Announcing the 2022 Gilmore Piano Festival

January 10, 2022

The Gilmore Piano Festival—the largest gathering of keyboard artists in North America—returns to live performance this year with appearances by nearly 50 pianists in more than 100 concerts and events from Sunday, April 24 to Sunday, May 15. Highlights of the 15th biennial Gilmore Piano Festival include the return of 2018 Gilmore Artist Igor Levit; an opening night of jazz with 14-time Grammy Award-winner Herbie Hancock; a duo program by sibling musicians Isata (piano) and Sheku (cello) Kanneh-Mason; world premieres of Gilmore commissions from Matthew Aucoin, Tyshawn Sorey, and Andrius Žlabys; and educational offerings as part of a new career-advancement initiative, The Gilmore Festival Fellows residency program. The festival’s diverse performance schedule is complemented by an extensive series of master classes, pre-concert talks, film screenings, and lectures, as well as an interactive, public art installation. 

Gilmore Director Pierre van der Westhuizen said:

“The Gilmore Festival has always celebrated excellence and to showcase such a diverse range of artists for in-person audiences is truly exciting. We hope 2022 will give piano lovers the opportunity to reconnect with some of their favorite artists and also make new discoveries as we come together to share the joy and inspiration of live music once again. We are pleased to welcome back many of our recent Award recipients including Igor Levit, Kirill Gerstein, and Ingrid Fliter, as well as nearly 50 other extraordinary pianists across generations and genres from around the globe.”

Since its founding in 1989, the festival has taken place at venues in Kalamazoo and across West Michigan, a region characterized by rolling countryside—filled with orchards, wineries, art galleries, and farmers markets—and the natural beauty of nearby Lake Michigan. In 2020, the challenges of the pandemic led The Gilmore to bolster its digital capabilities and expand the reach of the festival virtually to music lovers in their homes, whether in West Michigan or beyond. Now, The Gilmore brings the virtual and traditional festival experiences together, offering to online audiences via the Gilmore website more than 35 livestreamed festival performances (notated throughout the release with a red asterisk*) that take place before an in-person audience in West Michigan. Select livestreamed performances will also be available to stream via the DG Stage as part of a new partnership between The Gilmore and Deutsche Grammophon. 

Ticket sales open to the public on February 7. Purchase online at thegilmore.org, by phone at (269) 359-7311, or in person at the Gilmore box office, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall. E-tickets will be available for livestreamed events, also at thegilmore.org, on a pay-what-you-can basis.

 Click here for The Gilmore Piano Festival at-a-glance calendar. 

 

SOLO RECITALS

Igor Levit, 2018 Gilmore Artist Performs at the 2022 Gimore Piano Festival
2018 Gilmore Artist Igor Levit

The 2022 festival features solo recitals by 11 of today’s leading pianists, including 2018 Gilmore Artist Igor Levit. Additionally, two recitals each will be given by 2022 Gilmore Young Artists Janice Carissa and Clayton Stephenson.

Hailed as “one of the finest pianists of the new generation” by The New York Times, Beatrice Rana opens her recital on Thursday, April 28* with Chopin’s four scherzos, featured on her latest album—winner of the 2021 Diapason d’Or de l’Année award in the “Piano” category. The concert program continues with Debussy’s Etudes and Stravinsky’s Trois mouvements de Petrouchka. (Beatrice Rana gives a master class on Friday, April 29.*)

Jan Lisiecki performs an all-Chopin recital on Friday, April 29* that features the composer’s complete Op. 10 etudes interwoven with selected nocturnes. An exclusive Deutsche Grammophon recording artist since age 15, Mr. Lisiecki has recorded the complete Chopin nocturnes and etudes for the label. In 2013, the same year he became the youngest-ever Gramophone Young Artist Award winner, that publication praised his collection of the etudes for its “inimitable subtlety and elegance.” His two-disc set of the nocturnes was released in August 2021 (5 out of 5 stars, BBC Music Magazine), and this past summer he spoke with The New York Times about his approach to these works. (Jan Lisiecki gives a master class on Thursday, April 28.*)

