Fredonia School of Music Launches Claudette Sorel Piano Competition for Young Pianists



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State University of New York at Fredonia

The inaugural Claudette Sorel Piano Competition, an event designed to celebrate the creativity and excellence of young pianists, will be held by the School of Music at the State University of New York at Fredonia in February 2017.

Named in honor of the late SUNY Distinguished Professor and Fredonia Professor Emeritus Claudette Sorel, the competition is generously supported by the Sorel Organization and offers a $2,500 cash first prize and $1,500 in additional prize money. The application deadline is Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017.

The competition will consist of two rounds and is open to young artists, age 15 to 18, who are passionate about piano performance and repertoire. In the first round, participants submit the online entry form (there is no fee to apply) and provide a link to a high-quality video of a piece they are passionate about, approximately five to eight minutes in length.

Those selected as finalists will be asked to prepare a program of no longer than 15 minutes that demonstrates their artistic vision, such as works of a specific composer, known or unknown, a thematic connection between works or an original way of presenting the music.

The final round, which is open to the public, will begin at noon on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017. Each finalist will play a 15-minute recital in Juliet J. Rosch Recital Hall in Mason Hall on the Fredonia campus. A reception will be held immediately following the performances, giving finalists the opportunity to receive feedback from the judges. Winners will also be announced at the reception.

Judges for the competition are Eliran Avni, Mary Cobb and Fr. Sean Duggan, all members of the School of Music faculty, and Professor Emeritus Phyllis East.

In addition to the $2,500 cash award, the first place recipient will receive studio time with a sound recording technician and a half-hour of recording time. An additional $1,500 in Sorel cash prizes will be awarded in the following categories: Best J.S. Bach Performance, Best Contemporary Work Performance and Most Creative Programming. All finalists will receive a recording of the competition.

The concept for the competition came from Mr. Avni, Fredonia’s newest piano faculty member, who is also a member of the acclaimed chamber ensemble, SHUFFLE.

“The Fredonia School of Music believes in nurturing young talent and original voices. We are happy to partner with the Sorel Organization to honor Claudette’s contributions to the piano world, and to shine a light on young pianists who are passionate about performing, committed to creating original programming, and enthusiastic about finding new ways of communicating with their audience,” Avni said.

“Fredonia boasts a beautiful recital hall and a fantastic Steinway…we are excited to find fresh, new talent to perform for us,” Avni added.

Claudette Sorel Piano Competition details and registration are available online at

Questions may be directed via email to Avni at