This year is the 30th anniversary of the Frances Walton Competition, which will amass some of the best young musicians from around the world in Magnolia.

After a full day of solo and ensemble performances, the winners will put on a free concert, and then come back for a fall outreach tour.

“It’s a fantastic concert,” said Lynn Muehleisen, past president of the Ladies Musical Club of Seattle. “Every year it absolutely knocks my socks off.”

The Ladies Musical Club of Seattle was founded in 1891, and is the oldest music nonprofit in Washington.

Frances Walton started the competition 30 years ago to highlight talented musicians, and it’s grown to include competitors from around the 19 western states. A number of competitors with an address in those states are international students and performers, Muehleisen said.

“We’ve had winners from China, Australia, all over Europe, South Korea, so it’s really become an international competition in its stature,” she said.

The 30th Frances Walton Competition will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 1, at the Magnolia Lutheran Church, 2414 31st Ave. W. A free concert will follow at 7:30 p.m.

Narrowing down the 15 solo and two ensemble finalists that will head to Seattle for the competition starts with LMC members judging recorded submissions.

“That first round is blind,” Muehleisen said. “We do not know who we’re judging, we just have recordings.”

The club recruits new judges for the finals every year, she said, including artists from Seattle Symphony, college professors around the qualifying states and other musicians with bios as impressive as the finalists.

“That’s hard sometimes, that’s hard to get,” she said.

The competition page and finalists will be posted at The competition will also be free and open to the public.

“We just want to pack out the church, it’s such a great opportunity,” Muehleisen said.

Frances Walton Competition winners receive a $3,500 prize they can use to buy new instruments, participate in other competitions or further their music education. They also return in September for three outreach tours that includes free concerts and school visits in communities across the Puget Sound region, Eastern Washington and Western Washington.

The four solo and one ensemble winners also perform a set for the KING-FM classical music station.

“They tell me when they see it’s a Frances Walton winner they’re not worried about the quality,” Muehleisen said.

Walton is 91 now, and still plays the cello.

“We wanted to do that for Frances, because she is amazing and will probably outlive us all,” Muehleisen said of naming the competition in her honor.

The Frances Walton Competition is one of three LMC programs. Music in Schools provides music education and performance opportunities in underserved K-8 schools in Seattle. The nonprofit’s all-women, all-musician members perform around 60 concerts in the Puget Sound region between October and May.