The Gilmore – More Than a Festival

July 22, 2019

In the weeks ahead, Gilmore patrons may notice a few changes on our website, social media channels, and printed materials. It’s all part of a plan to spread the word about the dozens of concerts and programs we offer to people of all ages, year-round, in the West Michigan area.

You might know that our organization was established in 1989 to honor the legacy of Irving S. Gilmore. At the outset, we were known as the “Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival” and had a two-part mission: (1) help deserving artists develop their careers by making a regular series of awards based on a non-competitive process, and (2) present a music festival that would celebrate keyboard music while helping to promote the artists who win the Gilmore Awards. At the same time, considerable emphasis was placed on engaging or “commissioning” composers to create new works for the keyboard. This important commitment helps ensure the continued creation of music for the piano and keeps that music relevant for today’s audiences.

Since 1989, 14 biennial Festivals have been enjoyed by thousands of visitors to Kalamazoo and West Michigan. Eight Gilmore Artists and 34 Gilmore Young Artists have been recognized, and 35 new works have been created for the piano. It is an amazing legacy and one which we hope would have made Mr. Gilmore very proud.

In recent years, however, the organization has grown to include even more. Two distinctive concert series-Piano Masters and Rising Stars-ensure that world-class keyboard music is presented continually in Kalamazoo. In addition, a major program dedicated to community engagement and music education touches the lives of hundreds of area children and adults by offering piano lessons in elementary schools, music therapy for at-risk youth, group lessons for adults, toddler-friendly concert experiences, summer piano camp, master classes, and much more.

Gilmore Director Pierre van der Westhuizen sees a need to create more awareness of this important organizational growth. “The Gilmore I see today is a vibrant organization that has become a meaningful part of the Kalamazoo community, as well as surrounding areas such as Battle Creek, Grand Rapids, and the lakeshore,” he said. “It’s an absolute thrill to be able to expand our reach and welcome more people to the joys of keyboard music. We just need to spread the word so more children can learn and more people can enjoy.”

The first, and perhaps most visible, change van der Westhuizen has implemented is the creation of a new logo. The “Gilmore Keyboard Festival” is now simply “The Gilmore,” making it more representational of the broad range of programs offered. A small keyboard has been placed within the “m” as a visual reminder that the keyboard, and its music, are at the heart of everything we do.

In addition, a new website has just been launched, which will help users access information more easily, and we’ll be communicating more frequently about all of the programs through the website blog, social media channels, and a new, recurrent series of email newsletters.

We hope you enjoy these changes and additions to our communications activities, and if you have not yet participated in a Gilmore concert or class that you will plan to do so very soon!

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