Competition Rules

  1. The competition is open to young pianists ages 13 to 18 as determined by the competitor's age as of July 14, 2018, and who have not won one of the top three prizes in a previous Cooper competition, and who is not currently enrolled in Oberlin College.
  2. All announced prizes will be awarded.
  3. Contestants must assume financial responsibility for travel to and from Cleveland. Complimentary shuttles between the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and Oberlin are provided. Be sure to check the schedule. Private shuttles are also available at your own expense.
  4. The signing of the acceptance agreement will constitute acceptance by the contestant of all rules and regulations.
  5. Between 25 and 35 contestants will be accepted to participate in the competition. Their names will be announced to the public and posted on the Cooper competition website. Listing will include hometown, age, and repertoire.
  6. All decisions of the jury will be final and not subject to questions, revisions, or appeal.
  7. Prizes are subject to U.S. income tax laws.Checks to be mailed after the Competition.
  8. All works are to be performed from memory and in their entirety.
  9. Participants are expected to perform the works listed on the application form. This repertoire will appear in the competition booklet and website. Any substitutions of repertoire must be received by June 1.
  10. The competition will consist of five separate rounds: Semifinal Round I (all competitors); Semifinal Round II (15-20 competitors); Concerto Round (10 contestants); Recital Finals (six contestants); Concerto Finals (three contestants).
  11. Performance order for the competition will be determined by a drawing on Thursday, July 12 at 7pm that must be attended by all candidates.
  12. Jury members will not make contact with contestants, their teachers or their parents while such contestant is continuing to compete.
  13. Any jury member who has taught a contestant regularly within the last three years, or who will teach a contestant in the immediate future, or who has a family relationship with a contestant, must abstain from voting on that contestant. Jury members may also waive their vote for personal or professional reasons. All declarations of abstentions will be made the night before the competition begins and will be maintained throughout the competition.
  14. All judging will be by numerical scoring without discussion and submitted to the jury chair.
  15. If any unexpected situations arise in the execution of these guidelines, the executive director will resolve such situations.


The competition is open to young pianists ages 13 to 18 by July 14, 2018, and who have not won one of the top three prizes in previous Cooper competitions.

Prospective competitors must submit:

  • A letter of recommendation from their current teachers
  • An entrance fee of $100
  • The completed application form which includes proof of age (birth certificate, driver's license, or passport), a 50 to 250-word biography, high-resolution photo (300 dpi) - head and shoulders only please, competition repertoire and YouTube links to video recordings as per below.

    APPLICATION LINK: https://oberlin.wufoo.com/forms/cooper-international-competition-2018-piano/

  • A video recording of the following three works:

    Each work may be recorded separately but must be unedited.
    Please provide YouTube links to your video recordings in the space provided on the application.

    1. The first movement of a sonata by Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, or Schubert
    2. A virtuoso etude by Chopin, Liszt, Debussy, or Rachmaninoff
    3. Any work of the applicant's choice

All application materials must be submitted by April 15, 2018. Invitations to compete in Oberlin will be sent by May 1.