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Piano competition moved to virtual format

Submitted Photo Pictured are 2019 Sorel competition winners and State University at Fredonia School of Music judges.

Applications are now open for the 2020 Claudette Sorel Piano Competition and Fellows Program at the State University at Fredonia School of Music.

The competition has been moved to a virtual format.

The competition and fellows’ program is open to talented young pianists, ages 15 to 18, of all nationalities.

Now in its fifth year, competition organizers have intentionally designed the competition to be a positive and welcoming experience, creating a space for participants to present their creative passion and vision in a nurturing environment.

The deadline for applications (which is to include a video) to apply for the competition and fellows’ program is Sept. 15; complete details are online. SUNY Fredonia students and previous Sorel first prize winners are ineligible.

First prize is a $2,500 cash award. All finalists will receive a copy of the judges’ written notes.

An additional $1,250 in cash awards will be awarded at the discretion of the judges. Past awards have included the Artistic Excellence Award, Best Chopin Award, Best Programming Award and Best Contemporary Piece Performance Award.

Judges will notify the top ten finalists by Oct. 1 and ask them to submit a new video, no longer than 15 minutes in length (from memory).

Final round competition videos will be streamed on Nov. 8, the original date of the campus-based competition, with Dr. Eliran Avni of the School of Music hosting, with winners announced live after all 10 finalist videos are shown.

Competition judges include School of Music faculty Dr. Avni, Fr. Sean Duggan, Dr. Anne Kissel and Dr. Nick Weiser.

Now in its second year, the Piano Fellows program, to be held virtually on Nov. 7 and 8, will be held in conjunction with the piano competition and is designed for talented pianists (ages 15-18) 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. It will include virtual one-on-one sessions with judges giving feedback about the video received and special topics sessions with Fredonia piano faculty. It is described as an excellent way to prepare for college/conservatory auditions.

The competition is named for pianist and SUNY Distinguished Professor Claudette Sorel, who taught at SUNY Fredonia for many years, 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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