The 2020 Competition will be held during the 2020 season of An Appalachian Summer Festival on Thursday, July 2, at 6pm in Rosen Concert Hall at the Broyhill Music Center (813 Rivers Street, Boone, NC), on the campus of Appalachian State University.

Finalists will be selected by a panel of jurors during the preliminary round in the spring of 2020.

Competition Prizes

FIRST PLACE WINNER will receive a cash prize of $2,000, as well as an invitation to perform during the Festival season following the competition. A First Place Winner is not eligible to return for future competitions.

SECOND PLACE WINNER will receive a cash prize of $1,500. Should the First Place Winner be unable to perform during the following Festival season, the Second Place Winner will be invited to fulfill this engagement.

THIRD PLACE WINNER will receive a cash prize of $1,000.  

AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD WINNER will receive a cash prize of $1,000.

AFFILIATE STUDIO PRIZE: $1,000 will be awarded to the studio of primary instruction, made payable to the institution, that provided the First Place Winner’s eligibility to participate in the competition. 

ALL OTHER FINALISTS will receive a cash prize of $300.

Please note: All prizewinners must complete appropriate IRS (Internal Revenue Service) forms to receive disbursement of prize monies. Payments of $1,500 or more may be subject to North Carolina or Federal withholding.

Prize Award eligibility is conditional upon authorization for employment in the United States, or otherwise eligible to receive payment under state and federal laws.

Jury Process


A panel of distinguished musicians and collegiate educators will serve as jurors for the preliminary round. Based on recordings submitted, jurors will select the overall top 6 applicants via a blind adjudication process to compete at a public event held as part of An Appalachian Summer Festival’s 2020 season. In the event that one of the finalists selected cannot compete in the final round, 2 alternates will be named.

In the final live round of the competition, a panel of prominent symphony conductors will select a First Place, Second Place and Third Place Winner. The decision of the judges is final. In addition, the competition audience will select an “Audience Choice Award Winner.”


2020 Competition Judges


José-Luis Novo, conductor

José-Luis Novo

One of Spain’s most promising conductors, José-Luis Novo is music director and conductor of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra (ASO) in Maryland and recently concluded an impressive 13-year tenure as music director and conductor of the Binghamton Philharmonic in New York state. Prior to these appointments, he served as assistant conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra under both music director emeritus Jesús López-Cobos and former music director Paavo Järvi, and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra under the late Erich Kunzel. He has been on EMF’s Conducting Faculty since 1999.

Recent and upcoming guest conducting engagements include debut appearances with the Rochester Philharmonic, the Alexandria and South Bend Symphony Orchestras and return appearances with the Thailand Philharmonic, the Baltimore Symphony, the Fresno Philharmonic, Symphoria and a Kimmel Center debut in Philadelphia conducting the Curtis Institute Orchestra. Other guest conducting engagements have included, among others, appearances with the Symphony Silicon Valley; the Minnesota Orchestra; the Syracuse, Modesto, Windsor, Stamford, Tulsa and Tallahassee Symphonies; the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra; the Cleveland and Abilene Philharmonics and most of the major Spanish orchestras.

Novo has also developed a reputation as a keen educator of young musicians. He has held conducting positions with the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra, Miami University Symphony Orchestra, National Repertory Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra of Spain and the Yale Symphony Orchestra, and he is the newly appointed Interim Director of Orchestral Activities at the University of Maryland School of Music, College Park. In addition, he has conducted many noteworthy college and youth orchestras such as the Curtis Institute Orchestra, the Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra, the Bard Conservatory Orchestra, the Ithaca College Symphony Orchestra and the Portuguesa State Youth Orchestra of the Venezuelan El Sistema.

Novo was featured in the League of American Orchestra’s Symphony magazine in Podium Powers, an article about emerging Hispanic conductors in the U.S. He holds music degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music, Yale University and the Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels and is the recipient of a 2010 Annie Award in Performing Arts from the Arts Council of Anne Arundel County, a 2008 American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Adventurous Programming Award and a 2005 Broome County Arts Council Heart of the Arts Award.

Jacomo Bairos, conductor

Jacomo Bairos

Portuguese-American conductor Jacomo Bairos continues to redefine what a conductor can be in the 21st century. He challenges the preconceptions of orchestral repertoire, blurs the lines of genres, and integrates the orchestra into the broader community in new, holistic, and organic ways. Bairos is the 17th Music Director for the Amarillo Symphony, Co-Founder and Artistic Director for Miami’s Nu Deco Ensemble, and performs regularly as a guest conductor with some of the world’s finest orchestras.

