The 2024 Competition will be held during the 2024 season of An Appalachian Summer Festival on JULY 6 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 2024.

Competition Prizes

FIRST PLACE WINNER will receive a cash prize of $2,500, 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 $2,000. 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 $1,500.

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


ALL OTHER FINALISTS will receive a cash prize of $500.

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, conductors, and collegiate educators serve as jurors for the preliminary round. Based on recordings submitted, jurors select the overall top six (6) applicants via a blind adjudication process to compete at a public event held as part of An Appalachian Summer Festival’s 2024 season. In the event that one of the finalists selected cannot compete in the final round, two (2) alternates are 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.”

Past live competition judges have included such acclaimed conductors as Gerard Schwarz with the Eastern Festival Orchestra, Palm Beach Symphony, and All-Star Orchestra; José-Louis Novo with the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra; Roger Kalia with Symphony New Hampshire and Orchestra Santa Monica; Robert Moody with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, and Jacomo Bairos with the Nu Deco Ensemble.


2023 Competition Judges


With a dynamic podium presence and noted passionate interpretations, Indian American conductor ROGER KALIA has been celebrated continuously by audiences and industry professionals alike, with Symphony Magazine recently recognizing him nationally as one of five first-year music directors for his innovative programming during the pandemic. Praised for bringing a “fresh view to classical music” (The Republic, IN), Kalia is now in his third season as Music Director of the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, fourth season as Music Director of the 100-year-old Symphony New Hampshire, and in his fifth season as Music Director of Orchestra Santa Monica. He is also co-founder and Music Director of the 12-year-old celebrated Lake George Music Festival in upstate New York. The recipient of several awards from the Solti Foundation U.S., including an Elizabeth Buccheri Opera Residency with Lyric Opera of Chicago and five Career Assistance Awards, Kalia has been praised for his “extraordinary leadership” (Courier & Press).

In recent seasons, Kalia has appeared with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, Chicago Sinfonietta, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Szczecin Philharmonic (Poland), Boise Philharmonic Orchestra, Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra, and the symphony orchestras of Redlands, Lima, Adrian, Bakersfield, Great Falls, Owensboro, Spokane, and Wheeling. The 2022-23 season features debuts with the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, Boston’s Longy Conservatory Orchestra Flex, and a return to the Redlands Bowl with the Hollywood Chamber Orchestra. 

2022-23 season highlights include leading Symphony NH in a collaborative performance of Mozart’s Requiem with the Nashua Choral Society and Nashoba Valley Chorale; the 100th anniversary concert of Symphony NH’s in April 2023 that marks their first concert to the day 100 years later in a program featuring cellist Amit Peled performing Dvořák’s Cello Concerto; collaborations with Time for Three at the Lake George Music Festival and the world premiere of Pascal Le Boeuf’s Triple Concerto with violinist Barbora Kolarova, arx duo, and the Lake George Music Festival Symphony Orchestra; a Musicians’ Choice concert with the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra — works chosen by EPO Musicians bringing them front and center — featuring Strauss’ Death and Transfiguration and Louise Farrenc’s Overture No. 1; the Evansville premieres of Joel Thompson’s An Act of Resistance and Valerie Coleman’s Seven O’Clock Shout; and the debut of EPO’s Uncorked Series, a series of concerts in non-traditional settings including distilleries, craft breweries, and restaurants/cafes.

Kalia has collaborated with a wide range of artists including singers Angela Brown, Reginald Smith Jr, and Shayna Steele; guitarist Meng Su; Cirque de la Symphonie; Electronic Dance Music (EDM) duo MAKO; Project TRIO; singer/songwriters Randy Newman and Randy Jackson; Philadelphia Orchestra concertmaster David Kim; violinists Nathan Cole and Glenn Dicterow; pianists Fei-Fei Dong, Sean Chen, and Misha Dichter; rock musicians Johnny Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls and Nancy Wilson of Heart; the B-52s; sitar player Anoushka Shankar; actor Jack Black; and visual artist/astronomer Dr. José Francisco Salgado.

A native of New York State, Kalia holds degrees from Indiana University, the University of Houston, and SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music.

CORNELIA LAEMMLI ORTH (Music Director/Conductor) is in her 16th season as Music Director of Symphony of the Mountains. In addition to Masterworks Series, she has developed new series of summer outdoor, family, young people, pops, patriotic and crossover concerts, which led to Symphony of the Mountains being the first Tennessee orchestra to travel abroad for a European tour with the Kruger Brothers. World-renowned soloists are regular guests with both orchestras. As an advocate for contemporary music, Cornelia brings a variety of new music to the concert hall. Her concert lectures, involvement with area schools, colleges and universities, speeches for civic organizations, regular TV and radio appearances and collaborations with regional art organizations have made her a vital part of the communities.

From 2016-2022, Cornelia served as Music Director of the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra in Ithaca, NY. In September 2019, she had her debut with Opera Ithaca in Ithaca, NY, in several performances of La Bohème, and in February 2020, she appeared as guest conductor of the Kansas Intercollegiate Orchestra at the Wesleyan University in Salina, KS.In October 2017, she appeared as guest conductor with the Brevard Philharmonic in Brevard, NC. From 2010-2012, she held the position of interim music director for the Appalachian Philharmonic and the Appalachian State University Opera Program in Boone, NC. She resumed these responsibilities for the 2015-2016 season and serves now on the advisory board for the Hayes School of Music. During the 2014-2015 Season, Cornelia had her debut as guest conductor with the Asheville Lyric Opera in Asheville, NC.

