Festival Fellows Program Launches at Festival

November 9, 2022

Beatrice Rana instructs a Fellows student

Festival Fellows Program Launches at Festival

“The Gilmore sets the tone for quality and vision in the future of piano education.” – 2022 Festival Fellow

Our new Festival Fellows Program got underway this year, with an immersive five-day experience for rising artists focused on “The Art, The Business, and The Person” and designed to help them prepare for the complexities of a successful concert career.

Three unique residencies during the 2022 Festival were created and led by Director of Education Adam Schumaker and Education and Community Engagement Manager Leslie Baron.

A group of 24 students ages 19-32 enjoyed days and nights packed with music, learning, and social time with professional pianists, educators, and thought leaders from around the world. “There are so many essential elements to building a successful career in the arts,” says Schumaker, adding that the program was specifically designed to be affordable (and was generously supported by the Art Mentor Foundation in Lucerne, Switzerland). “Many residencies charge thousands of dollars. We wanted a new model that takes the financial burden off the student, so they can just focus on learning,” says Schumaker.

Baron is particularly proud of the connections made within the group. “I still see these young artists communicating and supporting each other on social media,” she says, adding that one participant’s connection with presenter Amanda Cook, editor at the I Care if You Listen online music hub, led to some freelance work for him.

Many special moments happened in unexpected ways, says Schumaker. “I remember hearing Michelle Cann and Eunbi Kim offer relationship advice over dinner, and a couple of students sneaking backstage to meet Lara Downes.”

Asked about their fellowship experiences, participants shared constructive input and a lot of rave reviews.

–“One of the best musical experiences of my life… I made lasting friendships.”
–“There was so much practical, step-by-step, realistic advice on how to build your career.”

“Today’s most successful artists need to know how to do far more than just play beautiful music,” says Gilmore Executive and Artistic Director Pierre van der Westhuizen. “We worked hard to provide a supportive environment in which they could experience the professional music culture, and I think we hit it out of the ballpark. I hope we are able to continue this program well into the future.”

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