The music of Chopin is also the focus of Emanuel Ax’s recital on Saturday, April 30.* His program offers a portrait of the composer through a wide variety of works, including the Polonaise-Fantaisie, Barcarolle, Sonata No. 3, Scherzo No. 4, and selected nocturnes and mazurkas. Mr. Ax, a multi-Grammy Award-winning artist, brings Chopin to venues around the country this season, and he can also be heard this year in orchestral performances with Michael Tilson Thomas and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Alan Gilbert and The Cleveland Orchestra, and Marek Janowski and the National Symphony Orchestra, among others. (Emanuel Ax joins Gilmore Director Pierre van der Westhuizen in conversation on Sunday, May 1.)

A champion of contemporary music who regularly collaborates with today’s leading composers, 2010 Gilmore Artist Kirill Gerstein returns to perform the world premiere of a new work for solo piano by MacArthur “Genius Grant”-winning composer Matthew Aucoin on Sunday, May 1.* Since winning the Gilmore Artist Award, Mr. Gerstein has devoted a significant portion of his prize earnings to commissioning new music, including from Timo Andres, Chick Corea, Alexander Goehr, Oliver Knussen, and Brad Mehldau. Mr. Aucoin’s new 15-minute work was commissioned by The Gilmore for Mr. Gerstein, and he pairs it on his festival program with Debussy’s Etudes, which he learned as a special project during the pandemic lockdown. (Kirill Gerstein gives a master class on Saturday, April 30.)

Igor Levit, the most recently named Gilmore Artist (2018), makes his long-awaited festival return on Monday, May 2 with a varied program spanning the centuries—from Bach to Busoni. “An authoritative Beethovenian” (The New Yorker) whose cycle of the composer’s piano sonatas has garnered worldwide acclaim, Mr. Levit spotlights in his Gilmore program one of the most obscure works in Beethoven’s entire catalogue—the Two Preludes Through All Major Keys, Op. 39. These preludes—curiosities of music theory—are performed alongside more familiar musical experiments from Bach’s The Art of Fugue (Contrapuncti 1, 4, and 11), as well as Busoni’s extravagant Fantasia Contrappuntistica, itself an homage to The Art of Fugue. The program also includes Schumann’s Fantasie, Op. 17.

On Tuesday, May 3,* Michelle Cann, a champion of the music of Florence Price, performs the composer’s Piano Sonata in E minor and Fantasie Nègre No. 1 in E minor. Last year, with The Philadelphia Orchestra under Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, she gave the Philadelphia premiere of Price’s Concerto in One Movement, of which she also gave the New York premiere in 2016 with The Dream Unfinished Orchestra. In addition to works by Florence Price, her Gilmore program features Margaret Bonds’s Troubled Water, Clara Schumann’s Variations on a Theme by Robert Schumann, Op. 20, and ballades by Chopin and Brahms.

Seong-Jin Cho, who won first prize in the 2015 Chopin Competition, brings his acclaimed interpretations of the composer’s music to The Gilmore on Tuesday, May 3* with a program including the four scherzos. His approach to the Polish master has been praised for its “remarkable sense of phrase and musical breathing, in a world where sentimentality has so plagued Chopinian interpretation” (Le Devoir). Mr. Cho pairs the scherzos with two popular works by Ravel—Gaspard de la Nuit and the Pavane pour une Infante défunte. Mr. Cho’s recital is livestreamed in partnership with Deutsche Grammophon’s DG Stage. 

From 19th-century French waltzes and Slavic folk dances to 20th-century Spanish tangos and American rags, Lise de la Salle’s program when do we dance? is a globe-trotting tour of dance-inspired works. Presented by The Gilmore on Wednesday, May 4,* the program is based on Ms. de la Salle’s latest album and includes Ravel’s Valses nobles et sentimentales, Bartók’s Romanian Folk Dances, Ginastera’s Danzas Argentinas, Op. 2, and Art Tatum’s Tea for Two, among other pieces. Additional highlights of her season include performances with the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris under Lars Vogt, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin with Lionel Bringuier, and Orchestre de la Suisse Romande under Fabio Luisi. (Lise de la Salle gives a master class on Thursday, May 5.)

