• Apply to the 17th Annual

    Cornell Concerto Competition

    Sunday, December 15, 2019

    Barnes Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY


    One winner will perform with the Cornell Symphony Orchestra

    on Saturday, February 29, 2020


    More information below

  • 17th Annual Concerto Competition

    TIME: Participants will be scheduled for rehearsal times and will be notified by e-mail. Following drawing for performance order, the competition begins at 1 PM.


    ELIGIBILITY: Students currently enrolled as an undergraduate student at Cornell University.


    REPERTOIRE: One movement of a concerto with cadenza or piece of similar caliber for solo instrument + orchestra, not to exceed 15 minutes. Performance must be from memory with the exception of works written after 1930 and played with piano accompaniment. Also, this year students are encouraged to explore repertoire by women composers. The Director of Orchestras reserves the right to exercise discretion upon receiving the application.


    ACCOMPANIST: Participants must provide their own accompanist. Cornell Music dept. will not provide accompanists to concerto participants. Teachers may accompany their own students. Entrants will be notified by mail/email regarding rehearsal times.


    AWARD: One winner will perform with the Cornell University Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, February 29, 2020 (3 pm concert).


    APPLICATION: Non-refundable entry fee of $20 must accompany the application form and be postmarked no later than 4:00 PM, Friday, December 6, 2019. Make check payable to Cornell Music Department, and send to 101 Lincoln Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853. Finalists will be notified by e-mail by Monday, December 9, 2019, and will audition on Sunday, December 15, 2019, in Barnes Hall, Ithaca, NY. The final round will be in Barnes Hall on Sunday, December 15, 2019. Late applications will NOT be accepted.


    All Participants must also submit a short (100 word - strict) biography and a jpeg photo of themselves as part of the application. Please email this bio and photo to katherinekilburn@gmail.com, by the given deadline. No other forms will be accepted. Incomplete applications will be disqualified.


    ADDITIONAL: On the date of the competition, each soloist will provide the judges with at least one copy of the score. Afternoon round will be open to the public.

    Winners must be available to perform with the Cornell University Symphony on February 29, 2020, at Bailey Hall. Winners will perform the same concerto movement in competition and orchestral appearance.

    The decision of judges will be final. The application permits recording of competition and possible broadcast.


    link to the application form

  • Results of the 16th Annual

    Cornell Concerto Competition

    Congratulations to Aditya Deshpande, '22, winner of the 15th Annual Cornell Concerto Competition for his performance of Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat Major. Aditya will perform this work with the Cornell Symphony Orchestra in concert on Sunday, March 9, 2018, in Bailey Hall.


    link to Cornell news article

  • Competition Winner

    A freshman computer science major, Deshpande is a highly accomplished pianist and is studying piano at Cornell with Ryan McCullough, a doctoral student in contemporary performance practice. As a high school senior, he placed first in three music competitions: a Steinway Junior Piano Competition in Houston in June 2018; the Clear Lake Symphony Youth Concerto Competition in January 2018; and the Symphony North of Houston Concerto Competition in December 2017. In 2016, he was a finalist at the Seattle International Piano Competition, and in 2011 he placed first at the MusiQuest national level piano competition in India. He also has performed at the International Piano Competition in Ettlingen, Germany.

    Judging Panel

    Malcolm Bilson has been in the forefront of the period instrument movement for more than thirty years. A member of the Cornell University Music Department since 1968, where he is the Frederick J. Whiton Professor of Music Emeritus, he began his pioneering activity in the early 1970s as a performer of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert on late 18th- and early 19th-century pianos. He has been a key contributor to the restoration of the fortepiano to the concert stage and to fresh recordings of the mainstream repertory. n addition to an extensive career as a soloist and chamber player, Mr. Bilson has toured with the English Baroque Soloists with John Eliot Gardiner, the Academy of Ancient Music with Christopher Hogwood, the Philharmonia Baroque under Nicholas McGegan, Tafelmusik of Toronto, Concerto Köln, and other early and modern instrument orchestras around the world. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by Bard College, is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is a recipient of the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, for his extraordinary lifetime achievements as "a pioneer in the performance of period instruments and chamber music in general." In 2015 he was awarded the Order of the Hungarian Gold Cross by the president of Hungary for his "significant international artistic and scholarly career, and in recognition of his decades-long contributions to Hungarian musical life." In addition to his activities in Cornell's performance-practice program, Professor Bilson teaches piano to both graduate and undergraduate students. He gives annual summer fortepiano workshops at various locations in the United States and Europe, as well as master classes and lectures (generally in conjunction with solo performances) around the world. Malcolm Bilson is a member of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences.


