Arts & Culture Events

Community invited to play historic Van Cliburn piano at Fredonia

The State University of New York at Fredonia School of Music’s third Sorel Piano Competition in November will include a special feature, made possible through the generosity of the Steinway Company, showcasing Van Cliburn’s personal Steinway piano.

Members of the community are also invited to play on the historic instrument during the three-day installation on the Fredonia campus. Short slots will be scheduled for the public on Sunday, Nov. 4, starting at 10 a.m., in King Concert Hall. Space is limited. There is no charge to reserve a short time slot, however advance reservations are required. To reserve a time slot, contact the Fredonia Student Keyboard Association at For more information or questions, contact the Fredonia School of Music at 673-3151 during business hours.

One of classical music’s most revered artists, Van Cliburn preferred this Steinway Model D (serial number 443530) for his performances throughout the world and he eventually purchased it for his own collection.

Mr. Cliburn’s piano was built in 1976 at the Steinway factory in Astoria, N.Y. Becoming known as “CD 375,” it was added to Steinway’s famed Concert & Artist piano inventory and soon became a favorite of Cliburn’s.

“Having the Van Cliburn piano on display at the Sorel Piano Competition is another step in elevating the prominence of the Sorel Piano competition,” said Fredonia School of Music Director Mel Unger. “We are thrilled by the growth of the Sorel Competition and by Steinway’s decision to make the Van Cliburn piano available for viewing and photo opportunities. As others have noted, this piano ‘is a piece of American and world history.’”

The Claudette Sorel Piano Competition is open to young artists ages 15 to18 who are passionate about piano performance and repertoire. If selected as a finalist for the competition, participants are asked to prepare a program of no longer than 15 minutes that demonstrates an artistic vision, such as works of a specific composer, known or unknown, a thematic connection between works, an original way of presenting the music, etc. The final round will take place at noon on Saturday, Nov. 3, in the acclaimed Juliet J. Rosch Recital Hall. The performance is free, open to the public and will be live-streamed. Winners will be announced after a short meeting of the judges, and a reception will follow.

The competition is named for pianist and SUNY Distinguished Professor Claudette Sorel, who was a faculty member at Fredonia, 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.

For more information on the competition, see or

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