On Thursday, May 5,* Venezuelan-born pianist Sergio Tiempo pairs Chopin’s Piano Sonata No. 3 with a variety of works from the Americas. The latter include compositions by Piazzolla, Copland, Villa-Lobos, and Ginastera, whose Piano Concerto No. 1 he toured across the U.S. and Europe with conductor Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Mr. Tiempo has counted Martha Argerich and the late Nelson Freire among his most important mentors, and he has recorded piano-duo repertoire with both artists. (Sergio Tiempo gives a master class on Friday, May 6.)

Possessing “extraordinary technique and [an] ability to play densely harmonized works with an illuminating transparency” (The New York Times), the Armenian-born pianist Sergei Babayan opens his Friday, May 6* recital with Busoni’s richly textured transcription of Bach’s Chaconne in D minor. The program continues with Schubert transcriptions by Liszt, miniatures by Rachmaninoff, Schumann’s Kreisleriana, and the world premiere of a new Gilmore commission, Echoes of light, by Andrius Žlabys, who will discuss the work in a pre-concert talk. Mr. Babayan studied piano in Moscow before leaving the USSR in 1989 and winning consecutive first prizes at the Cleveland International, Hamamatsu, and the Scottish International Piano Competitions. Today, he is recognized not only for his own artistry, but also as a teacher and mentor to leading pianists of the younger generation, including Daniil Trifonov. 

Grammy Award-winning pianist Daniil Trifonov, hailed by The Times (U.K.) as “without question the most astounding pianist of our age,” returns to the festival on Saturday, May 7.* He performs a pair of piano sonatas—the third sonatas of Brahms and Szymanowski—and two suites—Prokofiev’s Sarcasms and Debussy’s Pour le piano. His interpretations of the Sarcasms, in particular—as recorded on his 2020 album Silver Age (Deutsche Grammophon)—have been described as possessing “a vinegary, dyspeptic tang tartly in tune with the music’s acidic intentions” (Limelight).

On Sunday, May 8,* Jonathan Biss, a 2002 Gilmore Young Artist and “one of today’s foremost Beethoven exponents” (Chicago Tribune), follows his decade-long Beethoven immersion with a recital of the composer’s last three piano sonatas: Op. 109 in E major, Op. 110 in A-flat major; and Op. 111 in C minor. Mr. Biss’s ten-year focus on the music of Beethoven included numerous concert series, recordings, writings, lectures, and new commissions of Beethoven-inspired works. His central focus was the composer’s piano sonatas, which he recorded in full, while also offering insight into all 32 via his free, online Coursera lecture series Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas. With his festival program of the final three sonatas, Mr. Biss reprises the virtual 92Y recital program that he performed in March 2020 for an online audience of more than 280,000 people, one of the first major at-home concerts of the early pandemic era. (Jonathan Biss gives a master class on Saturday, May 7.*)

Festival recitalists also include 2022 Gilmore Young Artists Janice Carissa and Clayton Stephenson, who each perform two solo recitals—one in Kalamazoo and one elsewhere for the greater West Michigan community—as well as a chamber music program together (see “Chamber Music” below).

 

Introducing 2022 Gilmore Young Artists Janice Carissa and Clayton Stephenson

janice carissa and clayton stephenson combination image

Named the 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, Clayton Stephenson balances studies at Harvard and the New England Conservatory with a burgeoning career that has included guest appearances with the Louisville Orchestra and Chicago Sinfonietta; performances at Carnegie Hall, Beethovenfest Bonn, Kissinger Sommer Festival in Bad Kissinger, and the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris; and appearances on NPR, WUOL, and WQXR. He has been recognized with many accolades, including prizes from the 2015 Cliburn Junior International Piano Competition and the 2016 Cooper International Piano Competition. He is also a Young Scholar of the Lang Lang International Music Foundation. At the NEC, he studies with Wha Kyung Byun.

For his Gilmore recitals on Friday, April 29 and Sunday, May 1, Mr. Stephenson has put together an inventive program of works ranging from Stravinsky, Prokofiev, and Godowsky to Gershwin, Art Tatum, and Hiromi Uehara. In addition to these performances and his chamber music collaboration with Ms. Carissa, he performs with the Lansing Symphony Orchestra as part of this year’s festival (see “Orchestral Concerts” below).