Bairos’ performances have been described as “thrilling” (Providence Journal), “inspirational and highly communicative” (Singapore Straits Times), and having a “splendid sense of musicality” (Knoxville Mercury). The New York Times hails Nu Deco Ensemble as “chamber orchestra for the 21st century,” while Billboard called them “a sonically spellbinding experience.

In the 2019-2020 season, Bairos makes debuts with the Seattle Symphony, the Cincinnati Pops, returns to the Symphonies of San Francisco, Houston, Atlanta, and Sarasota, as well as releases his first studio album with Nu Deco Ensemble. Bairos also is in residency at the Peabody Institute for performances and lectures this fall, and makes his operatic debut with Britten’s Turn of the Screw in collaboration with Illuminarts Miami. In June, Bairos made highly successful debuts with the Boston Pops, returned to the Atlanta Symphony and continued his relationship with the Sewanee Music Festival working with America’s premier young musicians.

Along with composer Sam Hyken, Bairos is Co-Founder and Artistic Director for Nu Deco Ensemble. “Occasionally, you see or hear something that blows your mind. Last night, Nu Deco Ensemble at Saratoga Performing Arts Center was exactly that.” (Saratoga Living). Since its inception in 2015, Nu Deco Ensemble has exploded onto Miami’s eclectic musical scene by captivating audiences, holistically engaging with its community, and fusing innovative, genre-bending orchestral performances and collaborations with the highest levels of musical artistry. Nu Deco enters its fifth season with the release of their first studio album (whose first single has gained over 60k streams in less than a week) featuring living composers, popular artist reimaginations, and unique collaborations with Kishi Bashi and Danay Suarez. Additionally, Nu Deco ensemble has joined the prestigious roster of Red Light Management in Los Angeles, renewed partnerships with the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, and returns to the Boca Festival of the Arts.

This year marks is Bairos’ seventh season as the Amarillo Symphony’s 17th Music Director. His imaginative and inclusive tenure has fueled tremendous fiscal and artistic growth, fusing classical orchestral traditions with diverse programming and dynamic guest artists from Classical, Jazz, Middle Eastern, Country, Dance, and Multi-Media worlds. Bairos has overseen the creation of captivating outreach initiatives such as Class Act, SymphonyKids, the HappyHoliday Pops and established the first ever Composer-in-Residence with young American Chris Rogerson. Bairos has appeared in subscriptions with the symphonies of Singapore, Atlanta, Grand Rapids, Fort Worth, Alabama, Charleston, Knoxville, and Rhode Island Philharmonic.

Bairos has also appeared with the Detroit and North Carolina symphonies, the Louisiana Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and directed the National Symphony Orchestra’s acclaimed DeClasssified Series along with multiple Pops programs from 2015-2018. Bairos has made numerous returns to the St. Louis, San Diego, Florida, Jacksonville, Charlotte Symphony Orchestras, and recently curated new music performances in Grand Rapids mentoring emerging composers in collaboration with the American Composers Orchestra’s Earshot program. International engagements include Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Leipzig and Oaxaca Symphony Orchestras, as well as Orquesta Sinfónica’s do Porto Casa da Música (Portugal).

Bairos’ classical artist collaborators include renowned classical pianists Jeremy Denk, Garrick Ohlsson, Jennifer Koh, and mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges to name a few. Additionally, Bairos closely collaborates with some of today’s most groundbreaking artists such as: Academy Award-winning composer Bryce Dessner, Grammy-winning artists Wyclef Jean, Jacob Collier, Angelique Kidjo, and Gregory Porter, as well as Kishi Bashi, Danay Suarez, Seu Jorge, Bilal, Aaron Deihl, Cory Henry, and Jon Batiste. Since 2014, Bairos has worked on numerous projects and collaborations with multi-platinum singer-songwriter Ben Folds.

Bairos’ musical mentors include the esteemed conductor pedagogue, Gustav Meier, and distinguished Maestro Kurt Masur. From 2010-2013, Bairos studied, apprenticed, and mentored with Robert Spano at the Atlanta Symphony and worked closely with Jorma Panula. In 2012, Bairos was awarded the prestigious Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Scholarship by the U.S. Mendelssohn Foundation and Kurt Masur. Bairos is an orchestral conducting alumnus of both the Peabody Institute and Aspen Music Festival.

