PianoSummer presents three weeks of outstanding classical music

vladimir_hands_2The 2016 season of PianoSummer brings exceptional talent and dynamic classical music to SUNY New Paltz, with concerts, recitals, piano competitions and master classes taking place on campus from July 9-29.

Founded in 1994, PianoSummer is an international summer institute and festival dedicated solely to piano music, featuring an integrated approach to learning and performance under the artistic direction of master pianist and teacher Vladimir Feltsman.

In addition to performances by internationally renowned pianists, the PianoSummer program includes the annual Jacob Flier Piano Competition, an open contest for musicians under the age of 35. Winners are spotlighted at special recitals and will receive scholarships for further study. The competition is named for Russian pianist and educator Jacob Flier, who taught for many years at the Moscow Conservatory.

The festival kicks off at McKenna Theatre on July 9 with the Faculty Gala, featuring an extraordinary group of renowned pianists performing pieces by some of history’s greatest composers: Paul Ostrovsky (Bach), Phillip Kawin (Schubert), Alexander Korsantia (Beethoven), Vladimir Feltsman (Brahms), Susan Starr (Chopin) and Robert Hamilton (Villa-Lobos).

This season’s guest artists are Victor Rosenbaum and Daria Rabotkina, who will perform at 8 p.m. at McKenna Theatre on July 16 and 23, respectively.

The Boston Globe has described Rosenbaum as “one of those artists who make up for all the drudgery the habitual concertgoer endures in the hopes of finding the real, right thing.” His performance at New Paltz will feature Beethoven’s “Rondo in C major,” Brahms’ “Six Pieces” and Schubert’s “Sonata in B-flat major”.

Rabotkina, a past recipient of the PianoSummer Jacob Flier Competition award, impresses audiences and critics alike with her “clearly prodigious musical gifts,” says The Washington Post. Her program includes Schumann’s “Humoreske,” Prokofiev’s “Ten Pieces for Piano” and Manuel de Falla’s “The Three-Cornered Hat.”

The festival concerts conclude on July 29 at 8 p.m. with the Symphony Gala, also at McKenna Theatre. The capstone performance features acclaimed Hudson Valley Philharmonic, with PianoSummer founder and Artistic Director Vladimir Feltsman conducting renditions of Rachmaninoff’s “Vocalise” and Brahms’ “Symphony #3.”

The Symphony Gala will also feature a solo performance by the 2016 Jacob Flier Piano Competition winner.

PianoSummer Institute events will include a recital by Ryo Kaneko, the 2015 Jacob Flier Piano Competition winner, master classes with Victor Rosenbaum, Jerome Rose and Paul Ostrovsky, and three student recitals.

Tickets for concerts and events are on sale now at the McKenna Theatre Box Office, open 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 https://www.newpaltz.edu/piano/.

All concerts and events are open to the public. A complete schedule of events is available at https://www.newpaltz.edu/piano/institute/events/.

About the Artistic Director
Vladimir Feltsman, founder and artistic director of PianoSummer, is 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, and later studied under Jacob Flier at the Moscow Conservatory. In 1979, Feltsman applied for an exit visa in an expression of discontent with the official Soviet Union ideology and rigid government control of the arts. He was promptly banned from performing in public. After eight years of virtual artistic exile, Feltsman was finally granted permission to leave the Soviet Union in 1987. His first concert in North America was given at the White House, and his debut at Carnegie Hall immediately established him as a major pianist on the American scene. Feltsman is regularly invited to perform with leading orchestras in the U.S., appears in many concert series and music festivals around the world and has released an extensive discography. Feltsman teaches at SUNY New Paltz and at Mannes College of Music in New York City.