Janice Carissa is a rising star to watch (Philadelphia Inquirer) and has been praised for a “fleet-fingered touch that is particularly impressive” (Chicago Classical Review). Her two recitals on Sunday, May 1 and Friday, May 6 feature Beethoven’s “Pathétique” Sonata, selections from Granados’s selections from Goyescas, and Prokofiev’s Sonata No. 8.

Ms. Carissa’s artistry has captivated audiences in such venues as The Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House, Millennium Park’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion, and WQXR’s Greene Space, and via platforms including PBS, WQXR, WHYY, The Violin Channel, and NPR’s From The Top. She has appeared with ensembles including The Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Cristian Măcelaru and Stéphane Denève; the Kansas City Symphony, led by Peter Oundjian; and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, replacing André Watts. Her chamber music collaborators have included Vadim Gluzman, Miriam Fried, David Shifrin, Lucy Shelton, and players of the Berlin Philharmonic Scharoun Ensemble. She has also given world premieres of compositions by Timo Andres, Wang Jie, Katherine Balch, and Alyssa Weinberg, among others. She currently studies with Gary Graffman and Robert McDonald at the Curtis Institute of Music.

 

ORCHESTRA CONCERTS

image of Maxim Lando (left), Ingrid Fliter (middle), Misha Galant (right)
Left to right: 2020 Gilmore Young Artist Maxim Lando; 2006 Gilmore Artist Ingrid Fliter;
2020 Gilmore Young Artist Misha Galant

This year, The Gilmore brings festival artists together with four orchestras from across the state of Michigan. On April 29, 30, and May 1, in a co-presentation with the Jackson Symphony Orchestra, 2018 Gilmore Young Artist Elliot Wuu returns to the festival for performances of Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1, conducted by JSO Music Director Matthew Aubin. Since being honored by The Gilmore, Mr. Wuu has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Ravinia Steans Music Institute (virtual), and at the Aspen Music Festival in duo recitals with Conrad Tao. He also won the Music Academy of the West’s 2019 Solo Piano Competition.

In Battle Creek on Saturday, May 7, Bosnian pianist Pedja Mužijević is the featured soloist in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 with the Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Music Director Anne Harrigan. Mr. Mužijević has appeared in the U.S. with orchestras including the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra; Spoleto Festival Orchestra; and the Atlanta, Milwaukee, and New Jersey symphonies. He has also given solo and chamber recitals at Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, and London’s Barbican Centre and has toured with Mikhail Baryshnikov and the White Oak Dance Project throughout the United States, South America, Europe, and Asia.

In addition to appearing as one of the festival’s solo and chamber recitalists, 2022 Gilmore Young Artist Clayton Stephenson joins the Lansing Symphony Orchestra for a Friday, May 13 performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1. Mr. Stephenson has previously performed this concerto with the Louisville Orchestra and Calgary Philharmonic. The concert takes place in East Lansing and is conducted by LSO Music Director Timothy Muffitt. (See above and below, respectively, for Mr. Stephenson’s solo and chamber music recitals during the 2022 festival.)

The festival concludes on Sunday, May 15* with a finale program featuring three pianists and three concertos, performed with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra under Music Director Julian Kuerti. The three soloists—2006 Gilmore Artist Ingrid Fliter and 2020 Gilmore Young Artists Misha Galant and Maxim Lando—open the program with J.S. Bach’s Triple Concerto, BWV 1063. Mr. Galant and Mr. Lando then join forces in Poulenc’s Concerto for Two Pianos. Ms. Fliter closes the program—and the festival—with a performance of Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1. Her recordings of the Chopin piano concertos were reviewed by The Guardian as “very much Chopin playing in the great tradition: rich-toned, generous though never profligate with its rubato, and invested with a vast range of keyboard colour.”

