ROCHESTER, NY — Summer is no time to take a break from lessons are if you’re a serious young pianist.
In fact, a dream vacation for a teen-age musician would involve the challenge of competing for major prizes rounded out with master classes, concerts, and the chance to get to know other young players.
All of these elements come together in the Eastman School of Music Summer Piano Festival. The festival, which takes place July 14–23 this year, combines three events: the Fourth Annual Young Artists International Piano Competition, the Sixth Annual Piano Workshop for high school students, and the Sixth Annual Pedagogy Seminar for teachers.
The young pianists have the option of participating in either the competition or the workshop, but most do both, says Douglas Humpherys, director of the festival and a member of Eastman’s piano faculty.
“In most competitions, the musicians arrive, compete, and go home,” says Humpherys, who was the winner of the Gina Bachauer Competition in 1976. “At the Eastman Summer Piano Festival, they can stay on and learn from each other as well as from Eastman’s outstanding faculty. So, even students who don’t win a prize still have a tremendously valuable learning experience.”
Another unique feature of the Eastman Summer Piano Festival is the age of the participants. Most piano competitions are for musicians in their 20s, but Eastman wanted to offer the experience to younger pianists. So, Humpherys designed an event for students ages 14 to 18.
“At that age, they’re not only ready for this: They’re hungry for this,” says Humpherys. Participation has grown each year, and now is limited to 40 students selected through a review of an audition tape and a summary of credentials. The eight-day musical immersion includes three rounds of competition, master classes, courses in piano literature and analysis, a seminar on performance skills, individual coaching with faculty members, a student recital and a series of evening concerts culminating with the winners’ concert in the historic Eastman Theatre.
Three contestants will take home substantial awards:
• First Prize: $10,000 annual renewable scholarship for undergraduate piano study at Eastman; $4,000 cash; performances at the festival.
• Second Prize: $1,500 cash; performances at the festival.
• Third Prize: $500 cash; performances at the festival.
There’s a third component of Eastman’s Summer Piano Festival and Competition: a pedagogy seminar for teachers. This features master classes, teaching demonstrations and lectures on various aspects of piano pedagogy.
“We’ve had a wonderful response from the teachers and students who’ve come, as well as from our guest judges and performers,” says Humpherys.
For more information about the Eastman Summer Piano Festival and Competition or the Pedagogy Seminar for Piano Teachers, contact the Eastman Summer Session Office at 1-800-246-4706 or (585) 274-1400, or send e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org..
Photos of Humpherys and last year’s competition are available.