Sorel Finalist

The Claudette Sorel Piano Competition & Piano Fellows Program

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

Congratulations to our 2023 Winners!

First Prize of $4,000: Anna Bray (16; Sterling, VA)

Anna Bray

Additional prizes:
Audience Choice Award ($1,000): Celicia Thendean (15; Pleasanton, CA)
Outstanding Program Award ($1,000): Celicia Thendean (15; Pleasanton, CA)
Outstanding Program Award ($1,000): David Fu (15; Delmar, NY)
Best Performance of a Contemporary Piece Award ($500): Kevin Wang (18; Ontario, Canada)

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 (video submission): 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. Based on video submissions,  judges will invite 10-12 finalists to compete in the LIVE Final Round.

LIVE Final Round features in-person performances by invited 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. Finalists 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. (scroll down for examples)

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 2023 Guest Clinician:
Eva Cappelletti-Chao, professional violinist and Certified Life Coach
View interview with Dr. Eliran Avni

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
  • Social time & Lunch with other Fellows
  • Fellows Recital 
  • 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 120 words; maximum 150 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. If you are invited as a Finalist in the LIVE Final Round, you will prepare a 25-minute program, from memory, of a program of your choosing.  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!

2023 Judges:

  • Eliran Avni
  • Sean Duggan
  • Elier Suárez
  • Shirley Chan
  • Nick Weiser
  • Alison d'Amato

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 (



Claudette Sorel

The Elizabeth & Michel Sorel Charitable Organization Inc. is a 501©(3) private foundation, established in 1996 by Claudette Sorel and named for her parents. The American pianist and educator was a passionate advocate for women in the arts. The mission of The Sorel Organization is to expand opportunities and stretch the boundaries for women musicians in the fields of conducting, composition, film scoring, performance, arts leadership, education, and scholarship.


Please add a description of this image.


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

Take the next step