 

CHAMBER MUSIC

Sheku and Isata Kanneh-Mason pose for a portrait
Isata and Sheku Kanneh-Mason

The 2022 festival showcases the piano in a variety of chamber music contexts, starting with a recital by Isata (piano) and Sheku (cello) Kanneh-Mason on Monday, May 2.* Raised in Nottingham, England, they are two of seven talented siblings, all of whom play either the violin, piano, or cello. Isata Kanneh-Mason is the recipient of the 2021 Leonard Bernstein Award and a 2020 Opus Klassik award for “Best Young Artist,” while her brother won the 2016 BBC Young Musician competition and became a household name in 2018 after performing at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Highly sought-after as soloists and as a duo, the Kanneh-Masons perform cello sonatas by Shostakovich, Britten, Bridge, and Karen Khachaturian (the nephew of Aram Khachaturian) at the festival.

On Wednesday, May 4,* Billboard Chart-topping pianist and NPR Music host Lara Downes is joined by soprano Nicole Cabell and guitarist JIJI for a special program celebrating women composers, particularly women of color, whose voices are vastly under-represented in today’s concert halls. The recital features compositions by Margaret Bonds, Billie Holiday, Florence Price, Lil Hardin Armstrong, Nora Holt, Amy Beach, and contemporary composers Meredith Monk and Clarice Assad. With this program, Ms. Downes explores, in part, works from her ongoing Rising Sun Music series, which surveys music by Black composers spanning nearly 200 years.

Recently named 2022 Gilmore Young Artists Janice Carissa and Clayton Stephenson come together on Thursday, May 5* for a recital that sees them performing both as a duo and separately as soloists. As a duo, they perform Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos in D major, K. 448; an arrangement of (Aram) Khachaturian’s Sabre Dance; and Lutosławski’s Variations on a Theme by Paganini. Their solo sets consist of selections from their respective solo recital programs. (For details on the latter, as well as Mr. Stephenson’s festival performance with the Lansing Symphony Orchestra, see above.)

Pianists Eva-Maria Zimmerman and Keisuke Nakagoshi, who perform as the piano duo ZOFO, bring together music and dance with their performance on Sunday, May 8.* Throughout the program, the duo alternates movements from Urmas Sisask’s The Spiral Symphony and a piano duet arrangement of Holst’s The Planets, along with David Lang’s gravity and selections from George Crumb’s Celestial Mechanics. The musical performance is complemented by the choreography of Kalamazoo-based dance company Wellspring/Cori Terry & Dancers. (Eva-Maria Zimmerman and Keisuke Nakagoshi give a master class on Monday, May 9.)

On Wednesday, May 11,* pianist and new music advocate Conor Hanick joins Sandbox Percussion in a program of 20th-century and contemporary music that includes the world premiere of a new Gilmore commission from MacArthur “Genius Grant”-winning composer Tyshawn Sorey. Mr. Hanick’s playing has been praised by The New York Times as “breathtaking, at once penetrating and mystifying,” and he has premiered more than 200 works to date. He has worked with such musical icons as Steve Reich, Kaija Saariaho, and Charles Wuorinen, while also championing important voices of his own generation including Caroline Shaw and Nina Young. Sandbox Percussion, too, has received widespread acclaim as a leading proponent of contemporary percussion music (“virtuosic and utterly mesmerizing,” The Guardian).

Mr. Hanick and the ensemble’s recital program also includes works by Ligeti, Messiaen, Christopher Cerrone, and Andy Akiho. Mr. Cerrone, whose works-to-be-performed are Don’t Look Down and Natural History of Vacant Lots, will be on hand for a pre-concert talk. (Conor Hanick and Sandbox Percussion join Gilmore Director of Education Adam Schumaker in conversation on Tuesday, May 10.)

Also on Wednesday, May 11,* pianist Lori Sims and violinist Jinjoo Cho perform a recital comprising Clara Schumann’s Three Romances, Op. 22, Janáček’s Violin Sonata, and Beethoven’s Sonata No. 9 in A major, Op. 47 (“Kreutzer”). Ms. Sims, whose playing has been described by The New York Times as “big and powerful … but capable of considerable delicacy as well,” has balanced teaching at Western Michigan University with a concert career that has seen her performing with the Israel Philharmonic, Utah Symphony, and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Cho has won numerous competitions around the globe—from the U.S. to Canada to Argentina to China—and has performed at top venues worldwide, including in orchestral and recital debuts at Carnegie Hall. (Lori Sims gives master classes on Wednesday, May 4 and Tuesday, May 10.)

