ROCHESTER, NY – The Eastman School of Music will become a battleground of fluttering ivory keys and brilliant arpeggios next month when young pianists from around the world come to Rochester to compete for fame and fortune. The ninth-annual Young Artists International Piano Competition – a weeklong event of master classes, guest recitals, and judged performances – brings together 22 pre-screened pianists from the United States and abroad, all of whom are between the ages of 14 and 18. Competitors this year will come from 11 different countries, including China, Korea, Singapore, Germany, Venezuela, Canada, and Turkey.
As one of only a dozen international piano competitions for this age group, the competition is fierce and the performance quality is extremely high. “These pianists really are artists,” says Doug Humpherys, Professor of Piano at the Eastman School of Music and director/founder of the competition. “They are seasoned performers… they just happen to be young.”
The young competitors arrive at Eastman in late July, and immediately begin performing in master classes led by an international jury of piano virtuosos. Soon after, all participants are required to perform nearly an hour’s worth of music each over two grueling preliminary rounds in Kilbourn Hall. All of these performances in Kilbourn Hall are free and open to the public.
In the final round, the six chosen finalists display their soloistic skills by performing a movement of a piano concerto, accompanied by an Eastman pianist. Three winners are chosen and awarded a final performance in the Eastman Theatre – an event that typically attracts over 1,000 audience members. These two concerts are ticketed (see information below).
The winners also receive a cash prize and a 4-year scholarship to attend Eastman. The first, second, and third place prizes consist of an $80,000 scholarship and $3,000 in cash, a $60,000 scholarship and $2,000 in cash, and a $40,000 scholarship and $1,000 in cash, respectively.
Paul Pollei, founder and artistic director of the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition, will chair the competition’s international jury. Joining him will be Min Kim, Yafen Zhu, Deirdra Doile, and Steve Laitz.
The performance schedule for the competition is as follows. All performances are in Kilbourn Hall, unless otherwise noted.
Saturday, July 30 • Master Classes, 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 3:30 p.m. (free)
Sunday, July 31 • Master Classes, 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 3:30 p.m. (free)
Sunday, July 31 • Rising Stars from the Eastman Piano Department, 7:30 p.m. (ticket required)
Monday, August 1 • Preliminaries, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., 7:30 p.m. (free)
Tuesday, August 2 • Preliminaries, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., 7:30 p.m. (free)
Wednesday, August 3 • Preliminaries, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., 7:30 p.m. (free)
Thursday, August 4 • Finals, 7:30 p.m. (ticket required)
Friday, August 5 • Winners’ Concert, 7:30 p.m., Eastman Theatre (ticket required)
Tickets for concerts that require paid admission are $8 for the general public, $5 for faculty/staff, and free for students with an Eastman or University of Rochester ID. Tickets are available at the RPO Box office, 108 East Avenue, (585-454-2100); online at www.rochester.edu/concerts, and at the Eastman Ticket Office in the School’s Main Hall on the day of the concert from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Any unsold seats go on sale one hour before concert time at the respective hall box office. For up-to-date program information, patrons should call the School’s 24-hour Music Line at 274-1100.
Note to editors & reporters : Photographs from previous years’ competitions are available.