    Sonya Stith Williams is assistant concertmaster of Symphoria, the musician-founded and owned orchestra formed after the demise of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra. She was a member of the Syracuse Symphony for ten years prior to the new Symphoria. In these organizations, she has been a member of both the second and first violin sections, and has served as guest concertmaster. She has also performed with the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Binghamton Philharmonic as guest principal second violin, the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, and the Rochester Chamber Orchestra.
    Sonya received her B.M. in violin performance and her M.M. in performance and literature from the Eastman School of Music, where her primary teachers were the esteemed teachers and performers, Zvi Zeitlin and Ilya Kaler. As part of her training, she also attended the Music Academy of the West, the Quartet Program, and the National Orchestral Institute, where she served as concertmaster. She is a member of the Symphoria String Quartet that plays concerts, educational performances, and conducts masterclasses in schools as well as in the community. She is active in many other local ensembles such as the Skaneateles Festival, the Society for New Music, the Civic Morning Musicals Recital Series, the Syracuse Friends of Chamber Music concerts, the Clinton String Quartet, and the Temple Concord concert series. Sonya has been guest speaker at an Eastman School Arts Leadership class, and at the Syracuse University's Women in Leadership organization, and teaches at the Eastern US Music Camp. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Symphoria and is the chair of the Symphoria Education and Outreach committee.


    Daniel Hege, is widely recognized as one of America’s finest conductors, earning critical acclaim for his fresh interpretations of the standard repertoire and for his commitment to creative programming. He served for eleven seasons as the Music Director of the Syracuse Symphony and in June 2009, was appointed Music Director of the Wichita Symphony. As of the 15/16 season, he was named Principal Guest Conductor of the Tulsa Symphony, and in May 2018 was appointed to the position of Music Director of the Binghamton (NY) Philharmonic. Additional positions include a five year tenure with the Baltimore Symphony where he held the titles of Assistant, Associate and Resident Conductor, Associate Conductor of the Kansas City Symphony, Assistant Conductor of the Pacific Symphony, Music Director of the Encore Chamber Orchestra in Chicago, and Music Director of the Chicago Youth Symphony, where he was twice honored by the League of American Orchestras for innovative programming. In addition to programming and conducting the subscription concerts in Wichita, Mr. Hege has conducted a number of cutting edge concerts, including Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle with the legendary Samuel Ramey in the title role and with sets by the glass sculptor Dale Chihuly, and a semi-staged production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel in collaboration with the Music Theatre Wichita. He is also active in Wichita as a lecturer and prepares the pre-concert talks for each of his classical programs. A native of Colorado, Daniel Hege received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1987 from Bethel College, Kansas where he majored in music and history. He continued his studies at the University of Utah, where he received a Master of Music degree in orchestra conducting, founded the University Chamber Orchestra and served as Assistant Conductor of the University Orchestra and Music Director of the Utah Singers. He subsequently studied with Paul Vermel at the Aspen Music Festival and in Los Angeles with noted conductor and pedagogue Daniel Lewis.

    Official Accompanist

    Pianist Ryan McCullough has developed a unique career as soloist and collaborator, at home with music ranging from the standard repertoire to electroacoustic improvisation. He has appeared as concerto soloist with numerous orchestras, including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic, and has performed alongside the Mark Morris Dance Group and contemporary ensemble eighth blackbird. He has performed at such festivals as the Tanglewood Music Center, Token Creek Chamber Music Festival, Sarasota Festival, Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival, and Nohant International Chopin Festival, and in March of 2015 co-directed Environs Messiaen, a festival at Cornell University celebrating the naturalist aesthetic of French composer Oliver Messiaen. Ryan holds his B.A. from Humboldt State University and M.Mus. from the University of Southern California, as well an Artist Diplomas from the Colburn Conservatory and The Glenn Gould School. He has studied primarily with Deborah Clasquin, David Louie and John Perry, in addition to influential work with Stephen Drury, Leon Fleisher, and Peter Serkin. Ryan is currently DMA candidate in Contemporary Performance Practice at Cornell University where he works with pianist Xak Bjerken and composer Kevin Ernste.

  • Results of the 13th Annual

    Cornell Concerto Competition

    Cellist Irene Jeong, '19 won the 13th annual Cornell Concerto Competition on November 20 for her performance of Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 1 in Eb Major (Mvt 1 and 2), accompanied by Miri Yampolsky.

  • 2016 Competition Winner

    Originally from Palo Alto, CA, Jeong is a San Francisco Conservatory Pre-College alum. She began playing the cello at age 8 and has since been a prizewinner in numerous competitions including the National YoungArts foundation, Mission College Symphony concerto Competition, and Alexander and Buono International String Competition. As an avid chamber musician, she won the inaugural Galante Prize and was featured twice on NPR's From the top. She has also played at Carnegie Hall and in various music festivals. Irene is a sophomore Physics major at Cornell University where she studies with cello with Prof. John A. Haines-Eitzen and co-principal cellist of the Cornell Chamber Orchestra.


    She was one of four finalists chosen by judges Phiroze Mehta, Richard Faria of Ithaca College and Heather Buchman of Hamilton College.

    Other finalists were:

    • Ellie Bayles '17, a Biometry and Statistics major (student of Liz Shuhan), performing Lowell Libermann's Concerto for Flute and Orchestra (Mvt III), accompanied by Mary Ann Miller;
    • Jiacong Xu, '17, a Computer Science major (student of Xak Bjerken), performing Saint Saens' Piano Concerto No. 2 Mvt 1, accompanied by Miri Yampolsky;
    • David Zhang, '20, a Biological Sciences Major (student of Ariana Kim), performing Max Bruch's Scottish Fantasy (mvt 1), accompanied by Miri Yampolsky.