Pierre van der Westhuizen
With performances described as showcasing the “utmost polish,” “impressive control” with a “broad stylistic spectrum” (Beeld, South Africa), South African pianist Pierre van der Westhuizen has established himself as an accomplished and versatile musician, with critically acclaimed performances across South Africa, the USA, and Europe. Pierre graduated from Northwest University (Potchefstroom, South Africa) with a double major in Piano Performance and Composition. Pierre has received several prizes, awards and scholarships, which included the M.C. Rhoode Memorial Performance Prize, and a grant from the National Research Foundation. He made his concerto debut in 1998, performing with the National Chamber Orchestra of South Africa. He continued his studies in the U.S., completing the Doctor of Musical Arts in piano performance at the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati (2007), under the guidance of Frank Weinstock. His performances have been heard on WCLV (Cleveland), WYSU (Youngstown), ClassicFM, and WGTE (Toledo), and he has appeared as guest artist with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra under the direction of maestro Chelsea Tipton, as well as frequent collaborations with violinists Annette-Barbara Vogel and Ioana Galu.
Pierre is also part of the Westhuizen Piano Duo, with his wife Sophié. As duo, they have performed across the U.S. and South Africa, where they also teach master classes. Their interest in new music has led them to premiere numerous works by young South African and American composers. They were the first piano duo to receive fellowships as Young Artists at the prestigious PianoTexas International Academy and Festival (formerly the TCU/Cliburn Institute), as well as Shouse Artists at the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, where they shared the stage with artists such as Ann Schein, Wu Han, Jeremy Denk and James Tocco. Their performances were heard on WGTE (Toledo), Radiosonder Grense and ClassicFM. They were featured as guest artists at the Volksblad Arts Festival, Grahamstown National Arts Festival, Northwest University (Potchefstroom) and the University of South Africa/UNISA Concert Series in South Africa, as well as OSU/Port Clinton Arts Festival in Ohio, the “Music at Covenant” series (Cincinnati), Firelands Concert Series, Lakeside Summer Music Festival, and St. Mary’s College in Indiana. They were featured on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series in Chicago, which was broadcast live on NPR and PBS, and have recorded the complete works for two pianos by Poulenc, which has been released by AMP Recordings. The Westhuizen Duo has also just been named international Steinway Artists, and recent highlights include a New York debut at Steinway Hall, as well as being the featured guest artists for concerto and recital performances at the 2017 Baldwin Wallace University Bach Festival.
Pierre also enjoys teaching, and has previously served as guest artist and faculty member at the Colorado International Piano Academy, Cleveland Institute of Music’s Summer Sonata, Chautauqua Institute, and served on the piano faculty of Heidelberg University. Pierre is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Cleveland International Piano Competition, a position he has held since 2011.