Sorel Competition finalist and School of Music judges (from left) Micah Leary, Ami Hatori, Adam Foreman, Jarod Yap, Jordan Gaskin, Charlie Liu, Raymond Feng, Thomas Flynn, Fr. Sean Duggan, Jimmy Berger, Dr. Eliran Avni, Phyllis East, Maddelena Ohrbach and Mary Marden Cobb.
The Fredonia School of Music has announced Jimmy Berger and Raymond Feng as the winners of the inaugural Claudette Sorel Piano Competition, held in the Juliet J. Rosch Recital Hall on Feb. 26.
Ten finalists were selected from a group of talented young pianists, ages 15 to 18, based on an online first round of the competition. Each pianist selected a program of no more than 15 minutes to perform for Fredonia School of Music judges and live audience. Finalists included Adam Foreman, age 15, from Franklin, Pa.; Mr. Berger, age 17, from Buffalo; Ami Hatori, age 16, from Leola, Pa.; Micah Leary, age 17, from Eden; Mr. Feng, age 15, from Pittsford; Jarod Yap, age 17, from Clarence Center; Thomas Flynn, age 17, from Flemington, N.J.; Jordan Gaskin, age 18, from Williamsville; Charlie Liu, age 16, from Princeton, N.J., and Maddalena Ohrbach, age 16, from Getzille.
The judges included piano faculty members Dr. Eliran Avni, Fr. Sean Duggan, Mary Marden Cobb, and Phyllis East. “This is an event designed to celebrate the creativity and excellence of young pianists,” said Fr. Duggan. “It is named in honor of Fredonia piano professor emeritus, Claudette Sorel, and is generously supported by the Sorel Organization. We are truly grateful to them for making this competition possible.”
First Prize was split between Berger and Feng. Each received $1,250 cash, and time in the Fredonia recording studios with a sound recording technician.
The judges also awarded three special prizes at $500 each. The Best Contemporary Work prize went to Mr. Liu for his performance of the first movement of Carl Vine’s Piano Sonata No. 1. He is a student of Ingrid Clarfield. The Most Creative Programming Award went to Mr. Yap, who performed Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in E flat minor, Fazil “Say’s Black Earth,” and Scriabin’s Etude in D sharp minor, Op. 8, No. 12. He is a student of Mary Handley. The Best Beethoven Prize went to Ms. Hatori for her performance of Beethoven’s Sonata No. 21 in C major, Op. 53 (“Waldstein”). She is a student of Marvin Blickenstaff.
“We were impressed with all of the performers,” commented Dr. Avni. “Each young artist has something valuable to offer and we encourage them all to continue their hard work, refining their skills and artistry. This was an exciting first year of the Sorel Competition, and we look forward to meeting many more talented young pianists in the coming years.
”The next Claudette Sorel Piano Competition is slated for Nov. 6.
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