Southeastern Piano Festival wraps up 10th anniversary year with great attendance, competition winners and significant donation

 

The Southeastern Piano Festival wrapped up Saturday night June 16 with a concert by the winners of the Arthur Fraser International Concerto Competition and the announcement of a $20,000 gift to the festival. The Festival, June 10 – 16, had its most successful year ever with record attendance at concerts including 1,500 at its opening Piano Extravaganza Concert at the Koger Center for the Arts.

“This has been an amazing year with extraordinary students and guest artists and wonderful music that has been shared with large and enthusiastic audiences. To cap it off with an announcement of this gift is the perfect way to end our 10th anniversary festival,” said Marina Lomazov, Artistic Director of the Southeastern Piano Festival.

The first place winner of the Fraser Competition was Dong Yeon Kim of Idyllwild, Calif. The second place winner was Kevin Ahfat of Centennial. Colo., and third place was won by 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.

Artistic Director Marina Lomazov announced that an anonymous donor will match dollar for dollar up to $20,000 all donations made to the Piano Festival. The unnamed donor is a long-time supporter of the festival.

Also announced at the closing event is that Joseph Rackers, an assistant professor of music at the USC School of Music and Festival faculty member, will become co-director of the festival.

The Southeastern Piano Festival is composed of a week-long training program for pre-college students coupled 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.

The top award winner Dong Yeon Kim has been grand prize winner of the Lake Lewisville Competition and in the Lynn Harrell Concerto Competition and has won top awards in the New Orleans International, Dallas Symphonic, National Young Artist Institute, MTNA, Wysong-Joplin and Denton Bach Society competitions. He has performed with the Dallas Symphony under conductor Jaap van Zweden. A native of South Korea, He moved to the United States in 2007 to continue his music studies.

As first place winner, he will receive a $3,000 cash award sponsored by Rice Music House-Steinway Pianos and the opportunity to perform with the South Carolina 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.

Kevin Ahfat was a Silver Medalist at the Fifth Schimmel USASU International Piano Competition, first prize winner in the Boulder Philharmonic, Steinway & Sons and Bradshaw & Buono international competitions. He has performed with the Colorado Symphony, Arapahoe Philharmonic and will perform with the Breckenridge Music Festival Orchestra in August as first prize winner of the 2012 Schmitt Music Competition. He will begin studies at the Juilliard School in the fall.

Evelyn Mo is an eighth grader whose awards include first prizes at the 2012 Blount- Slawson Young Artist Concerto Competition, 2011 Chopin International Piano Competition, 2011 MSMTA Beethoven Sonata Competition, and the International Young Artist Piano Competition in Washington, DC, in 2008 and 2010. She has been invited to appear on NPR’s “From the Top’’ and has performed at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage and the National Gallery of Art.

The second and third place winners receive $1,500 and $1,000 respectively.

The competition jury was composed of Boris Slutsky, jury chairman and Peabody Conservatory Piano Department Chairman; pianist Alessio Bax; Natalya Antonova, Eastman School of Music Professor of Piano; and Morihiko Nakahara, Music Director of the S.C. Philharmonic. Dong Kim was also awarded the Young Jury Prize selected by a panel of USC School of Music graduate and doctoral students.

-- Jeffrey Day

 

Reach Jeffrey Day at Carolinaculture@hotmail.com and visit us at Jasper at www.JasperColumbia.com

 

Southeastern Piano Festival kicks off 10th anniversary with big concert at the Koger Center

 

If you love the piano, have we got a week for you.

The Southeastern Piano Festival kicks off its 10th year with a Piano Extravaganza concert featuring 16 pianist, five pianos and the S.C. Philharmonic on June 10 at the Koger Center for the Arts. The festival runs through June 16 with concerts by well-known and up-and-coming musicians.

“The festival has been a success on so many levels and we’re thrilled to be celebrating our first decade,” said Marina Lomazov, Festival Artistic Director. “The festival continues to provide top-flight training for young musicians, but has also grown to be one of the most significant showcases of piano music.”

Dr. Lomazov will perform at the Piano Extravaganza along with fellow USC piano faculty Joseph Rackers and  Charles Fugo, guest pianist Phillip Bush, a dozen past winners of Arthur Fraser International Concerto Competition, and the S.C. Philharmonic conducted by Music Director Morihiko Nakahara.  The concert includes works by Mozart, Bach and Wagner and five pianists performing movements from “The Planets” by Gustav Holst on five Steinway concert grand pianos. The concert will close with Lomazov and Rackers playing the Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra in D minor by Francis Poulenc.

The festival blends a week of exciting concerts with a training program for 19 young pianists from around the country and one from Australia who take part in the Fraser Competition. Those who want to see some of tomorrow’s great pianists today can watch the competition from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. June 15. Competition winners will give the closing concert June 16.

Among the other highlights of the week are performances by Boris Slutsky, first prize winner of the Kapell International Piano Competition and chair of the piano department at the Peabody Institute, playing the music of Ravel, Chopin and Schuman on June 13 and Alessio Bax, recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant, performing Rachmaninoff and Liszt pieces on June 14.

Students attending the festival will give an afternoon concert at the Columbia Museum of Art June 12. A number of young pianists will be in the spotlight including past winners of the Fraser Competition Leo Svirsky and Sean Yeh performing June 11 and George Li, the 15-year-old winner of the Gilmore Young Artist Award, playing June 12.

Admission to the Piano Extravaganza is $25 for VIP seating and $15 general admission, $10 for seniors, students, military, USC faculty and staff and free for those under 18. Tickets are available through capitoltickets.com or by calling (803) 251-2222.

The other concerts will be held at the USC School of Music Recital Hall. Admission is $20; $10 for seniors, USC faculty and staff, students and military and free to everyone under  18.  For tickets call (803) 576-5763 or email  frontoffice@mozart.sc.edu

The Svirsky and Yeh concert is $5.

The competition concert is free.

For a complete schedule and more information about tickets, concerts, guest artists and participants visit the Piano Festival website http://sepf.music.sc.edu/

Concert lineup for the Southeastern Piano Festival (unless otherwise noted concerts are at the USC School of Music Recital Hall, Assembly and College streets.)

Sunday, June 10, 4 p.m. Piano Extravaganza concert.

Monday, June 11, 7:30 p.m. Alumni Celebration Concert with Leo Svirsky and Sean Yeh.

Tuesday, June 12, 1:30 – 3 p.m. Southeastern Piano Festival on the Road. Columbia Museum of Art, 1515 Main St.

Tuesday, June 12, 7:30 p.m. George Li.

Wednesday, June 13, 7:30 p.m. Boris Slutsky.

Thursday, June 14, 7:30 p.m. Alessio Bax.

Friday, June 15, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Arthur Fraser International Concerto Competition.

Saturday, June 16, 7 p.m. Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition Winners' Concert and Closing Ceremony.