Renée B. Fisher Competition

The Forty-Third Annual Renée B. Fisher Competition for Young Pianists Virtual Winners Concert and Awards Presentation. 
See performances of Great Piano Masterworks by 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners in Elementary/Middle School and High School Divisions.

The winners of the 2020 Renée B. Fisher Competition:
  • 1st Prize (tie): Jason Nguyen (student of Malgosia Lis)
  • 1st Prize (tie): Carter Bryan (student of Victoria Reeve)
  • 2nd Prize: Benjamin Wang (student of Elaine Silbereis)
  • Honorable Mention: Seorin Kim (student of Sylvia Chambless)
  • Best Performance of Commissioned Work: Hudson Shi (student of Elaine Silbereis)
  • 1st Prize: Sophia Cornicello (student of Elaine Silbereis)
  • 2nd Prize: Oswald Tang (student of Angelina Gadeliya)
  • 3rd Prize: Ayushman Choudhury (student of Rebecca Calissi)
  • Best Performance of Commissioned Work: Sophia Cornicello (student of Elaine Silbereis)  


The Renée B. Fisher Competition aims to nurture the growth and development of young pianists, reward them for outstanding achievement in the classical repertoire and encourage them to acquaint themselves with, and to perform, contemporary music.


Applicants must currently live or study in Connecticut. Winners must commit to perform in the concert on Saturday, May 8, 2021, at 7:30 p.m. The Competition has two levels: Elementary/Middle School (through grade 8) and High School (through grade 12). An elementary/middle school student may compete in the high school division. Former first prize winners may not enter the same division again. All other former prize winners may re-enter the competition, but may not perform repertoire previously submitted.

Application procedure
Download Application here.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE: Four items are required from each applicant:

1. Completed application form, including supplementary information sheet.
2. Non-refundable application fee of $50, by check, made payable to Neighborhood Music School. (Please note “Renée B. Fisher Competition” on the memo line.)
3. Letter of recommendation from applicant’s current piano teacher.
4. A working private link to a recording (for ex. SoundCloud) of unedited performances by applicant of two solo pieces from contrasting periods. These works need not be part of the repertoire for the Competition. Concerti are not acceptable. No video recording will be accepted. Make sure links to the audio recording will work for any member of the public. It is the responsibility of the applicant to be sure the link is playable.

Commissioned work

A special feature of the Renée B. Fisher Competition is the commissioning of two works, one for each division. These works are written specifically for the competition and by composers chosen competitively by a special committee of the Competition. These are required pieces, designed to introduce students to living composers and their work and to be premiered at the Winners’ Concert. Scores are available upon request to the coordinator via e-mail or phone only after October 26, 2020. *Contact info below.

The Competition
The commissioned work may be played from the score. All other repertoire must be performed from memory. No transcriptions or concerti are permitted. Duration: elementary/middle school division, 15 minutes; high school division, 20 minutes. Winners Concert: Sunday, April 11, 2021 at Neighborhood Music School.

Repertoire for elementary/middle school division:
1. Commissioned Work: Web and Wings by Kari Cruver Medina
2. Baroque work (e.g., Bach, Handel, Scarlatti) OR Classical work (e.g., Mozart, Clementi, Beethoven)
3. Romantic work (e.g., Chopin, Schumann, Brahms) OR Impressionistic work (e.g., Debussy, Ravel) OR 20th/21st century work

Repertoire for high school division:
1. Commissioned Work: Aer by Otto Wanke
2. Major work of Johann Sebastian Bach. (e.g., Suites,Toccatas, a Prelude and Fugue from either book of the WTC)
3. One movement of a classical sonata (e.g., Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert)
4. Romantic work (e.g., Chopin, Brahms, Liszt) OR Impressionistic work (e.g., Ravel, Debussy) OR 20th/21st century work
No single piece may count for more than one category (e.g., Schubert cannot be counted as both a classical sonata and a Romantic work).

The Prizes

  • Elementary/middle school: first – $250, second – $150, third – $100, and honorable mentions
  • High school: first – $500, second – $300, third – $200, and honorable mentions
  • Both divisions: $100 for best performance of commissioned work
  • Teacher awards for winning performances

The winners concert and awards presentation will take place Saturday, May 8, 2021, at 7:30 p.m. at Neighborhood Music School.

If the COVID-19 pandemic persists into 2021, we will convert the auditions and Winners’ Concert into virtual events.

Send one package with all four items postmarked no later than January 16, 2021 to:

Renée B. Fisher Piano Competition
Neighborhood Music School
100 Audubon St., New Haven, CT 06510

Postmark is required; hand deliveries will not be accepted. No application will be processed without the four listed items. Materials will not be returned. A committee, whose decision is final, will decide which applicants are accepted for live audition. Notification will be sent no later than February 8, 2021. All applicants accepted to the audition will be required to make a deposit which will be returned at the competition.

A committee, whose decisions are final, will decide which applicants are accepted for live audition. All applicants accepted to the audition will be required to make a deposit, which will be returned at the competition. 

For more information: