USCís Southeastern Piano Festival ends on high note
By Frenche Brewer, email@example.com, 803-777-3691
The Southeastern Piano Festival drew record crowds at this year’s concerts, including an audience of 1,500 who attended the piano extravaganza opening night concert at the Koger Center for the Arts.
The festival, celebrating its 10th year, took place June 10-16 at the University of South Carolina.
The Southeastern Piano Festival is a weeklong training program for pre-college students along with a series of concerts by accomplished pianists. This year, 20 students from around the nation and one from Australia took part in the competition.
“This has been an amazing year with extraordinary students and guest artists and wonderful music that has been shared with large and enthusiastic audiences,” said Marina Lomazov, artistic director of the Southeastern Piano Festival.
Taking top prize for the Arthur Fraser International Concerto Competition was Dong Yeon Kim of Idyllwild, Calif. Kim was also awarded the Young Jury Prize selected by a panel of USC School of Music graduate and doctoral students.
The second place winner was Kevin Ahfat of Centennial, Colo., and third place was awarded to Evelyn Mo of Herndon, Va. Discretionary awards went to Vanessa Meiling Haynes of Shrewsbury, Mass.; Michael Lenahan of Rossford, Ohio; and Rieko Tsuchida of Mill Valley, Calif.
As first place winner, Kim received a $3,000 cash award sponsored by Rice Music House-Steinway Pianos and the opportunity to perform with the S.C. Philharmonic.The competition is sponsored by the Symphony League of the S.C. Philharmonic and named in honor of the founding music director of the Philharmonic.
The second and third place winners received $1,500 and $1,000 respectively.
In a surprise development, the festival announced an anonymous donor and long-time supporter of the festival agreed to match donations to the piano festival up to $20,000.
“To cap it off with an announcement of this gift is the perfect way to end our 10th anniversary festival,” Lomazov said.
Several well-known names in the concert piano circle performed and taught master classes during the festival week, including Boris Slutsky, jury chairman and chairman of the Peabody Conservatory piano department; pianist Alessio Bax; Natalya Antonova, Eastman School of Music piano professor; and Morihiko Nakahara, music director of the S.C. Philharmonic.
USC School of Music assistant professor Joseph Rackers was named co-director of the Southeastern Piano Festival at the end of the week’s events.