PianoSummer at SUNY New Paltz celebrates 21st season with exceptional lineup of artists

PianoSummerSUNY New Paltz presents the 21st season of PianoSummer, an international summer institute and festival dedicated solely to piano music, from July 11 through July 31.  Under the artistic direction of the internationally-renowned maestro, Vladimir Feltsman, concerts, recitals, master classes and piano competitions will take place on the College campus, some free of charge.

PianoSummer Festival kicks off its 2015 season on July 11 at 8 p.m. with a Faculty Gala featuring an assemblage of renowned pianists. The program includes powerhouse performances by Vladimir Feltsman (Bach), Paul Ostrovsky (Beethoven), Phillip Kawin (Beethoven, Schubert), Susan Starr (Chopin), Robert Roux (Brahms), Robert Hamilton (Bartók) and Alexander Korsantia (Ravel).

This year’s guest artists include Hung-Kuan Chen and Vladimir Ovchinnikov.

On July 18 at 8 p.m., Chen will perform works of Bach-Busoni, Liszt, Chopin and Scriabin. Chen is one of the most decorated pianists of his generation – enigmatic, brilliant and versatile – a pianist of dynamic and imaginative artistry and individuality.

Ovchinnikov, who was awarded the title National Artist of Russia by Russia’s president, will present a recital on July 25 at 8 p.m. featuring the works of Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff and Mussorgsky. The London Daily Telegraph describes Ovchinnikov’s playing as “most sensitive and expressive… with subtle shading, clarity and thrust that his mind and fingers combine to produce.”

The Festival concerts conclude on July 31 at 8 p.m. with the Symphony Gala featuring the acclaimed Hudson Valley Philharmonic with Vladimir Feltsman conducting. This special evening features Mahler’s Adagietto from Symphony No. 5, Brahms’ Symphony No. 4 and a concerto performed by the 2015 Jacob Flier Piano Competition winner.

Institute events include a recital by Hui Shan Chin – winner of the 2014 Flier competition, master classes with Hung-Kuan Chen, Vladimir Ovchinnikov and Alexander Toradze and student recitals. Of special note is the Jacob Flier Piano Competition held on July 20 & 22 at 3 p.m. This competition was established to honor the distinguished Russian pianist, Jacob Flier, who taught for many years at the Moscow Conservatory and who brought up generations of prominent musicians including Vladimir Feltsman. The winner performs a piano concerto with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic on July 31.

Tickets for concerts and events are on sale now at the Box Office located in Parker Theatre. Box office hours are Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tickets may also be purchased by calling (845) 257-3880 or online at www.newpaltz.edu/piano.

All concerts and events are open to the public. For the full schedule of events visit www.newpaltz.edu/piano.

About PianoSummer Festival and Institute
PianoSummer was founded in 1994 by renowned maestro Vladimir Feltsman, distinguished professor of piano at SUNY New Paltz. One of the distinctive features of the Institute was, and continues to be, that every student works intensively and simultaneously with all the faculty members who represent a variety of traditions and styles. Additionally, the Institute provides a public setting in which students experience performing in front of an audience. Today, the program continues to focus on an integrated approach to learning and performance.

About the Artistic Director
Vladimir Feltsman, founder and artistic director of PianoSummer, is an artist of immense range and insight, and recognized as one of the most imaginative musicians of our time. Feltsman was born in Moscow in 1952 and debuted as a soloist with the Moscow Philharmonic at the age of 11. He won first prize at the Concertina International Competition in Prague at age 15, an award that led him to enroll in the Moscow Conservatory where he studied under the tutelage of Jacob Flier. He also studied conducting at both the Moscow and the Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) Conservatories. In 1979, because of his growing discontent with the official Soviet ideology and rigid government control of the arts, Feltsman made his intention to emigrate from the Soviet Union clear by applying for an exit visa. In reply, he was immediately banned from performing in public. After eight years of struggle and virtual artistic exile, he was finally granted permission to leave the Soviet Union. In the summer of 1987, Feltsman arrived in the United States and was warmly greeted at the White House, where he performed his very first concert in North America. That same year, his debut at Carnegie Hall immediately established him as a major pianist on the American scene. The PBS television documentary “Journey from Home: Vladimir Feltsman in Moscow” recounts his return to Moscow after being banned from the concert halls. Feltsman is a regular guest soloist with leading orchestras in the U.S. He appears in many concert series and music festivals around the world and has an extensive discography. Feltsman teaches at SUNY New Paltz as well as Mannes College of Music in New York City.