Prior to performing in the Sunday, May 15 festival finale (see above), 2006 Gilmore Artist Ingrid Fliter joins her husband—the clarinetist Anton Dressler—and members of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra for a concert of chamber works on Thursday, May 12.* The program features Mozart’s Quintet in E-flat major, K. 452; Schumann’s Märchenerzählungen (for piano, clarinet, and viola), Op. 132; and Brahms’s Trio in A minor for piano, clarinet, and cello, Op. 114.

 

JAZZ

herbie hancock emerging from cloud of smoke
Herbie Hancock

Jazz icon Herbie Hancock opens this year’s festival with a solo performance on Sunday, April 24. A winner of 14 Grammy Awards, Mr. Hancock has been described by NPR as “arguably the most influential practitioner of modern jazz piano since Thelonious Monk.” He is credited as one of the originators of the post-bop sound through his now-legendary partnership with Miles Davis in the 1960s, and he is also recognized for pioneering work in the areas of jazz-funk and the use of electric instruments in jazz. His music for the 1986 film Round Midnight won him that year’s Academy Award for Best Original Score. He currently teaches at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music and heads the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz in Washington, DC.

Also during opening week of the festival, New York-based jazz singer Svetlana takes listeners back to the Prohibition era with a “Roaring ’20s” cabaret show with pianist Willerm Delisfort on Wednesday, April 27 and an evening of early jazz and swing music on Friday, April 29.* She is joined in the latter performance by the Delancey Five, a group she founded amidst the swing culture revival. They started out performing at the only remaining authentic speakeasy in New York, The Back Room, and since then, this “outstanding band” and its “exceptional vocalist and songwriter” (The Wall Street Journal) have brought their vintage brand of jazz to audiences worldwide.

Described by Vanity Fair as “the most arrestingly innovative pianist in jazz over the last decade,” Fred Hersch performs with his trio on Sunday, May 1.* A 15-time Grammy nominee, Mr. Hersch has regularly garnered jazz’s most prestigious awards, including distinctions as a 2016 Doris Duke Artist, 2016 and 2018 Jazz Pianist of the Year from the Jazz Journalists Association, and the 2017 Prix Honorem de Jazz from L’Acádemie Charles Cros for the totality of his career.

Jazz at The Gilmore continues with the Sullivan Fortner Trio on Monday, May 9* and Tuesday, May 10. Grammy Award-winning pianist Sullivan Fortner has collaborated with artists ranging from Wynton Marsalis to Paul Simon and has appeared on the stages of Jazz at Lincoln Center and the Newport and Monterey Jazz Festivals, among others. On Monday, May 9 and Wednesday, May 11,* audiences will hear the Kalamazoo-based jazz ensemble TRI-FI, lauded by DownBeat for their musicians’ “intimate group interplay” and “flawless intercommunication.” TRI-FI was formed in 2003 by pianist and winner of the Great American Jazz Piano Competition Matthew Fries, Grammy Award-winning bassist Phil Palombi, and drummer Keith Hall, who is on the jazz faculty of Western Michigan University.

Praised by The New Yorker for “swing[ing] standards with enviable panache,” 3Divas performs on Tuesday, May 10* and Wednesday, May 11. Formed by drummer Sherrie Maricle, bassist Amy Shook, and pianist Jackie Warren in 2014, the group has since toured widely around the U.S. Their latest album, Christmas in 3D, was featured among The New York Times’ “20 Albums That Put a New Spin on the Holidays.”

The Fox/Wolf Duo gives performances blending jazz and classical repertoire on Thursday, May 12* and Friday, May 13. The duo comprises longtime collaborators Donal Fox—a pianist, composer, arranger, Guggenheim Fellow, and the first African-American composer-in-residence with the St. Louis Symphony—and Warren Wolf, a percussionist and multi-instrumentalist who has studied classical music with members of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, studied jazz at the Berklee College of Music, and has since collaborated with such artists as Esperanza Spalding, Kevin Eubanks, and Wynton Marsalis and The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, among others.

