A Reflection on the 2004 Gilmore Keyboard Festival with Andrew von Oeyen

December 18, 2020

andrew von oeyen casual headshot

Opening at 7:30 PM ET tonight, we will be showing In the Key of G, a film about the 2004 Gilmore International Keyboard Festival. One of the pianists featured in the film was 2000 Gilmore Young Artist Andrew von Oeyen and he was kind enough to answer some questions about his experience for us. You can watch the film whenever you like until January 17, 2021.

How did you feel when you found out that you had received the Gilmore Young Artist Award?
Andrew von Oeyen: I believe I was slaving away in a windowless Juilliard practice room when I received a call from The Gilmore. The news came as a total surprise and I was absolutely elated — it felt like winning the lottery — especially as I was well aware of The Gilmore from other students and faculty at school. I hated the stress of competitions so it was a relief to have won something without having had to “compete.”

Are there any moments that stick out for you from your time at the 2004 Gilmore Keyboard Festival?
AvO: Besides my performances with the Grand Rapids Symphony and David Lockington, I think my favorite part was just spending time with the other Gilmore laureates. It is rare for pianists to get to interact so much with each other and we were able to develop a sense of camaraderie during the Festival.

von Oeyen with 2000 Gilmore Young Artist Orion Weiss at their performance in 2000


What is the most challenging part of performing with other pianists? What is the most rewarding part?
AvO: Ours is a percussive instrument, so getting multiple pianos to play together is far more difficult than getting stringed instruments to play together.  Also, several pianos together gets very loud very quickly.  In my opinion, once you have three or more pianos playing together on stage it becomes as much spectacle as musical, so perhaps the most rewarding part is simply “playing together” — in every sense of the term!

Has the way you’ve performed changed at all in the past 16 years? If so, how?
AvO: Absolutely. There is a world of knowledge and confidence that one gains between the ages of 25 and 41. Time and experience has made me a freer musician with stronger convictions, and I am able to get to the heart of the meaning of a score far more quickly and easily today than I could in my twenties. When I compare my recording of a work today to a recording I made of the same work then I hear a much more “complete” interpretation today.

Thank you to Mr. von Oeyen for answering our questions! You can get your ticket to access the free film here.

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