Since 2008, this week-long program has brought talented young pianists from around the world to the CIM campus for an immersive experience designed to cultivate and nurture the aspirations of serious young musicians. Directed by Dr. Sean Schulze and drawing on the distinguished faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Music, Summer Sonata features multiple performance opportunities, regular individual lessons as well as group classes in theory, Eurhythmics, form and composition, improvisation, piano literature and more.

Program alumni have been contestants and prizewinners in competitions throughout the US and abroad, including the MTNA National Performance Competition, the Gina Bachauer Competition and the Cooper Competition. Our alumni have further distinguished themselves as concerto soloists with orchestras throughout the US and have appeared at major piano festivals including Perugia Music Fest and the Southeastern Piano Festival.

Special Guest Artists for 2018:

Alvin Chow, professor of piano at Oberlin Conservatory, Daniel Shapiro, piano faculty at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and Tianshu Wang, professor of piano at Capital University—all pictured below—will be joining us as our special guest artists in 2018. In addition, we welcome Pierre and Sophie van der Westhuizen as piano duet guest artists.   

Alvin Chow    Daniel Shapiro   Wang

Prior Guest Artists have included Antonio Pompa-Baldi, Kathryn Brown, Caroline Oltmanns, Zsolt Bognar, Daniel Shapiro, Angelin Chang, Donna Lee, Jerry Wong and the Westhuizen Duo

Program Details

  • Age requirement: Summer Sonata welcomes pianists aged 12-18 to apply. Pianists of exceptional ability who are not yet 12 years of age will be considered.
  • Application Deadline: March 23
  • Program runs from June 24 - 30, 2018. Instructional activities are scheduled between 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. each day
  • Program concludes with a performance in Mixon Hall on Saturday, June 30
  • Duet performance and competition for all participants takes place on Friday, June 29
  • All students are scheduled to perform as a soloist in the public masterclasses which take place each afternoon
  • Accepted students are expected to bring at least two performance-ready works to the program and are encouraged to bring more repertoire as appropriate
  • Private lessons and masterclass performances with our guest artists are based on the initial video audition
  • All students are placed in a duet team. Music is mailed to accepted students in early May and is to be prepared in anticipation of the start date of the program
  • Housing is available for students traveling from out of town for an additional fee

Summer Sonata Faculty:

Core Piano Faculty

  • Andrew Focks
  • Derek Nishimura
  • Julia Russ
  • Olga Radosavljevich
  • Sean Schulze
  • Shuai Wang

Application Requirements

Application Form

Interested applicants should fill out the application form and send it along with the application fee and audition video links, to:

   Summer Sonata - Cleveland Institute of Music
   Attention: Mary Ann Grof-Neiman
   Preparatory and Continuing Education
   11021 East Boulevard Cleveland, OH 44106

Tuition and Fees

Non-refundable Application Fee: $45, to be sent with the application form

Tuition: $850

Housing: $270 (linens may be purchased for an extra $20)

Meals: $160 (includes breakfast, lunch and dinner)

Audition Videos

Email YouTube links to

  • All applicants are required to upload a YouTube link that will include two contrasting works for solo piano from two style periods.
  • Audition repertoire should include works from the classical repertoire at a minimum difficulty level of Bach 2-part Inventions, early Beethoven Sonatas (Op.49) and above.