Having come to jazz by way of classical music, pianist-composer Dan Tepfer brings his unique style to the festival with trio performances on Thursday, May 12 and Friday, May 13.* He has continued to blur the lines between jazz and classical throughout his career, as in his 2011 album Goldberg Variations / Variations, hailed by New York magazine as “elegant, thoughtful and thrilling.” His accolades, too, reflect the recognition he has achieved in both worlds; in addition to being named JazzTimes’ “Best New Artist” and DownBeat’s “Rising Star Pianist,” he has also received a Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a MacDowell Fellowship and residency at the MacDowell Colony.

On Thursday, May 12, pianist, organist, composer, and educator Emmet Cohen returns to the festival with his trio. A recent winner of the prestigious Cole Porter Fellowship, Mr. Cohen has performed at major jazz festivals around the world, as well as at such venues as the Village Vanguard, the Blue Note, Birdland, Jazz Standard, London’s Ronnie Scott’s, Jazzhaus Montmartre in Copenhagen, Lincoln Center’s Rose Hall, the Cotton Club in Tokyo, and Washington DC’s Kennedy Center.

World-renowned tango jazz pianist Pablo Ziegler leads his trio on Friday, May 13.* Mr. Ziegler is recognized as a master of the nuevo tango style, having been a longtime collaborator of the artist who invented it, Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla. The Pablo Ziegler Trio’s 2017 album Jazz Tango won the Grammy Award for “Best Latin Jazz Album.”

The 2022 festival marks the beginning of a new partnership between The Gilmore and the John Stites Jazz Artist Organization that was founded in 2021 in memory of Kalamazoo-based recording engineer John Stites. The organization has committed to providing annual grants ranging from $20,000 to $150,000 to support The Gilmore’s world-class jazz programming, covering artist fees for jazz musicians performing at The Gilmore International Piano Festival, The Gilmore Rising Stars Series, and a new Jazz Piano Masters concert that will be presented biennially in years that there is no festival, beginning in 2023.

 

THE GILMORE FESTIVAL FELLOWS PROGRAM

9 people who participated in the Gilmore Festival Fellows Program

This year, The Gilmore hosts the inaugural residencies of The Gilmore Festival Fellows program, a new career-advancement initiative for classical pianists aged 18 or older. Fellows are in residence for one of three five-day residency sessions during the festival, each of which blends the festival experience with a curriculum designed to develop the diverse skills—artistic, financial, and social—needed to build a successful career as a pianist.

Each residency session is overseen by one of three different Artist Teachers in Residence: Paul Schenly, Artistic Director of PianoFest in the Hamptons and the Cleveland International Piano Competition; Michelle Cann, Eleanor Sokoloff Chair in Piano Studies, Curtis Institute of Music; and Ingrid Fliter, 2006 Gilmore Artist. During their five days at the festival, Fellows develop their technique and musical understanding through daily coaching with their Artist Teacher and participate in and observe master classes with renowned artists and faculty.

Fellows also take part in workshops and career-coaching sessions focused on the business side of an artistic career and the personal and interpersonal challenges of life as a concert pianist led by guest experts including Eunbi Kim, pianist and Co-Founder of bespoken; Lara Downes, pianist, arts advocate, and host of NPR Music’s AMPLIFY with Lara Downes; Oni Buchanan, poet, pianist, and Founder and Director of Ariel Artists; Amanda Cook, Editor in Chief of I Care If You Listen; Jonathan Biss, 2002 Gilmore Young Artist and author / narrator of the recent Audible Original Unquiet: My Life With Beethoven; and Aaron Dworkin, social entrepreneur, performing artist, filmmaker, philanthropist, Founder of the Sphinx Organization, and Professor of Arts Leadership & Entrepreneurship, University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance. All guest expert workshops are also livestreamed for online audiences.

Click here for further information on the Gilmore Festival Fellows program. 

The Gilmore Festival Fellows program is made possible through
the generous support of the Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne.

