Mano and Brigitta Solinski play key role in pianists' careers
"The shelf life for participation in international piano competitions is short, basically from 18 to 30 years old," said Schumann, a Blacksburg, Va., native who has performed with the S.C. Philharmonic. "It's not unlike being a model in that you have a ticking clock. The Solinskis understand this, and that's why they go the extra mile for us. They are not just in this to support us for one show or for one weeklong competition. They're interested in following our progress over the long term."
The window of opportunity for student pianists hoping to becoming professional classical musicians doesn't get easier: The Hilton Head International Piano Competition, currently an annual event, will become a biannual event starting in 2010, held during even-numbered years thereafter.
"We just can't imagine doing anything else and being happy with our lives," Schumann said. "For students like me, there will never be a productive day without music."
Mano and Brigitta Solinski were educated with musical affinity at a young age. Born in southwest Germany to a Polish-Swiss family, Mano Solinski spent his early youth at his Swiss grandfather's dental manufacturing center. The family later moved to Switzerland, where his mother's friends included an opera singer who performed accompanied recitals in their home. Brigitta Solinski spent her childhood at Lake Zug in the center of Switzerland, home to a historic country inn.
Mano Solinski became a successful CPA, business consultant, and business owner, his connections extending from Zurich throughout Europe and the Americas. His first job was for a Swiss conglomerate that sponsored the Lucerne, Switzerland Music Festival. "It was the only job I ever applied for," he recalled.