The Gilmore

The 2014 Gilmore Keyboard Festival Soundboard

Tell us what you think about The Gilmore and festival performances! Your comments can be as general or as specific as you like, or can spark some dialogue about music. Send us your pictures too!

  • This is another test comment from my Facebook account. – Eric

  • Eric

    This is a response from my WordPress account.

  • Eric

    One more comment to test the reverse chronological order of comments.

  • frogsplashllc

    This is a test comment. We’ll see how it works.

    • frogsplashllc

      Here’s a reply.

  • frogsplashllc

    Hey, look. I can attach a picture.

    • I can attach a picture too! Found this one on Daniil’s FB feed today.

  • Some Commenter Named Eric

    This is a test post from a guest. (No password required for entry.)

  • Eric Schmidt

    Once more, with feeling…

  • Mary

    This looks great

  • Mary

    Had a few problems trying to figure it out at first, but I’m slow

    • Mary

      That’s to be expected from a 60-year-old!

  • Dawn

    Testing, one, two, three. Can’t wait for the concerts to begin!

  • Mary

    Really great!

  • carol a.s. derks

    This is cool!

  • Helen McCauslin

    A spectacular beginning for the Festival!
    Chenery is a great venue, the pre-concert talk was excellent, Trifonov was splendid in his playing — what more can a lover of piano music ask for!

  • Helen McCauslin

    And Sarkozy cookies were back!

  • SRS

    The artist, the venue and the staff were awesome!

  • rbglass

    Trifonov’s performance was my introduction to the Festival’s quality. Awesome! He was “one” with the keyboard. Looking forward to the next 16 days!

  • Avril B

    loved the concert.Maestro Trifonov has a great range.Prefer the Chenery to the Miller.
    It is looking sharp.

  • coby

    Fabulous……another reason why we Love Where We Live!

  • William Deike

    Ben Folds put on a GREAT show, Chenery is the perfect size for a performance like this, it is just big enough to fit a good crowd, and still small enough to give a very personal feeling to the concert…WELL DONE.

  • Valda Karlsons

    I am still pinching myself — did I really see that incredible concert last night?? There were so many outstanding aspects I don’t know where to start…..and it is a rare performer that acknowledges the shout-outs as Ben did, and yet when that flood-gate was open, there were no inappropriate or disruptive audience comments. We were all so engaged. You could tell many attendees were serious fans, many of whom must have traveled. What a pop/”other” genre pick, Gilmore!

  • Justin

    Long time Ben Folds fans thought the show was great. It was our first time at the venue and thought highly of it. We traveled several hours for the show and it was worth every mile.

  • Diane

    We were VERY disappointed. Too much bad language, way too loud and the woman next to me sang every song loudly and OFF KEY. We left before intermission and would never go to his concert again, although he’s very talented. A waste of $90.00

    • Charleston

      Sorry that you had such a poorly behaved audience member next to you. I know that Ben Folds uses appallingly bad language, but I put up with it because the piano playing really is exceptional. Though I couldn’t attend Saturday I was thrilled he was in the lineup for the Gilmore.

  • Charleston

    Attended Jason Moran’s Fats Waller Dance Party at 4pm. Had a great time and danced about half the time. Sorry so many in the audience were disengaged. The music was great and we really enjoyed the performance….and interaction.

  • Maria Reine

    We went to the 7 pm set of the Jason Moran’s Fats Waller Dance Party. Having seen the show in ’13 in Ann Arbor, we knew exactly what to expect so we sat up high in General Admission seats. We felt sorry for the audience members in the front tables on the main level who got an obstructed view of the show. I think squeezing the dancers in a tight space between the tables and the stage was poor planning. Our view was not obstructed and we heard the music without intrusions. On the other hand, the images of the most mediocre dancing we have ever seen are burned into our retinas. If I was running the Gilmore Festival I think I’d have hired some Dance majors from the university to class up the experience. I am thankful we weren’t on the main floor at tables 5 feet away from the people in the mosh pit…I mean, dancers. But we did have a great vantage point: observing three Gilmore staffers – one slender gray haired woman in a salmon jacket using a flash camera – and 2 younger women in cute dresses dancing and looking compulsively at their phones. (Two electronic devices the audience was instructed to not use at the onset of the show.)

    • Thank you for bringing the phone/camera use to our attention. To market The Gilmore, we do use social media promotion and event photos, but we must do this in a way that is consistent with providing the best concert experience possible. We are now reviewing our social media/photos protocol and making sure this is communicated to all of our staff.

      • Maria Reine

        Though I don’t think the audience that is typically attracted to Gilmore events has much familiarity of social media (and I don’t count having a Facebook page as demonstrating familiarity), I have no problem with using social media to promote events. I think social media in all its forms will help the festival move to a greater stage in the world, as long as it isn’t accomplished in a disruptive manner. I don’t think the three staffers were being disruptive. They appeared to be having as much fun as anyone else. But there needs to be consistency in the policy so that the same expectations placed on the audience are also placed on staffers.

  • Bill Rose

    Ben Folds performed one of the most outstanding and entertaining concerts we have ever been to. Thanks Ben and thanks to Gilmore for bringing him to Kalamazoo.