 

ADDITIONAL EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES

rob schwimmer conducting
Pianist, thereminist, and Haken Continuum player Rob Schwimmer

Beyond The Gilmore Festival Fellows program and the festival’s core lineup of performances, The Gilmore presents a variety of additional programming designed to further enhance attendees’ appreciation for the keyboard and all of the ways it can be used to enrich our lives.

New to the festival this season is the inclusion of a public art installation that will be on display at Western Michigan University’s Dalton Center Multimedia Room from Sunday, May 1 to Tuesday, May 10. Titled Oscillators, the installation features pendulums created from the keys of a deconstructed piano. Visitors are encouraged to set the pendulums in motion, which will create musical chords and a dramatic effect of light and dark within the space. Oscillators is an original work created for the Festival by Intermedio, a group of artists, designers, and musicians who specialize in immersive environments, performances, and interactive installations. Oscillators is free and open to the public.

The festival offers comedic relief in the form of Igudesman & Joo—violinist Aleksey Igudesman and pianist Hyung-ki Joo—whose shows have entertained millions around the world. In addition to performing their unique brand of musical comedy at venues from Carnegie Hall to Vienna’s Musikverein, and with orchestras including the Los Angeles and New York Philharmonics, the duo is also an internet sensation, their videos having garnered more than 45 million views on YouTube. Igudesman & Joo perform their program “Play It Again” on Monday, May 9.*

Founded and led by keyboardist Thomas Lauderdale, genre-bending supergroup Pink Martini has been a regular at the festival since 2012. The band returns on Tuesday, May 10, performing its characteristic blend of classical, jazz, and pop. Pink Martini’s season also includes concerts in Los Angeles, Miami, Toronto, Paris, Helsinki, and Munich, among many other cities.

Another one-of-a-kind experience is offered by Rob Schwimmer, who pairs the piano with the theremin and a more recently invented instrument, the Haken Continuum, in recital on Saturday, May 14.* The Haken Continuum is an electronic keyboard instrument whose flat surface allows a performer to play along a continuous pitch spectrum, ‘in between the keys,’ and Mr. Schwimmer has recorded on the instrument in sessions with Esperanza Spalding and Paul Simon. Also one of the world’s top theremin virtuosos, he has worked with Laurie Anderson, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Bette Midler, Wayne Shorter, and Stevie Wonder, among many other leading artists.

Musical theater and film presentations add further variety to the festival’s programming. This year, The Gilmore partners with Farmers Alley Theatre to present the Tony Award-winning play Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill from Friday, April 29 to Sunday, May 15. Featuring music by Lanie Robertson, the production is directed by Shanesia Davis and stars Alexis J Roston as Billie Holiday.

The festival’s five film screenings take place at Kalamazoo Valley Museum’s Stryker Theater and comprise Daniil Trifonov: The Magics of Music, a 2015 documentary by Christopher Nupen; Living the Classical Life, an interview series by Zsolt Bognár, who will be present for a post-event discussion; Twelve Pianos, about artist/musician Mauro ffortissimo’s pianos on the beach; Los Hermanos, a documentary about the reunion of brothers Aldo (piano) López-Gavilán and Ilmar (violin) Gavilán; and The Magic Piano, a family-friendly animated film about Anna, Chip-Chip, and their magical, flying piano.

For young children, The Gilmore continues to present Baby Grands, the festival’s popular no-stage concerts where kids are free to crawl, walk, and play throughout the performance. Additional family events include concerts in three cities featuring pianist Alpin Hong (April 20, 22, & 24*), whose performances of classical and traditional works combined with movie and video game music captivate audience of all ages.

 

PRE- AND POST-FESTIVAL EVENTS

Highlights of The Gilmore’s programming in the weeks preceding and following the festival include a solo recital by 2006 Gilmore Young Artist and now internationally renowned pianist Yuja Wang on Friday, April 8 (program TBA), and a concerto performance by more recent Gilmore Young Artist Wei Luo (2018) on Saturday, May 21. Ms. Luo performs Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Brass Band of Battle Creek, led by Principal Conductor Michael J. Garasi.

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