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Claudette Sorel Piano Competition

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2021 Claudette Sorel Piano Competition & Fellows Program

The Claudette Sorel Piano Competition, now in its sixth year, and Piano Fellows Program are open to talented young pianists, ages 15-18, of all nationalities. We are looking for talented young pianists with great artistic vision who are passionate about piano performance and repertoire ... is that you? This is your time to shine.

We look forward to returning to a LIVE, In-Person Final Round this year! Please note: We are required to follow any/all guidelines and restrictions pertaining to COVID-19, including (but not limited to): masks, social distancing, and vaccination status. We will update this page regularly and communicate with all applicants as more information becomes available.

Competition Final Round: Sunday, November 7, 2021
LIVE, In-Person
Juliet J. Rosch Recital Hall, State University of New York at Fredonia
Fredonia, New York
Application deadline: September 15, 2021

  • FIRST PRIZE:  $2,500 cash award and copy of judges' written notes
  • Up to $1,250 additional cash awards will be awarded at the discretion of judges. (Examples of past awards: Artistic Excellence Award, Best Bach Award, Best Performance of a Contemporary Piece)
All Finalists will receive a recording of the live performance, and a copy of the judges' written notes

We have intentionally designed our competition to be a uniquely positive and welcoming experience, creating a space for participants to present their creative passion and vision in a nurturing environment. For the Final Round, competitors will perform a 15-minute (max) program of their choice, from memory. The repertoire for this stage, as in previous competitions, is left to the discretion of the competitors but should show a thematic connection or idea, such as a favorite composer, period, thematic connection, etc. [For details, please see Resources.].

COMPETITION JUDGES: Fr. Sean Duggan, Brian Preston, Beverly Smoker, and Eliran Avni

Saturday, November 6 - Sunday, November 7, 2021
[note: We will invite a limited number of In-Person Fellows, as well as Online Fellows]
Fellows will attend on full scholarship. 

Piano Fellows will be considered for the James Horbett Memorial Piano Fellow Scholarship, a $2,500 scholarship awarded to a Fredonia Piano Fellow for piano study at SUNY Fredonia.

We are excited to offer the Piano Fellows program in both an In-Person and Online format this year.  Held in conjunction with the piano competition, the Fellows Program is designed for talented pianists (ages 15-18) who are serious about their craft and are looking for an intensive musical experience, but who may not yet be ready for the competition circuit. There is NO FEE to participate as a Piano Fellow.

In-Person Fellows
In-Person Fellows will have an individual lesson with a member of our faculty/judge panel, attend afternoon workshops and master classes, perform in a Fellows Recital, have a behind-the-scenes experience at the Sorel Competition, and be invited to be part of the ongoing online Fellows community. 

Online Fellows
Online Fellows will attend afternoon workshops and master classes via Zoom, watch the Fellows Recital livestream, watch the Sorel Competition livestream, and be invited to be part of the ongoing online Fellows community.

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS (for both Competition AND Fellows Program):

  • high-quality video/s of a performance/s of a piece/s you are passionate about totaling no less than 7 minutes and no longer 10 minutes. [You can submit, for ex., minutes 2:00-7:00 of piece A and minutes 4:00-9:00 of piece B. The total will still be ten minutes.] Competitors are strongly encouraged to submit two contrasting works (style, tempi, mood, etc).
  • video and audio quality matters; please submit the highest quality video possible.
  • all music must be performed from memory. 
  • a short biography (100 word limit), which may be used in competition promotions and/or printed program.
  • answers to three short questions: Why are you passionate about the piano? Why did you choose this recital program? What composers do you like to perform?
  • Headshot (does not need to be professional, but WILL be used in publicity materials)
  • Photo/video release form
  • one-time $30 application fee

Application Deadline: September 15, 2021

Please note:
  • Students currently enrolled at the State University of New York at Fredonia are ineligible to apply.
  • Previous Claudette Sorel Piano Competition First Prize Winners are ineligible to apply.
  • Individuals with professional management and active performance careers are ineligible to apply.
  • Anyone enrolled/attending conservatory/college/university is ineligible to apply (even if they meet age criteria).

Additional details and requirements may be found under Resources.
Questions? Email Dr. Eliran Avni, competition director (

For technical questions please check out our Help Desk for frequently asked questions.