The Sherer International Violin & Piano Competition

September 10-11, 2021
Goshen College Music Center

Solomia Soroka, artistic director
Marcia Yost, executive director

The Sherer International Competition is an annual violin and piano competition named in honor of the late Lon and Kathryn Sherer, Goshen College Professors Emeritus of Music. For 40 years, Lon (violin) and Kathryn (piano) created, nurtured and developed instrumental music at Goshen College, bringing the program to unprecedented heights through their talent, hard work, and pedagogy.


The competition is open to classically-trained violinists and pianists in grades 8-12 (ages between 13-18 as of May 15, 2021). Competition applicants must not be enrolled in a degree program at a college or university.


  • 1st Prize: $1000
  • 2nd Prize: $500
  • 3rd Prize: $300
  • One soloist from the winners concert will be chosen by artistic director of the Maple City Community Orchestra (Maestro Brian Mast) to perform a concerto movement with the Maple City Orchestra during the 2022-23 season. The piece to be performed does not to be part of the competition program.
  • One soloist from the winners concert will also be chosen by the artistic director of the Livonia Symphony Orchestra (Maestro Volodymyr Shesuik) to perform a concerto movement with the Livonia Symphony during the 2022-23 season. The piece to be performed does not need to be part of the competition program.

Judges’ decisions on all prizes are final.


Applications are now being accepted. A completed application form, payment of non-refundable $75 application fee, and uploaded video recording file must be submitted by the registration deadline (extended to August 25, 2021).

Submit application for the Sherer Competition

Screening Recording

All entrants must submit an unedited video recording of one piece from their competition repertoire on or before the registration deadline (extended to August 25, 2021). Recordings should be uploaded to YouTube, or shared from Google Drive, Dropbox, or similar file-sharing service.  Selected applicants will be notified by email by August 27, 2021. 




Repertoire should include selections from at least two of the following style periods: Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Contemporary. Standard violin concerto movements are permitted. All works must be memorized with the exception of sonata movements, and works written after 1945. Students should aim for a program no longer than 30 minutes in length. Competitors exceeding the 30 minute limit will be stopped.


Repertoire should include selections for solo piano from at least two of the following style periods: Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Contemporary. Concerto performances are NOT permitted for piano. Extended techniques such as introducing foreign objects into the workings of the piano, strumming or plucking of strings, etc. are also not permitted. All pieces must be memorized. Students should aim for a program no longer than 30 minutes in length. Competitors exceeding the 30 minute limit will be stopped.



All entrants will be notified of acceptance via email by August 27, 2021.




Dr. Lee Joiner

Violinist Lee Joiner lives in the Chicago area where he serves on the faculty of Wheaton College Conservatory as professor of violin and chair of string studies. Prior to moving to Chicago, he was a member of the Blair String Quartet and served on the faculty of Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music.  In Chicago he has had performing associations with many groups including Ars Viva, the Orion Chamber Ensemble, the Rembrandt Chamber Players, Fulcrum Point, and the Contemporary Chamber Players of the University of Chicago. He has been the featured soloist on tours with the Wheaton College Symphony Orchestra and he performs regularly on campus.  In the summer he has taught at Colorado’s Rocky Ridge Music Center, the Masterworks Festival, Music in Summer in Ontario, Canada and at the Credo chamber music program held on the Oberlin campus.  As a member of the Violin Society of America, he is in regular contact with, and advocates for living violin and bowmakers.  The early history of the instrument itself and tracing the strands of development in the violin repertoire has become a research and performance interest. A recent development has been the formation of the 3 + 1 String Quartet that has been performing at local colleges as well as collaborating with  a jazz artist at the Chicago Jazz Festival.

Dr. Julian Ross

Violinist Julian Ross is an uncommonly versatile artist. Ross has appeared as soloist with orchestras and wind ensembles in performances ranging from Baroque and Romantic concerti to premieres of new commissions. His rich chamber music collaborations have kindled dramatic interpretations of traditional pieces and presentations of rarely heard works such as Romantic music composed by women and forgotten gems by Jazz great, Joe Venuti. Ross has toured the U.S. and abroad with the Arcadia Trio, the Boston Musical Arts Consortium, the Music from Yellow Barn Tours and the Memphis Piano Quartet. He was honored to appear as soloist, recitalist, and lecturer for the “Violins of Hope” exhibition in Cleveland, Ohio. He has had opportunities to perform many works under their composers’ supervision, including music by Don Freund, Stefan Freund, William Bolcom, John Cage, Chen Yi, John Harbison, Krzysztof Penderecki, Loris Chobanian, John Corigliano, Joseph Schwantner, Christopher Theofanidis, and Charles Wuorinen. In addition, Ross’s own original compositions and arrangements have been received warmly by audiences and are performed with increasing frequency.

Ross currently serves as Professor of Violin and Chair of the String Department at Baldwin Wallace University. Past faculty appointments have included Memphis State University and Florida State University. Ross participated in the Yellow Barn Festival for 11 years, and was on the faculties of Brevard, Aria International, Tennessee Governor’s School, and the Blue Mountain Festival. Ross’s students have won competitions, earned leadership positions in professional orchestras, and established themselves on teaching faculties. A past President of the Tennessee String Teachers’ Association, Ross currently serves on the board of the Ohio String Teachers’ Association. Ross earned degrees from Rutgers University, the Eastman School of Music and the Cincinnati College Conservatory, and he did additional studies at the New England Conservatory. Among his many teachers and mentors are Arnold Steinhardt, Sylvia Rosenberg, Eric Rosenblith, Jens Ellermann, Fryderyk Sadowski, Gladys Lang, and Isadore Grossman.


Dr. Kate Boyd

Described by Gramophone Magazine as a pianist with a “strong lyrical bent and feeling for nuance,” Kate Boyd has performed solo recitals at New York’s Carnegie Hall, Schubert’s birth house in Vienna, the National Concert Hall in Dublin, the Musikhalle Hamburg, in addition to many other venues. Recent concerts and conferences have taken her to Germany, England, Canada, Malaysia, Greece, Florida, Texas, California, Idaho, Minnesota, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, New York, and Michigan. In addition to her solo playing, she regularly collaborates with other musicians and artists. She was a founding member of the Oracle Trio, a New York-based piano trio that performed throughout the US for ten years.

As an educator, Boyd is deeply devoted to her students; she received the 2019 Teacher of the Year award from the Indiana Music Teachers Association and the 2017 Outstanding Professor of the Year award from Butler University. Boyd is also active as a conference clinician. She has presented lectures and workshops at state, regional, national and international conferences, including the MTNA National Conference, the International John Cage Conference and the European Piano Teachers Association Conference. She regularly gives masterclasses to students through teacher organizations and universities, and she has worked with students of all ages.

Kate Boyd is Professor of Piano and Piano Area Coordinator at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana. In the summers, she serves as coordinator of the piano area of the internationally-renowned Interlochen Arts Camp in northern Michigan. She holds degrees from Stony Brook University, Oberlin Conservatory, and the Hannover (Germany) Academy of Music. Her major teachers were Gilbert Kalish, Arbo Valdma, and Arie Vardi.


Dr. Matthew Hill

Matthew Hill, DMA, pianist and Goshen College professor of music, is chair of the music department and teaches piano, chamber music, music history, and as a result of the strong influence from his wife and daughter, also teaches a general education course in Opera and Musical Theatre. He has studied with such renowned musicians as Howard Karp and Claude Frank, whose respective pedagogical genealogies include Rosina Lhévinne and Arthur Schnabel. He has had a variety of teaching and performing experiences both nationally and internationally. Dr. Hill participated at the Schlern International Music Festival held in the Dolomites of northern Italy through invitation as a teacher, performer, and master class clinician. In China, he taught a series of master classes at the Sichuan Conservatory of Music, and presented a solo recital. Matthew received his doctorate in piano performance at University of Wisconsin-Madison. His students have gone on to further graduate study at many different graduate schools, including Kansas City Conservatory of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Oklahoma, Westminster Choir College, and the University of South Florida.

Collaborative Pianist

A native of Minnesota, pianist Luke Norell has concertized internationally as soloist and chamber musician. Recent engagements have included performing at the University of Indianapolis, Ohio University, the Music Archive of Sarasota, Florida, and the Ruthmere Fall Concert Series. He has appeared as soloist with the Maple City Chamber Orchestra and the Southwest Minnesota Orchestra and also performed at Edvard Grieg’s historic home at Troldhaugen. As vice president and founding board member of the newly formed Edvard Grieg Society of the Great Lakes, Luke took part in hosting its inaugural “SalzBergen” conference at Goshen College, giving performances with bass-baritone Njål Sparbo, and his wife Mary Rose as the Norell Piano Duo. Dr. Norell serves as the Piano Program Director for the Goshen College Community School of the Arts and as collaborative pianist for the Goshen College music department. He studied with André Watts at Indiana University, completing his D.M. and M.M. degrees, and received his B.M. degree from the University of Northwestern (St. Paul).

Maple City Orchestra Artistic Director

Aerial view of a man in a black suit holding a baton smiling

Brian C. Mast is a conductor, music educator and arts administrator.  As an arts administrator, Brian serves as the Executive Director of the Goshen College Music Center, where he oversees operations, the Community School of the Arts, and books programming in the facility. As a music educator, Brian has taught at Bethany Christian Schools, Goshen High School and Concord High School, and is conductor of the Goshen College Symphony Orchestra. As a community arts advocate, Brian has served on the board of Goshen Theater, Inc., and has served as Music Director and Conductor of the Maple City Chamber Orchestra since 2002. He also has enjoyed collaborations with other community organizations such as the Elkhart Civic Theater and the Goshen Community Chorale.

Brian holds a BA in Music and Education from Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas, and an MM in orchestral conducting from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI. At Western Michigan University, Brian served as the assistant conductor of the University Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Bruce Uchimura. Brian was also the founder and conductor of the University Chamber Strings. Brian has performed with both the Goshen College Orchestra and Wind Ensemble, as well as in pit orchestras for several GC operas. Brian has studied conducting with Bruce Uchimura, James Bass, and Michael Esselstrom.

Livonia Symphony Orchestra Artistic Director

Volodymyr Shesiuk is in his 20th season as the Livonia Symphony Orchestra’s Music Director and Conductor. Prior to emigrating to the United States from the Ukraine in 1991, Maestro Shesiuk held a number of distinguished positions including Conductor-in-Residence of the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow and the Lviv Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra in the Ukraine. He also served as Chief Conductor of the Kyrgyzstan National Opera and was a docent at the Kyrgyzstan Institute of Arts.  An accomplished violinist, Volodymyr has degrees in Violin Performance and Opera and in Symphony Orchestra Conducting from the Lviv Conservatory, one of the Ukraine’s finest music schools.  In 1998, under his direction, a Livonia Symphony concert celebrating the musical heritage of the Ukraine was well received by Michigan’s Ukranian community.  Volodymyr became a citizen of the U.S. on September 7, 2000.

Competition Schedule

Schedule is subject to change

Sample Friday schedule

  • 10 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.  – Student arrival, registration, rehearsal, and practice time
  • 7:30 p.m. – Concert, Sherer Piano Trio & Guest Artists, Sauder Concert Hall
  • 8:30 p.m. – Reception for judges and competitors

Sample Saturday schedule

  • Morning – Warm-ups for violinists with accompanists, and pianists
  • 10:00 a.m. – Piano Adjudication, Sauder Concert Hall
  • 10:00 a.m. – Violin Adjudication, Rieth Recital Hall
  • 7:30 p.m. – Competition Winners Concert, Sauder Concert Hall

Sherer Competition Artistic Director

Solomia Soroka, DMA, is professor of music at Goshen College, where she teaches violin, chamber music, and music theory courses. Born in Lviv, Ukraine, she earned her master’s degree and completed her postgraduate studies in the Kiev (Kyiv) Conservatory, and later served on its staff in the department of chamber music. She also has a DMA degree from Eastman School of Music. She studied with Hersh Heifetz, Bohodar Kotorovych, Lyudmyla Zvirko and Charles Castleman. Solomia Soroka made her solo debut at ten, playing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with the Lviv Philharmonic Orchestra. She has appeared at concerts and festivals in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Taiwan and Ukraine. Since her American debut in 1997, she has performed throughout the United States as well.

Solomia Soroka has toured and recorded extensively with her husband, the pianist Arthur Greene. Their Naxos recording of Four Violin Sonatas by William Bolcom was selected as Recording of the Month with the highest ranking for both artistry and sound quality by Classics Today, and received reviews in various distinguished journals

In the past eight years Soroka has been recording for Toccata Records, based in London, where she made six premier recordings, of music by American composer Arthur Hartmann, Ukrainian Myroslav Skoryk, Mykola Lysenko, and Yevhen Stankovych, and Holocaust composers Leone Sinigaglia and Bernhard Sekles.

During the summer Solomia Soroka is on the faculty of Music Fest in Perugia, Italy. She also  has taught at the Castleman Quartet Program, Pilsen Summer Academy, and Schlern Music Festival. Ms. Soroka is active giving masterclasses in her native Ukraine, USA, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Israel, Czech Republic, and Italy.


For general questions regarding the competition, or for questions regarding the program, audition screening recording, accompanying needs, etc. please contact:

Solomia Soroka

Artistic Director
Sherer Competition

For questions regarding travel, accommodations, meals, or the Goshen area, please contact:

Marcia Yost

Executive Director
Sherer Competition