What’s in a Word? A Small, but Seismic, Shift for The Gilmore

July 1, 2021

A now-familiar scene has played out more times than you would think in my three years here at The Gilmore. I’m at an event in New York, or Chicago, or Berlin, or I’m at a gathering outside of the world of music. When asked, “What do you do?”, I’m met with confusion when I reply, “I work for the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival.”
The questions go as follows:
“So, what kinds of keyboards?”
“Oh, is this a digital/electronic music festival?”
“Is that a historical instrument festival?”
“Keyboards? Like with computers?” (Admittedly, this was from a 12-year-old — but hey, they are the future!)

The confusion is cleared up when I describe all of the events that take place during the biennial Festival, and our wonderfully unique Awards process. After all that, I’m usually then met with, “So, it’s really a piano festival”. And you know what… That is truly what this is.

The Gilmore was founded to recognize some of the world’s most virtuosic and musically fascinating pianists with a $300,000 Gilmore Artist Award. The impetus for a festival was to bring the Gilmore Artists, Gilmore Young Artists, and other renowned pianists to perform across West Michigan. Initially, the thought was also to highlight other keyboard instruments during the Festival, like harpsichord, organ, fortepiano, etc., and that remains the case today. But the vast majority of Festival events feature a piano, our education programs focus on the piano, and our rich commissioning history comprises new works written exclusively for the piano.

With all of this in mind, we have decided to replace one word in our name. Instead of the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, we will be known as the Gilmore International Piano Festival. Starting July 1st, you will notice this change in all of our materials, website, and social media. Changing this one word will sharpen the lens and help us communicate our mission more clearly around the world.

Will there still be other kinds of keyboards involved? You bet. Among the 100+ events featuring the piano at the Gilmore International Piano Festival, you will still be able to experience a harpsichord or organ, or even something as wild as the Haken Continuum! And the excitement we feel at sharing the joy of music with thousands of people from all over the world? THAT will never change.

We hope to see you at the next Gilmore International Piano Festival in 2022, and will be announcing the dates VERY soon!

pierre signature in black
Pierre van der Westhuizen
Executive and Artistic Director

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