Sorel Piano Competition finalists set to perform at Fredonia

Friday November 1, 2019Roger Coda
Sorel competition finalists

The 10 finalists in the 2019 Claudette Sorel Piano Competition, who hail from seven U.S. states and two foreign countries, will perform in the live final round on Sunday, Nov. 3.

The final round is slated for from noon to 4 p.m. in the Juliet J. Rosch Recital Hall and is free and open to the public. It will also be live streamed.

"We are overjoyed to have this fiercely talented group of young musicians come share their talent with us," said Eliran Avni, competition director and assistant professor of piano in the Fredonia School of Music.

The finalists are: Lucas Amory, 17, (New York City); Stephanie Draughon, 16, (Ashburn, Va.); Ben Kim, 16, (Milton, Mass.); Emmanuel LaForest, 18, (Quebec, Canada); Katie Liu, 16, (Pittsburgh, Pa.); Bezkat Rakymov, 17, (Almaty, Kazakhstan); Perren-Luc Thiessen, 16, (McKinney, Texas); Madison Yan, 15, (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.); Sean Yang, 18, (Nashville, Tenn.) and Charlie Zhang, 16, (Dallas, Texas). They were chosen from a record pool of applicants.

The Sorel competition is designed for talented pianists, ages 15 to 18. Each finalist will present a program, from memory, of no longer than 15 minutes, that demonstrates an artistic vision, a thematic connection between works or an original way of presenting music. A cash award of $2,500 will be presented to the winner.

This year's event is dedicated to the memory of a dear friend and supporter of the School of Music, Judy Cope, a fierce advocate for musicians everywhere and the person who made the Claudette Sorel Piano Competition a reality.

Sorel Piano Fellows program introduces first class

Four students enrolled in the new Sorel Piano Fellows program, held in conjunction with the Sorel competition, will participate in a weekend of activities that include a master class, individual lessons, behind-the-scenes competition experience and an evening recital performance. Each student will present a selection of his/her choice, lasting seven-to-eight minutes, in Rosch on Saturday, Nov. 2, at 8 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

The four fellows are: Sophia Cornicello, 15, (West Hartford, Conn); Avtandyl Kharchilava,16, (Getzville); Aaron Dorf, 18, (Augusta, Wis.) and Nathan Napier, 16, (Amherst, N.Y.).

The fellows program provides an intensive musical experience to talented pianists 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.

Portions of the fellows program were made possible by generous support by the Robert Jordan Piano Scholarship and Distinguished Lectureship established through the Fredonia College Foundation.

Now in its fourth year at Fredonia, the Sorel competition is named for the former Fredonia piano teacher and SUNY Distinguished Professor Claudette Sorel, and is supported by a foundation she founded. The Sorel Organization creates opportunities for women in composition, conducting, piano, voice and film scoring, keeping musical excellence alive while expanding the boundaries for women in music.

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