Sorel Finalist

The Claudette Sorel Piano Competition & Piano Fellows Program

2023 Application Opens June 15th!

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

About the Competition:

  • Application opens June 15, 2023
  • Application closes September 15, 2023
  • LIVE Final Round: Sunday, November 5, 2023

There are 2 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 details)

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 as a finalist. (scroll down for details)

Important note for international applicants:
You will be notified by October 1 if you are invited to the Final Round. We strongly encourage international applicants to begin paperwork EARLY, as passport and visa processing times are taking longer than normal. 


  • $8,000 cash prizes available

  • First Place $4,000 cash award

  • An additional $4,000 cash smaller awards available

  • Finalists will receive a copy of the judges' written comments

  • Finalists will receive a video recording of their live performance

  • LIVE Final Round will be livestreamed

Saturday & Sunday, November 4 & 5, 2023
SUNY Fredonia campus (Fredonia, NY)

The Piano Fellows Program is designed specifically for high school pianists who may not yet be ready for the competition circuit, but are looking for an exceptional experience to grow as a musician, feel more prepared for auditions, and meet other young pianists. Students who are interested in pursuing piano studies at Fredonia will be given priority consideration, and activities will include: lessons, master classes/workshops, performance coaching, social time, college search process info session, behind the scenes access to the Sorel Competition, and more. Our Fellows Program is tuition-free. Personal expenses (travel, food, etc) are the responsibility of the Fellows, however limited travel funding is available (please inquire for details).

The Fellows Program is an excellent opportunity for young pianists to begin exploring possible career tracks in (and out) of music. Fellows may indicate if they are interested in a particular field, and sessions will be tailored to individual interests. Choose from: Performance, Music Education, Music Therapy, Composition, Sound Recording Technology, Jazz, and more. (see application for details)

  Sample Activities (subject to change)
  • Individual lessons with Dr. Eliran Avni and Fr. Sean Duggan
  • Performance coaching 
  • Workshops on managing stress, performance anxiety, practice technique, Taubman technique, etc
  • Individual practice time
  • Special topics: careers in music and beyond (choose from Performance, Music Education, Music Therapy, Composition, Sound Recording, Jazz, and more)
  • Parent session: Choosing the right college
  • Social time & Lunch with other Fellows
  • Fellows Recital (optional)
  • Sorel Competition: Behind the scenes
  • Attend competition & closing reception




The application requirements are the same for both the Competition and Fellows Program.

Repertoire: There are NO specific repertoire requirements. Applicants choose their own repertoire (see notes below)

Age: all applicants must currently be in high school, with a minimum age of 15 and maximum age of 18 AT THE TIME OF COMPETITION FINAL ROUND (Sunday, November 5, 2023)

Application process:

  • Submit a 10-minute, 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. (Note: if you are playing a contemporary work, you MAY be eligible to use music, however you MUST get advance, written approval from Dr. Eliran Avni, competition director)
  • a short biography (minimum 100 words; maximum 125 words), which may be used in event promotions and/or printed program (please proofread!)
  • 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)

Competition LIVE Final Round:

We want to know what you love about piano performance, and what you have to offer the world through your music. For that reason, invited Finalists will be asked to submit a written explanation of the overarching theme of their selected work(s), to give us a better understanding of who you are as a musician. Please be thoughtful and intentional about the theme you choose, as it will be taken into consideration during the deliberation process.

Examples of themes are:

  • 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.

The above are just ideas, please feel free to be creative!

    Application Deadline: September 15


    • All Finalists and Fellows MUST have a car/rental car for local ground transportation. Taxis and Ubers are not readily available. We cannot stress this enough! You must have a car. 
    • Students currently enrolled at the State University of New York at Fredonia are ineligible to apply.
    • Previous Claudette Sorel Piano Competition First Place 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).

    (note: applications are processed through
    Questions? Email Dr. Eliran Avni, competition director (

    Congratulations to our 2022 Winners!

    First Prize of $4,000: Zarin Mehta, 15 (Chicago, IL)

    2022 Winner, Zarin Mehta

    Additional prizes:
    Audience Choice Award ($1,000): Helaine Zhao, 16 (Irvine, CA)
    Performance of a Contemporary Piece Award ($1,500): Helaine Zhao, 16 (Irvine, CA)
    Creative Programming Award ($500): Luyao "Zachary" Guo, 16 (Darien, CT)
    Jury Discretion Award ($500): David Choi, 15 (Los Angeles, CA)
    Performance of Chopin's Polonaise, Op. 44 Award ($500): Xiaozhou Xu, 17 (New York, NY)

    Finalists with judges2022 Sorel Finalists, Fellows, and judges


    Claudette Sorel

    The competition is named for pianist and SUNY Distinguished Professor Claudette Sorel and is supported by a foundation she founded. The Sorel Organization intends to create opportunities for women in composition, conducting, piano, voice and film scoring and to keep musical excellence alive while expanding the boundaries for women in music.


