Renée B. Fisher Competition

2020 Renee B. Fisher Competition for Young Pianists has been postponed until further notice. Please check back for updates. 


Congratulations to the winners of the 2019 Renee B. Fisher Competition for Young Pianists! Watch them perform at the Winners Concert and Awards Presentation on Saturday, May 11, 2019 at 7:30 pm. The concert is free and open to the public.
Elementary/Middle School
Commissioned Work — Jeffrey Liang (Svitlana Fiorito)
Honorable Mention — Marin Korenaga (Joel Wizansky)
3rd. Prize — Hudson Shi (Elaine Silbereis)
2nd. Prize — Seorin Kim (Sylvia Chambless)
1st. Prize — Jeffrey Liang (Svitlana Fiorito)
High School
Commissioned Work — Tianhal Zhou (Thomas Martin)
2nd. Prize — Avery Duer (Yoshie Akimoto)
1st. Prize — Tianhai Zhou (Thomas Martin)

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. View PDF’s of past commissioned piece winners here

Commissioned work
A special feature of the competition is the commissioning of two works, one for each division. These works are written 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. Scores are available from Neighborhood Music School after October 19, 2019.

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.

Repertoire for elementary/middle school division:
1. Commissioned work: Choro by William Minter
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: Tocatta (en pleno sol) by Karen Lemon
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
Note: 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 2, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. at Neighborhood Music School.

Applicants must currently live or study in Connecticut. Winners must commit to perform in the concert on Saturday, May 2, 2020, 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 use program repertoire previously submitted.

Application procedure
Four items are required from each applicant:

  1. Completed application form, including supplementary information sheet (see contact information below to request an application form).
  2. Non-refundable application fee of $50 by check, made payable to Neighborhood Music School. (Please note “Renee B. Fisher Competition” on the memo line.)
  3. Letter of recommendation from applicant’s current piano teacher.
  4. Compact disc of unedited performances by applicant or two solo pieces from contrasting periods. These works need not be part of the repertoire for the competition. Concerti are not acceptable. The CD should bear no identifying markings. Listen to the CD before submitting it to be certain it can be played on standard equipment.

All application materials were to have been sent together and postmarked no later than January 11, 2020, and sent to Renee B. Fisher Piano Competition, Neighborhood Music School, 100 Audubon St., New Haven, CT 06510. A postmark is required; hand deliveries will not be accepted. No application will be processed without the four items listed above. Materials will not be returned.

A commitee, whose decisions are final, will decide which applicants are accepted for live audition. Notification will be sent no later than February 3, 202020. All applicants accepted to the audition will be required to make a deposit, which will be returned at the competition. 

For more information and an application: