Since 2008, this week-long program has brought talented young pianists from around the world to CIM 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 CIM, Summer Sonata features multiple performance opportunities and regular individual lessons and group classes in theory, Eurhythmics, form and composition, improvisation, piano literature and more.

Alumni of the program have been contestants and prizewinners at several regional and international competitions, including the MTNA National Performance Competition, Gina Bachauer Competition and Thomas & Evon Cooper Piano Competition. Our alumni have distinguished themselves as concerto soloists with orchestras throughout the U.S. and have appeared at major piano festivals in the U.S. and abroad. The Summer Sonata program has welcomed distinguished guest artists over the years, including Antonio Pompa-Baldi, Peter Takacs, Alvin Chow, Daniel Shapiro, Kathryn Brown, Emanuela Friscioni, Zsolt Bognar, Donna Lee, Angelin Chang, Sungeun Kim, Tianshu Wang and Jerry Wong.

Program Details

Talented young pianists ages 12-18 are welcome to apply for the 2021 Summer Sonata program, which will take place virtually June 21-26. Musicians of exceptional ability who are not yet 12 years of age will be considered. Learn more about the program and its core faculty. Special guest artists will be announced at a later date.

Learn More

Program Details & Timeline

  • Summer Sonata will be delivered virtually for summer 2021. 
  • Accepted students are expected to bring at least two performance-ready works to the program and are encouraged to bring more repertoire, as appropriate.
  • Instructional activities are scheduled between 9am-3pm each day and include private lessons, music theory and eurhythmics classes, lectures and master classes.
  • All students are scheduled to perform as soloists in at least one virtual master class.
  • Students receive three individual lessons with their assigned faculty member. 
  • The program concludes with a virtual recital.

Core Faculty

  • Andrew Focks 
  • Julia Russ
  • Sean Schulze
  • Shuai Wang
  • Weizhen Yang
  • Allen Yueh

Application & Audition

Interested applicants are required to complete CIM's online application and provide the following:

  • Two audition videos.
  • One letter of recommendation from your current piano teacher

For the audition videos, applicants must upload two video files or web links with their application that includes two contrasting works for solo piano from two style periods. Audition repertoire must include works from the classical repertoire at a minimum difficulty level of Bach 2-part Inventions and/or early Beethoven Sonatas (Op.49) and above.

Applications with audition recordings are due April 1. Applications received after that date will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. For inquiries, please email