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    Congratulations to our 2022 Winners:

    First Prize Winner: 
    Zarin Mehta, 15 (Chicago, IL) - $4,000

    Special Prize Winners:
    Audience Choice Award ($1,000): Helaine Zhao, 16 (Irvine, CA)
    Performance of a Contemporary Piece Award ($1,500): Helaine Zhao, 16 (Irvine, CA)
    Creative Programming Award ($500): Luyao "Zachary" Guo, 16 (Darien, CT)
    Jury Discretion Award ($500): David Choi, 15 (Los Angeles, CA)
    Performance of Chopin's Polonaise, Op. 44 Award ($500): Xiaozhou Xu, 17 (New York, NY)

    • Jeslyn Cai, 17 (Spokane, WA)
    • Munan Cheng , 15 (San Jose, CA)
    • David Choi, 15 (Los Angeles, CA)
    • Zhong An Feng, 16 (Hong Kong, China)
    • Fanxing Gao, 17 (Guiping City, China)
    • Luyao "Zachary" Guo, 16 (Darien, CT)
    • Megan Lo, 15 (Ontario, Canada)
    • Zarin Mehta, 15 (Chicago, IL)
    • Haruki Takeuchi, 16 (Knoxville, TN)
    • Xiaozhou Xu, 17 (New York, NY)
    • Yuka Yang, 17 (Germantown, TN)
    • Natalie Yu, 15 (Ontario, Canada)
    • Helaine Zhao, 16 (Irvine, CA)
    • Jingyuan Zheng, 15 (Ardmore, PA)

    In-Person Fellows:

    • Anthony Ayer, 16 (Maine)
    • Adeline Chunton, 15 (New York)
    • Paul Di Folco, 17 (New York)
    • Isaac Goldstein, 16 (Washington)
    • Sophie Lee, 15 (California)
    • Elliot Massé-Dumoulin, 16 (Québec)
    • Collin Parker-Szekely, 16 (Pennsylvania)
    • Manny Rose, 15 (New York)
    • Madison Sheffield, 17 (Ohio)
    • Emma Wu, 16 (New York)

    Online Fellows:

    • Said Araiza, 16 (Mexico)
    • William Balz, 15 (Massachusetts)
    • Aubrey Chang, 15 (California)
    • Oliver Corro, 15 (California)
    • Valeria Fernandez, 17 (Spain)
    • Georgiana Grecu, 18 (England)
    • Mihilo Kato, 16 (California)
    • Diana Reig, 16 (New Jersey)
    • Owen Reyda, 16 (New York)
    • Abhishek Sharath, 17 (India)
    • Gabrielle Yannotta, 15 (New Jersey)

    Congratulations to our 2021 Winners:

    First Prize Co-Winners:
    Hyeonuk Park(16) of Lexington, MA
    Jonathan Zheng (15) of Northeast Bellevue, WA

    Special Prize Winners:
    Emma Tio (16) of San Gabriel, CA received the Special Bach Award
    Celine Chen (17) of Valencia, CA received the Special Debussy Award
    Ian Cannon (16) received the Audience Choice Award

    2021 Finalists (in alphabetical order):

    Ian Cannon (16) from Texas
    Celine Chen (17) from California
    Julian Frank (17) from Washington
    Matan Gur Nelson (15) from Israel
    Anthony Lee (16) from Massachusetts
    Sammi Li (17) from New Jersey
    Angelina Ning (17) from Florida
    Hyeonuk Park (16) from Massachusetts
    Emma Tio (16) from California
    Kevin Wang (16) from Canada
    Yuka Yang (16) from Tennessee
    Maria Adele Zampa (17) from Switzerland
    Jonathan Zheng (15) from Washington

    2021 Fellows (in alphabetical order):

    Sergio Acelas, 17 (FL)
    Brody Ajemian, 16 (NY)
    Andrew Allen, 15 (OK)
    Elías Betancourt Taborda, 17 (Colombia)
    Samuel Burnitz, 16 (FL)
    Jose Manuel Carrera Grammatikos, 18 (México)
    Matthew Chen, 16 (NY)
    Mehana Ellis, 16 (CA)
    Ellen Foreman, 16 (TX)
    Isaac Goldstein, 14 (WA)
    Nelyam Gutierrez Mustelier, 17 (Spain)
    Tristen Guzman, 16 (IL)
    Gabrielle Hrung, 17 (NJ)
    Anna Hsu, 16 (NY)
    Mia Ionov, 15 (CA)
    Anirudh Iyer, 16 (CA)
    Sean Li, 17 (NY)
    Rohan Malik, 16 (NY)
    Spencer McKee, 16 (FL)
    Inez Meraz-Lerma, 17 (CA)
    Liam Noronha, 16 (Canada)
    Giselle Pedraza, 17 (TX)
    Alexander Pepi, 15 (TX)
    Makayla Press, 17 (NY)
    Owen Reyda, 15 (NY)
    Zev Roytburd-Sharlot, 15 (NJ)
    Johnathan Sun, 17 (MD)
    Alvin Wang, 15 (CA)
    Salem Wang, 16 (MI)
    Kate Wexell, 17 (IL)
    Ziyue Zeng, 15 (CA)
    Mofei Zhu, 14 (NY)


    Claudette Sorel Piano Competition & Fellows Program

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