Initially organized in 1932, as the Orange County Chapter of Musical Arts Club, the original objective was to establish a rapport among performing and teaching colleagues. During the late 1940's, a competition for piano, organ and voice students became an annual event. It has continued to develop through the years, with the organ category being replaced with the instrumental divisions.
In 1974, Musical Arts Club of Orange Count was incorporated as a non-profit corporation, which invests all proceeds in an endowment fund, a legacy left by one of the founders, Clarence Gustlin. It accepts donations to this fund for investment only, with the interest used to increase the annual awards.
The organization officially changed its name to Musical Arts Competition of Orange County in 2011.
In 2016, over 250 students who reside in Southern California or study with teachers from Southern California, competed in Classical Piano, Classical Voice, Vocal Musical Theater, Strings, and Woodwinds divisions. Selected winners are presented in a recital at the Richard M. Nixon Library in Yorba Linda.
Many participants from past auditions have established successful careers in music on the performance stage, within the recording and film industry, in composition, music publishing and teaching. We are proud of those who participate in our auditions and the teachers who prepare them.