Jurors’ Testimonials:

In general, our jurors believe the competition has professionalism, cordiality, organization and the potential to develop further to a dramatic cultural event, placing it in position for entry into the International Association of Music Competitions.  Further comments include the following:

Margarita Denenburg, juror from Heidelberg University in Ohio:

“This competition marks a wide range of talent, artistry and outstanding professionalism”.  

Samir Mirzoev, juror from Turkey:

The opportunity for young musicians to perform on stages such as the Tarkington, and, especially the Palladium, develops an aesthetic perception of the world…in some way, it may even define their career choice in life.”

Irina Mints — juror from Germany: “5 stars!… The best piano competition I’ve seen…perfect organization…I definitely want to return again!!!!”

Anna Smechova – juror from Ukraine:

“Despite complex repertoire, young students present such admirable skills, like virtuosity and artistry. Participants expressed deep knowledge of the musical form and content of the music. I would also like to acknowledge the excellent work of the teachers.”


Ari Brown, senior attending a dual degree program, majoring in Music Composition at the New England Conservatory of Music and Computer Science at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts. 

Whether or not I won, practicing to compete at the rigorous level set by the Carmel Klavier both developed work ethic and creativity that I can now apply to problem solving in so many other fields.   Practicing for my performance, attending master classes, and engaging with the other performers at Carmel Klavier were invaluable experiences in my path to attending New England Conservatory of Music (NEC).  The Carmel Klavier strikes an unprecedented balance between rewarding excellence and celebrating the arts with everyone, which is a difficult task in competitive environments.  All competitors walk away feeling a sense of personal accomplishment, which is the type of support that fueled my desire to continue into a creative major at NEC.


Minerva Cao: a 9-year-old girl from Indiana/USA, attended the Carmel Klavier International Piano Competition in 2017.

She won the Featured Composer (Elena Cobb) Award by playing Take Three Jazz Waltz; therefore, she obtained an opportunity to play in 2018 Elena Cobb Winner’s Concert held in Royal Albert Hall in London! It was the first oversea performance for her and she practiced a lot and made significant improvement on her skills and gained very valuable experience. In London, she met so many composers and enjoyed their master classes a lot! Since then, she scrutinized her technique more carefully and thought her music expression like a musician. Moreover, she became more confidants in her performance! ~ Li Cao (mom)


Lauren Lo: Lauren Lo was 8 years old when she entered her first major international piano competition.

We are very lucky to have such a major event right here in Carmel, Indiana. She was pleasantly surprised when she found out she was the winner of the Contemporary Composer’s Award by Elena Cobb and would have the opportunity to perform at Royal Albert Hall in London, England. At the time, we didn’t realize what a lasting impact this would have on such a young pianist.

On April 5th, 2018, she got the opportunity of a lifetime and performed at Royal Albert Hall in London England. Lauren felt honored to perform in such an incredible venue where great performers such as The Beetles, Adele, Julie Andrews, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and many more have performed. Two of her most favorite memories were getting to play on a red grand piano that Sir Elton John had owned and performed on as well as getting to meet the composers, Elena Cobb and Heather Hammond, of the piano pieces that she performed at the recital. She was honored to represent the U.S.A. and was amazed at all the incredible performances from students all around the world such as Columbia, Germany, Israel, England, Australia, South Korea, and Gibraltar.

When asked about her experience, Lauren said, “I got to play on Elton John’s red piano.” Lauren says the experience of playing at events like Carmel Klavier has given her more confidence in playing in public and has motivated her to practice even harder.” The experience has really given her more confidence with performing in public and has inspired her to practice even more. The comradery and energy in the recital hall was electric and definitely something she will cherish for a lifetime. Opportunities of this nature are so positive and give young performers, like Lauren, a chance to connect with other young pianists and to see the world! ~ Christine Lo (mom)