Prior to her engagement with Symphony of the Mountains, Cornelia held the position of music director and conductor of the Oak Ridge Symphony and Choir. She served as Associate Conductor and later Principal Guest Conductor of the Knoxville Symphony from 2002-2008, and since then has had several appearances with this orchestra. In Europe, she was music director of the Operetta Theatre in Möriken, Switzerland, guest assistant conductor under Philippe Jordan at La Scala in Milano, Italy, worked with the Bohuslav Orchestra in the Czech Republic, and conducted many concerts with choirs and ad hoc orchestras with musicians from the Zurich Opera House and the Tonhalle Orchestra.

Cornelia received her Lehrdiplom in piano from the Conservatory at Winterhur and graduated from the Conservatory and University in Zurich with her master’s in music education. She obtained her Masters in Orchestra Conducting from Northwestern University, where she studied under Victor Yampolsky. In a variety of workshops, she studied under Larry Rachleff, Marin Alsop, Joann Falletta, Robert Spano, Kirk Trevor, Tsung Yeh, Milen Nachev and Johannes Schlaefli.

Cornelia convincingly combines the classical-romantic tradition of her old-world origins with the unique American flavor that her international background and extensive working experience in her adopted country has provided. She is a sought-after guest conductor in the USA and in Europe.

​Spanish native JOSÉ-LUIS NOVO is currently artistic director and conductor of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra (ASO) in Maryland. From 2003 to 2016, he held 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.

Highlights of Novo’s tenure with the ASO include numerous appearances at the Music Center at Strathmore with violinists James Ehnes, Anne Akiko Meyers, Leticia Moreno, Chee-Yun and Esther Yoo; pianists Olga Kern and Jon Nakamatsu; late cellist Lynn Harrell; guitarist Manuel Barrueco; pipa virtuoso Wu Man, mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves and the Naval Academy Glee Club. Also remarkable are national broadcasts on NPR’s Performance Today, the launching of the ASO’s award-winning streaming platform Symphony+, the creation of the Annapolis Symphony Academy, and the ASO’s first commercial CD.  In July of 2022, Maestro Novo and the ASO stunned audiences on both sides of the Atlantic in a debut international tour to Spain with guitar virtuoso Pepe Romero as guest soloist.

Recent and upcoming guest conducting engagements include debut appearances with the Rochester Philharmonic; the Austin, Grand Rapids, Hilton Head, Palm Beach, Alexandria and South Bend Symphony orchestras; and return appearances with the Baltimore Symphony; Thailand and Fresno philharmonics; Symphoria; and a Kimmel Center debut in Philadelphia conducting the Curtis Institute Orchestra. Other guest conducting engagements have included appearances with the Symphony San José; the Minnesota Orchestra; the Syracuse, Modesto, Windsor, Stamford, Tulsa, and Tallahassee symphonies; the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra; the Cleveland Philharmonic, and most of the major Spanish orchestras.

Novo has also fostered a reputation as a keen educator of young musicians. He has held conducting positions with the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra, University of Maryland Symphony Orchestra, Miami University Symphony Orchestra and National Repertory Orchestra, and has been on the conducting faculty at the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, North Carolina since 1999.

Novo was featured in the League of American Orchestra’s Symphony magazine in “Podium Powers,” an article about emerging Hispanic conductors in the United States. 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 numerous awards.

MATTHEW TROY was named Music Director and Conductor of the Western Piedmont Symphony in 2019. It is his mission to make classical music accessible to everyone and to program concerts that are socially meaningful and relevant. Formerly, Maestro Troy served as Associate Conductor with the Winston-Salem Symphony and as the Music Director and Conductor of the Piedmont Wind Symphony. From 2010-2023 he served as Education Conductor with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, where he conducted the Discovery Family Series, educational concerts, made his subscription concert debut on the Classics Series, and has frequently conducted on the Pops Series. Troy has guest conducted performances with the North Carolina Symphony, Portland Symphony Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic, Oklahoma Virtuosi, Greensboro Symphony Orchestra, Carolina Chamber Symphony, and others. As an educator, Troy has worked on the conducting faculties of Wake Forest University, UNC School of the Arts, and UNC Greensboro. Troy has led performances and collaborated with many internationally renowned composers, pops and classical artists such as Jennifer Koh, Tai Murray, Ben Folds, Boyz II Men, Joe Lulloff, Kelly Hall-Tompkins, Sidney Outlaw, Pink Martini, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Midori, Peter Boyer, Quinn Mason, Judy Collins, Texas Tenors, Anthony Dean Griffey, Eileen Ivers, The Wailers, and many others.

Maestro Troy is known for innovative programming and is recognized for creating an instant rapport to help make classical music engaging and relevant to today’s audiences. In April 2018, he crafted a program called Music Without Borders, which focused on the ongoing refugee crisis both locally and abroad. Troy has commissioned new works, performed countless clinics supporting local music teachers, created programs for outreach into the local prison systems, and has a long history of supporting various DEI projects.

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 All-State and All-County clinics throughout the United States. Previously Troy has served as conductor of the Cannon Music Camp, where he also played viola in the faculty string ensemble. This summer, he will be joining the Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre. Additionally, he also serves on the Board of Directors for Greensboro Opera and the Music Advisory Council for Catawba Valley Community College.