Claudette Sorel Piano Competition & Fellows Program thumbnail

Claudette Sorel Piano Competition & Fellows Program

Start an Application or Free Interest Form

Narrow your Search

UPDATE: We regretfully announce that the 2024 Claudette Sorel Piano Competition & Fellows Program has been canceled, due to unforeseen circumstances. Future updates will be posted here. [posted March 19, 2024]

Follow us: IG @sorelpianocompetition

Claudette Sorel Piano Competition & Fellows Program
$8,000 total cash awards available

Choose your own repertoire!

The Claudette Sorel Piano Competition and Piano Fellows Program is open to talented high school 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.

$4,000 cash award
Video recording of performance
Copy of judges' written notes

Plus, an additional $4,000 in smaller awards available, at judges' discretion
(Examples of past awards: Artistic Excellence Award, Audience Choice, Best Programming, Best Performance of a Contemporary Piece)

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. One thing that makes the Sorel Competition unique is that there is no prescribed repertoire; rather, we are looking for unique and innovative programming that shows us who you are as a musician, and what repertoire you are passionate about. You will need to put some real thought into creating a program that stands out with an interesting and cohesive theme.

There are TWO rounds to the competition:

  • Preliminary Round takes place by video submission. Based on video submissions, judges will invite 10-12 finalists to compete in the LIVE Final Round. (scroll down for application requirements)
  • LIVE Final Round features in-person performances by finalists. The event is held on the SUNY Fredonia campus on Sunday, November 5, 2023. Applicants will be notified by October 1 if they have been selected to move on to the LIVE Final Round. International applicants are STRONGLY encouraged to get travel documents in order early to avoid problems.

For the LIVE Final Round, competitors will perform a 25-minute program of their choice, from memory. The repertoire is left to the discretion of the competitors and should show a strong thematic connection or idea.
For example:
  • A favorite composer: All Chopin program, all Beethoven, all Clara Schuman, etc.
  • A favorite time period: present music from the Romantic era, 2nd Viennese School, etc.
  • A favorite musical form: you could pick the prelude, for example, and present a group of different preludes by different composers: Bach, Debussy, Gershwin, and Rachmaninoff.
  • Unknown treasures: pick music by less-known composers whose music you really love. For example the music of Louise Farrenc or George Walker.
These are just examples ... we invite you to be creative! You will be asked to explain the overarching theme of your selected work(s) in your application.

Dr. Eliran Avni, competition director
Fr. Sean Duggan
Dr. Nick Weiser
Other judges TBA


Saturday, November 4 - Sunday, November 5, 2023
State University of New York at Fredonia School of Music
Fredonia, NY 14063

Held in conjunction with the piano competition, the Fellows Program is designed for talented high school 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. Preference will be given to those pianists who indicate an interest in pursuing piano studies at SUNY Fredonia.

Invited Fellows will attend on full tuition scholarship; limited travel stipends are available. Applicants must indicate financial need on their application to be considered for support.

Learn more

Fellows Program
This is a weekend-long, learning-intensive program that includes an individual lesson with a member of our faculty, performance coaching session, workshops on performance anxiety, practice techniques, Taubman technique, and more. Fellows have the opportunity to perform on an evening Fellows Recital, and get a behind-the-scenes experience at the Sorel Competition. Preference will be given to those Fellows who indicate an interest in pursuing piano studies at SUNY Fredonia, and will choose a track of interest (performance, music education, music therapy, sound recording technology, composition, jazz). Activities will be tailored to individual interests. 

(for both Competition AND Fellows Program):

  • Submit 10 minutes of high-quality video. Repertoire to be chosen by you. Competitors are strongly encouraged to submit two contrasting works (style, tempi, mood, etc). You can submit excerpt(s) of your chosen piece(s), for a total of 10 minutes
  • Video and audio quality matters; please submit the highest quality video possible.
  • All music must be performed from memory (an exemption MAY be granted for contemporary works; written advance notice from Dr. Eliran Avni is required)
  • A short biography (must be 125-150 words), which may be used in competition promotions and/or printed program.
  • Explanation of your chosen program's theme: Why did you choose this recital program? What is the overarching theme?
  • Headshot (does not need to be professional, but WILL be used in publicity materials)
  • Photo/video release form
  • One-time application fee ($60 competition; $30 fellows)
Application Deadline: September 15, 2023

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).
  • There are currently no restrictions due to Covid, however, this is subject to change.

Additional details and requirements may be found under Resources.
Questions? Email us:

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