Impressionistic, and Contemporary in accordance with MTNA Composer Classification List
Selections from 2 Composers (from contrasting styles - Memorized) Selections from 2 Composers (from contrasting styles - Memorized) Selections from 3 Composers (from contrasting styles - Memorized)
Registration Deadline
No late registrations accepted – apply online by Friday, April 12, 2013.

Official Competition Rules

  • All rules and repertoire requirements must be strictly followed. Any violation of rules will result in disqualification from the competition at any time before, during, or after the competition.
  • Previous 1st prize winners are not eligible to enter the same division.
  • All application materials must be completed and all fees submitted prior to the registration deadline of April 12, 2013. No late registrations or payments will be accepted.
  • Photo identification and proof of U.S. citizenship is required to participate.
  • Any withdrawals or “no-shows” will forfeit the competition fee, which is non-refundable except in the case of applications that are returned due to maximum enrollment (see below).
  • Enrollment is limited. Applications will be accepted (on a first-come, first-served basis) until the respective division has met maximum enrollment. Any additional registrations will be returned and fees will be fully refunded.
  • All finalists must compete in the competition final round, to be held at 6:30 p.m. on the day of the competition. Failure to do so will result in forfeiture of any award.
  • All selections must be performed from memory. No exceptions.
  • Composers/selections must represent contrasting style periods — Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Impressionistic, or Contemporary in accordance with the Composer Classification List by the National Music Teachers Association (NMTA).
  • All repertoire must be originally composed for solo piano. No transcriptions, arrangements, or concertos will be allowed.
  • Single movements or pieces of multiple-movement works (e.g., sonatas, suites, etc.) can be listed and will count as one style
  • Participants may only play selections from two composers (of contrasting style periods) for Divisions I and II, and three composers (of contrasting style periods) for Division III. Multiple selections and/or movements from those selected composers may be listed. However, the judge may select from certain selections and/or movements if the audition time is in excess of the maximum audition time.
  • If repertoire exceeds the maximum audition time, the judge(s) will select excerpts from the audition repertoire. For longer works (e.g. complete sonatas), the judge may select certain movements, pieces, or sections. Therefore, the listed repertoire does not need to be within the maximum audition time limit.
  • Competitors must provide original legible scores (one for each selection) at the competition, with measures numbered. Absolutely no photocopies will be permitted and will result in disqualification.
  • All auditions will be open to the public.
  • Any conversation with judges between the competitor, the competitor's instructor or family, may result in disqualification.
  • The decision of the judges will be considered final, including the right to not award prizes, if deemed appropriate.

Competition Schedule

Friday, April 26

  • 7:30 p.m. — Guest Artist Recital — features Dr. Steven Spooner, Concert Pianist and Associate Professor of Piano at the University of Kansas.

Saturday, April 27

  • 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. — Preliminary Rounds — Contestants will perform their repertoire in the respective divisions. All auditions are free and open to the general public.
  • 6:30 p.m. — Competition Finals — Top contestants from each divisional preliminary round will compete for prizes and awards. Free and open to the general public.
  • 8:30 p.m. — Awards Ceremony — Prizes will be announced to the winners in each division. Competition will close at the conclusion of this session.

Guest Artist

A guest artist recital featuring Dr. Steven Spooner, Concert Pianist and Associate Professor of Piano at the University of Kansas, opens the program at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 26. Steven is a prizewinner at each of the seven international piano competitions he has entered and top prize winner at both the Hilton Head International Piano Competition and the Artlivre Chopin/Liszt International Piano Competition. Steven has seen the release of several solo and chamber recordings on the EMR, IU, and Everythingmusic labels and has studied at Paris Conservatory, Moscow and Tbilisi Conservatories in the former Soviet Union, and Indiana University, Bloomington. He has been appointed to the Artist Faculty of the Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Italy, the International Institute for Young Musicians, among several other important festivals. Steven currently serves on the piano faculty at the University of Kansas, the National Board of the American Liszt Society, and is a Steinway Artist.


Contact for Further Information

If you have any additional questions or comments concerning the Lee Biennial Piano Competition, please contact the competition director.

Dr. Rick Andrews
Department of Music
Augustana College
2001 S. Summit Avenue
Sioux Falls, SD 57197

Online Registration

  1. Complete the Online Registration Form.
  2. Pay the Competition Fee.