Your support of WDNA is a tax-deductible investment in preserving the future of America's classical music - jazz.

MDJF 2018 Jazz Piano Competition

Guidelines and Entry Form below

Guidelines and Entry Form below

WDNA 88.9FM Public Radio will produce the 2018 Miami Downtown Jazz Festival on April 26-28, 2018, three days of music in several outdoor and indoor locations in Downtown Miami with outstanding local, regional, national and international artists. In this second edition of the festival it gives us great pleasure to host the first Jazz Piano Competition open to Miami-Dade, Broward, Monroe, and Palm Beach County musicians ages 11-25. 

The winner will be the opening act at the Olympia Theater on Friday, April 27th that features NEA Jazz Master Dr. Lonnie Smith and vocalist Kurt Elling.


Competition Objectives

  • Increase the exposure, interest and enjoyment of jazz music to a wide range of the music audience in all age groups, with particular focus on exposure to young persons.
  • Motivate young jazz pianists to study and further develop their careers in Jazz.
  • Demonstrate the inherent artistic qualities of jazz as a unique and imaginative musical genre with its origins in America.

Eligibility for the Competition

  • Open to Miami-Dade, Broward, Monroe, and Palm Beach County musicians ages 11-25.
  • Travel and accommodation are the responsibility of the contestants.
  • By entering the competition, competitor commits to his/her availability to perform on any of mentioned dates in order to fulfill their possible contractual agreements with WDNA.


  • First Place Winner $500
  • Second & Third Place Winners $200
  • In addition to the award, the competition winner will perform in the Miami Downtown Jazz Festival on Friday, April 27, 2018. Performance by the winner on this day is required, as the cash award will be provided at the conclusion of the performance.
  • Each finalist will receive four complimentary Miami Downtown Jazz Festival passes for Friday, April 27 and Saturday April 28, 2018.


  • Competition applicants must no more than three songs, completed application form, biography, and photo.
  • Entries must be submitted by Thursday, March 1, 2018 at 11:59pm EST.
  • Please submit a clean, high-quality recording (judges will only listen to the audio). A poor recording and distracting background noise can overshadow an excellent performance and will result in immediate disqualification. Name each mp3 with lastname_firstname_title of tune.
  • Indicate the name and composer of each song on the registration form, including such genres as blues, ballad, and up-tempo/swing, etc
  • Make sure the form and melody are recognizable.
  • Include at least one solo piece and two pieces with a rhythm section (acoustic, bass and drums only). No strings, horn sections, vocalists, etc.
  • Indicate any special instructions on the application regarding playback.
  • Demonstrate your knowledge of jazz and your ability to play it.
  • Choose a medley of songs that illustrate your taste and talent.
  • Original pieces are acceptable. Recordings should not exceed 20 minutes in length.
  • Please do not state your name on the recording. Any such recording will be disqualified.

Finals:  Three finalists will be selected and scheduled to appear in Miami as follows:

  • Wednesday, March 28, 2018 – each finalist will play a 3-tune set (approximately 25 minutes) with a Miami professional rhythm section in the WDNA Jazz Gallery

Legal Notice

The jury’s decision will be completed in private and will be announced on February 15, 2018. Jury will not be advised name of competitor. The Artist (competitor) accepts that the jury’s decisions are final and that no appeal is possible. WDNA will not be held responsible due to unforeseen circumstances and/or if the competition is modified, postponed or cancelled. Any dispute relating to the interpretation, execution or non-execution of the present regulations will be subject to United States law.

Recording Rights

WDNA or its successor has the right to record the sound (the “Audio Recording”) and visuals (the “Video Recording”) of all Artists’ (competitors) performances during the competition and at any other venues concerning the WDNA 2018 Miami Downtown Jazz Festival Piano Competition now and in the future and to exploit the same, without payment of any compensation to Artist, for all forms of television and radio, Internet streaming (including free on-demand streaming) and on any kind of commercial audio device or commercial audiovisual device now known or hereafter developed.

WDNA or its successors has the right to use Artists (competitors) name and likeness, as well as the right to use the “Audio Recording” and the” Video Recording” for the promotion of the American Jazz Pianist Competition.

We look forward to reviewing your application for the 2018 Miami Downtown Jazz Festival Piano Competition.  Please direct any questions on the competition to

Applications must reach us by no later than Thursday, March 1, 2018 at 11:59 pm.