Pianofest in the Hamptons, directed by Paul Schenly, is a summer festival located that offers exceptionally concentrated study to a small group of pianists selected by audition. The teaching at Pianofest stresses an ethic based on support rather than competition. In addition to emphasizing the solo repertoire, students accompany each other in concertos and explore the duo piano literature. Pianofest also offers an opportunity for pianists to nurture their own friendships, performance opportunities, and contacts with the residents of the community. The Hamptons attract visitors from around the world, while local residents include renowned authors, artists and musicians.
Pianofest provides its students with full scholarship, room and board, and a $250 stipend.
Many Pianofest participants are engaged to perform at Hampton music festivals and other local venues, such as the Southampton Cultural Center, the Montauk Library, The Brookhaven National Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, The Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival and others.
The beaches and the seacoast of the Hamptons are considered among the most beautiful in the world. Students enjoy summer in the Hamptons, known for famous nightlife as well as lovely natural settings. East Hampton Village and beaches are in walking distance of the practice house. Many students have found Pianofest an ideal place to try out concert programs and to prepare for competitions. The Hamptons also hosts other performing festivals, including the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival.
Pianofest offers daily lessons and pianists attend the lessons of their colleagues. Also, they participate in weekly public master classes, often televised. Lessons and master classes are conducted by Pianofest's Director, Paul Schenly, and guest artists, such as Yefim Bronfman, Andre Watts, Richard Goode, Anton Nel, Claude Frank, Arie Vardi, Melvin Chen and Yoheved Kaplinsky, all of whom participated in the past. Many students have appeared in performance on television. Students also perform in private homes. In 1996, Pianofest released its first compact disc recording, featuring student and faculty artists. We will list other faculty for 2013 as soon as we have finalized arrangements.
Pianofest's students have gone on to make their mark at both the national and international level. Here are some examples. Daria Rabotkina, winner of the 2007 Concert Artists Guild International Competition, made appearances with the San Francisco and New World Symphonies under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas and with the Kirov Orchestra and Valery Gergiev in a four concert North American tour. Di Wu was a prize winner in the 2009 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Gille von Sattel was the winner of the 2006 Concours de Genev and recipient of a 2008 Avery Fisher Career Grant.
Awadagin at the White House: Awadagin Pratt participated in a classical music day at the White House on November 4th, including both an afternoon and an evening concert as well as working with piano students. "The program was a sampler, ending with the finale of Mendelssohn’s First Piano Trio, but substantive. It included Mr. Pratt’s herculean transcription of Bach’s organ Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor..." (New York Times, 11/5/2009).
Zsolt Bognar replaced Maurizio Pollini in a solo recital in Suntory Hall in Tokyo. Bill McNally's composition "Mocha Monkey Rag" won top prize for best new ragtime composition in The 2009 World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest. Gleb Ivanov’s (2005 Young Concert Artists winner) busy schedule includes return engagements at the Louvre Museum in Paris, and Anthony Molinaro's new solo piano recording, Canto Per Mio Padre (Song For My Father), recently appeared. Blair McMillen is receiving rave reviews from the New York Times and other media for his American contemporary music series at the Miller Theater of Columbia University. Jim Giles is a professor at Northwestern University and has released a CD of newly commissioned American works.
Here are some examples from earlier years…. Gleb Ivanov won the Young Concert Artists auditions. Michael Brown won the 2012 Concert Artists Guild. Awadagin Pratt, Anthony Molinaro, and then Giles Vonsattel won the Walter F. Naumburg International Piano Competition. Sergei Babayan won the Robert Casadesus, Scottish International and Hamamatsu International Competitions. Kathryn Brown won the USIA Artistic Ambassador Competition. Hsin-Bei Lee won the Leschetitsky Association's New York Debut Competition. Myong Joo-Lee won the Pro Piano Debut Competition. Margarita Shevchenko won the Cleveland International Piano Competition. Alexander Slobodyanik was the winner of the Gilmore International Piano Award. Orion Weiss was awarded the Irving S. Gilmore Young Artist Award and an Avery Fisher Career Grant. Andrew Russo won the Palm Beach Invitational International Competition. Yung Wook Yoo won the 13th Paloma O'Shea Santander International Piano Competition. Chuan Qin won the Beijing International Piano Competition. Van Cuong won the World International Piano Competition in Cincinnati and Konstantin Soukhovetski won the Hilton Head Competition.
In addition, from earlier years…. Chuan Qin won First Prize in the Olivier Messiaen Competition in France. Orion Weiss and Konstantin Soukhovetski performed at Paul Hall in a concert broadcast over radio as co-winners of the Bachauer Competition. Soyeon Lee and Konstantin won the second and third prizes at the 2003 Cleveland International Piano Competition. In addition, Xiang Zou won the Honens International Competition. Other significant performances include: Greg Anderson’s performance of Beethoven’s Concerto No. 4 at Avery Fisher Hall; Orion Weiss’s debut with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; and Michael Schneider’s performance at New York’s Weill Hall as winner of the Frina Auerbach competition. Gilles von Sattel joined the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society.
Martin Leung has been recorded from a live Pianofest performance of Virgil Thomson’s Glissando etude. This performance is now available for viewing on the worldwide web on YouTube. Martin has also made several concert tours in South America and throughout the United States sponsored by Sony Entertainment. Konstantin Soukhovetsky won first prize in the New Orleans competition. A recording of American music by Andy Russo was nominated for a Grammy. Michelle Cann won first prize at the Tuesday Musical Club Competition in Akron, Ohio. Michael Brown was last year’s William Petchek Award winner at Juilliard.
Soyeon Lee won the 2010 Walter F. Naumburg International Piano Competition, and Orion Weiss has recorded for Naxos the complete works for piano and orchestra by George Gershwin.