Atlanta Community Symphony Orchestra

Ruth Kern Young Artists Concerto Competition

48th Annual Ruth Kern YACC


Ruth Kern was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, attended the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, and moved to Atlanta just after graduation. She always said she was looking for a place that had the potential for growth.   As a music educator in the Atlanta Public School System for 32 years, Ruth touched the lives of hundreds of young people, many of whom became musicians themselves, performing with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Atlanta Community Orchestra.  She became a member of the Atlanta Music Club (AMC) and along with Ruth Dabney Allen and Senta Hutcheson, organized the Atlanta Community Orchestra, now the Atlanta Community Symphony Orchestra.  This was the second orchestra founded by the AMC, the first being the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Ruth Kern was one of the most dedicated musicians of Atlanta Community Symphony Orchestra, playing in the viola section well into her eighties, at which time she returned to her native Ohio.  She left us with an indelible impression of how things should be in a community orchestra and was adamant about performing free concerts for the public.  She was an exemplar of the love of music and how music can influence and shape youth in so many positive ways.  It is because of her professionalism, faithfulness, and devotion to Greater Atlanta, this community orchestra, and her love for young people, that this concert series was named in her honor. Every year, winners are given the opportunity to perform as solo artists with the Atlanta Community Symphony Orchestra.

Important Dates

  • Applications Due: January 12, 2024
  • Finalists Announced: January 26, 2024
  • Finalists Live Audition: February 10, 2024 (February 17, 2024 for only those applicants that need special accommodation due to GMEA district performances in band and orchestra)
  • Winners Announced: February 23, 2024
  • Winners Concert: May 19, 2024
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Students may compete on any symphonic instrument, piano, guitar, and voice. They will be selected from within one of THREE divisions (determined by applicant age on the date of the concert): Junior, Senior, and Undergraduate/Graduate

  • Junior: 14 years of age and below. Participants must not have reached their 15th birthday by May 19, 2024
  • Senior: 15 to 18 years of age. Participants must not have reached their 19th birthday by May 19, 2024
  • Undergraduate/Graduate: Current Undergraduate or Graduate Student. Must present valid student ID

Previous winners of the ACSO—YACC are not eligible to compete within consecutive years. The competition is open to US citizens, legal US residents and students with an INS visa who are residents of Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, or South Carolina. Applicants must include a signature of endorsement from their private teacher.


Each applicant must be available on Saturday February 10, 2024, Saturday May 18, 2024, and Sunday, May 19, 2024 to enter the competition.


All instrumentalists from each division must select a concert piece or single movement from the standard concerto repertoire or character piece with an orchestral accompaniment. Double and triple concertos are acceptable.

Music choices must be approved by the artistic director and all pieces must have full orchestration with score and parts available through IMSLP for use by the ACSO.

For more Information please contact: