Announcing the 2023 Awards finalists!

Announcing the 2023 American Pianists Awards finalists!

INDIANAPOLIS [For Immediate Release - Thursday, March 10, 2022] – American Pianists Association (APA) announces the five finalists of the 2023 American Pianists Awards. Caelan Cardello, Esteban Castro, Paul Cornish, Thomas Linger and Isaiah J. Thompson will compete for the prestigious Cole Porter Fellowship, given every four years to an American jazz pianist at the conclusion of the organization’s unique 13-month competition.

The five finalists have been selected in a blind audition process from nominations solicited from over 1,200 piano educators, jazz artists, agents, promoters, critics, record labels executives and other industry professionals. Open to American citizens, the competition provides a unique platform for the national jazz community to identify the best of young, upcoming American piano talent every four years.

By virtue of their selection, each of the five finalists has already won a cash prize of $25,000, exceptional performance opportunities, and global visibility and recognition from advancing to the finalist stage of the world’s largest jazz competition. Further, the winner of the 2023 American Pianists Awards will receive career support valued at more than $200,000 including a cash prize; two years of career assistance; a media and performance tour; an artist residency; the opportunity to work with Mack Avenue Records and B Natural—a New York-based artist booking agency; publicity support through DL Media Music and Bucklesweet; and performance engagements both nationally and abroad.

From September 2022 through February 2023, each finalist will be invited to Indianapolis for the Premiere Series—the first live-juried performances of the Awards, consisting of solo and trio sets at the Jazz Kitchen. While in town, the finalists will also participate in outreach and community events.

All five finalists will return to Indianapolis for the Club Finals at The Cabaret on April 21, 2023 and the Gala Finals at Hilbert Circle Theatre on April 22, 2023. Each finalist will perform with the Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra and three-time Grammy® Award-winning vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant.

All juried performances in Indianapolis will be livestreamed at and on APA’s YouTube channel and Facebook.

Dizzy’s Club at Jazz at Lincoln Center will host the American Pianists Awards Sneak Preview on Wednesday, May 25, 2022, with sets at 7:30pm and 9:30pm. The evening will feature performances from each of the five finalists in their first gathering as a group. Tickets will be available via Jazz at Lincoln Center.

This performance will also be streamed jointly by Jazz at Lincoln Center and American Pianists Association.

“It’s one of the most rewarding parts of our work at APA to collaborate with these phenomenally talented young pianists in early stages of their careers,” says APA’s Interim CEO Joanne Bennett. “By providing performance opportunities in multiple venues and professional settings, arranging collaborations with world-class artistic partners, livestreaming each adjudicated performance, and providing media coverage and PR support, we create unique opportunities for all of our finalists—not just the winner—to grow and develop as artists, which is at the core of our mission.  I could not be more excited about the upcoming 2023 Awards!”


The Five Finalists



Sign up for our Newsletter
Our diverse world shapes our music, the artistic language of our contestants. It delights, informs, and inspires us all. It is in this spirit that the American Pianists Association welcomes people of any race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, and gender identity, as well as people with disabilities. We commit to learn from diverse talents, ideas, and voices. We pledge to create an environment for our artists, audiences, community partners, board, and staff that is based on the values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. Further, we commit to enacting strategic and annual plans that provide focused, measurable strategies for living out these values every day.