A graduate of The Juilliard School, Bairos is an accomplished and award-winning tubist, having given masterclasses and concerts with major festivals and orchestras around the world. Bairos has toured, recorded, and concertized with the New York Philharmonic, as well as with the symphony orchestras of Chicago, Cincinnati, and Seattle. He has held principal positions with orchestras in America and Spain, and from 2004-2007 Bairos was Principal Tuba for the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.

Born in Lisbon, Portugal, Bairos is also a Yoga teacher, practitioner of Vipassana Meditation, and works and mentors with underserved children throughout the South Florida and PanhandleTexas region. He makes his home in Miami, Fla.

Matthew Troy, conductor

Matthew TroyMatthew Thomas Troy is a conductor with a mission to make classical music accessible to everyone and to program concerts that are socially meaningful and relevant. He has conducted orchestras across the country including the North Carolina Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Portland Symphony, Greensboro Symphony, University of North Carolina School of the Arts Symphony, and the Salisbury Symphony. Maestro Troy is familiar to North Carolina audiences due to his previous work as associate conductor with the Winston-Salem Symphony.

Troy began his tenure as music director of the Western Piedmont Symphony (Hickory, NC) in the 2019/2020 season. He has held the position of music director and conductor of the Piedmont Wind Symphony (Winston-Salem, NC) since January 2015, where he has transformed this organization and received many accolades for these successes. Troy also serves as education conductor with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, where he conducts the Discovery Family Series, educational concerts, Carnegie Hall’s Link Up concerts, and other outreach efforts. Recently, he made his Classic Concert Series debut with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, to wide acclaim. Troy has previously held positions as conductor of the Fibonacci Chamber Orchestra, the Wake Forest University Orchestra, and the Salisbury Youth Orchestra. He has also served as assistant conductor of the Salisbury Symphony Orchestra and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) Symphony. Troy has led performances with many internationally renowned pops and classical artists including Jennifer Koh, Ben Folds, Boyz II Men, Pink Martini, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Midori, Judy Collins, Anthony Dean Griffey, Eileen Ivers, The Wailers, Dmitry Vorobiev, and many others.

Maestro Troy is known for innovative programming and partnerships, deep community involvement, and support for music education. He is recognized for creating an instant rapport with both orchestras and audiences, and for his unique ability to make classical music engaging and relevant to today’s audiences. Troy has pushed boundaries through a number of film and music projects. In April 2018 he crafted a program called Music Without Borders, which focused on the ongoing refugee crisis both locally and abroad. This concert included music and partnerships for many countries affected by these issues, including a partnership with World Relief and local interfaith groups. Troy has commissioned new works, performed countless clinics supporting local music teachers, and created programs and received funding for outreach into the local prison systems. The 2017-18 season saw the creation of the Female Fanfare Project with the Piedmont Wind Symphony, which included the important contribution of female composers.

Troy is a passionate advocate for orchestral music and music education. As a viola/violin faculty member at the Music Academy of North Carolina, he received awards for excellence in teaching. Troy is a frequent conductor/clinician and has led numerous high school and middle school All-State and All-County clinics throughout the United States. In 2015 and 2016 Troy served as conductor of the Cannon Music Camp, where he also played viola in the faculty string ensemble. One of Troy’s most creative projects at the Winston-Salem Symphony was an educational program that partnered the orchestra with a San Francisco-based non-profit organization called the African Library Project. This program, created in conjunction with the educational concert series and a corresponding short story competition, used music to focus on the importance of literacy both locally and abroad. Through this program, Troy raised over 50,000 books to start 50 new libraries for schools in Botswana, while allowing three students in Winston-Salem the opportunity to receive new instruments and music lessons. This program garnered national attention and Troy was invited to lead a presentation on the project at the 2010 League of American Orchestras conference in Atlanta.

Troy maintains an active guest conducting schedule and has led performances with the Portland Symphony Orchestra, Greensboro Symphony Orchestra, the Carolina Chamber Symphony, Kensington Consort, the Philharmonia of Greensboro, Gate City Camerata, and the Triad Chamber Music Society. Troy also competed in the Jordanian International Conducting Competition. Troy earned a bachelor’s degree in music at UNCG, where he also completed his master’s degree in orchestral conducting as a student of Maestro Robert Gutter. He has studied at the prestigious Pierre Monteux School under Maestro Michael Jinbo and with renowned conducting pedagogues Maestro Gerard Schwarz and Maestro Kenneth Kiesler at the Conductors Retreat at Medomak. In addition to his conducting engagements, Troy keeps a very active schedule as a public speaker and is a member of the Conductors Guild, League of American Orchestras, and the Pi Kappa Lambda Honors Music Society. In his free time, he enjoys reading, studying new music, traveling, and singing.