  • Tom

    First, great start to the Festival. Congratulations to all for that!!! Attended OLD WICKED SONGS at Farmers Alley Theater on Friday and the production was excellent. Then it was Ben Folds on Saturday.

    While the performance was very good, I do feel compelled to comment on both the sound and lighting quality at Chenery. I know that Mr. Folds is a very percussive player on the piano but the EQ levels for sound were not good at all. The sound balance between the piano and performer were out of balance with the piano overwhelming the singer and the tonal quality of the EQ was very harsh and grating to the listener that at times it bordered on unlistenable.

    Then there is the lighting. During performances lighting instruments would randomly turn on and off, many times in rapid succession. At several times the house lights were brought up but then levels would change up and down for no apparent reason.

    I say this because last Festival’s performance of Diana Krall was very similar, especially lighting.

    For a Festival the stature of The Gilmore, neither of these situations should be acceptable, definitely such inferior sound quality.

    • Catherine

      I completely agree with these comments…..The technical elements really detracted from the overall experience for me as well. I am so proud and excited that Kalamazoo has this amazing international keyboard festival but wish that ALL the production values be elevated to the level of taking the international stage.

  • Robert E.

    Very disappointed in last night’s Jason Moran show, 7 pm set. First of all, the sound management in the Williams Theater has never been good for previous jazz performances, and it was pretty awful last night: boomy, muddy, bass; under-amplified singer and trumpeter; mediocre overall fidelity. Secondly, having people dancing up front, obstructing most of the audience’s view and otherwise distracting those who could actually see the stage, was a very bad idea. For me, the evening was mostly a mix of frustration, annoyance, and boredom.

    • Maria Reine

      I have to agree. Overall, the venue feels like a basement. The acoustics in that big concrete bunker can make it a chore to hear the jazz groups. I don’t know what the Williams theatre was originally designed for – maybe edgy, avant-garde theatre like Kalamazoo College’s Dungeon? – but as a “jazz club” the theatre doesn’t always do the groups justice. I’ve often wondered why the Gilmore doesn’t enlist the State Theatre for the jazz shows? Or have private shows at the Union? Regarding the Jason Moran sets, I wondered afterwards if anyone had bothered to do a soundcheck to assess how the players came across. The singer, in particular, was a barely heard part of the band.

  • Tom L

    We thought the 7 pm show by Jason and his ensemble was fantastically energizing and joyous. Someday, in the future, a musician might be wearing a Jason Moran “head” at a performance!

  • Maria

    The Ben Folds show on Saturday was one of the best shows I have ever been to. Great pick, Gilmore! :)

  • Pam

    We attended the 7pm Jason Moran show. Jason is a very talented guy and I did enjoy his performance. He has an awesome band. However, I was so thankful my table was further back on the main floor otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to see a thing. My suggestion for any future concerts with dancing is to have the dance floor at the back of the venue. That way those of us who came to listen to the music won’t be distracted by people that really couldn’t dance that well and basically jumped around waving their arms.

  • SUSU

    Ditto on the comments about not great to have dancing in front of the Jason Moran’s band. Dancing is fine, but should be off to the side, not blocking paid guests and allowing us to view the group, not the dancing.

    • Thank you for sharing your concerns with us, and we have had several other individuals share the same complaint about the dancers obscuring the view. For a future dance party experience, perhaps a dance floor to the side of the show, or an altered seating arrangement, would alleviate this problem.

  • BB

    I’ve just had the best couple of nights. Between Ben Folds and Jason Moran – I’m just so proud to have organizations like The GIlmore and Fontana in our community bringing such amazing entertainment! Keep up the amazing work. Your city appreciates you!

  • Wilma Kahn

    Loved Jason Moran’s Fats Waller Dance Party last night — what a blast! Plus it was fun to see the citizenry of Kalamazoo County dancing and living it up.

    Also loved “Wicked Old Songs” in the afternoon. I had never seen this play before, but it’s now a favorite — emotionally rich and fascinating. Every element of this production is wonderful, from direction to acting, set design, lighting, sound, and the warm welcome one receives at Farmers Alley. I felt so lucky to be there.

  • cranky geezer

    We expected a Fats Waller show, 4pm, Sunday, and were stunned at the experience, not in a good way. The difference between expectation and delivery was vast, and our party was among the disengaged and disappointed. There were very few notes strung together as Fats Waller would have played them, and this was simply the wrong event for us. Also, the sound system was a disaster from the balcony: piano and vocals drowned out by the other sounds. We left early,and it was just a relief to get out the door: not a good reaction. All in all, a Gilmore failure in our book. p.s., the waggling rear ends of the few amateur dancers in front of the stage did not enhance the experience.

  • Jennie Cook

    The Ben Folds concert was amazing! I left Chenery Auditorium absolutely giddy!! Thank you for bringing in an artist that was so masterful and engaging, even if he wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

  • Want a little ‘behind-the-scenes’ of the making of Jason Moran’s Fats Waller Dance Party? Here, Jason talks about the concept of ‘vamping’.

  • Happy Ali

    I had a great time at Piotr last night! He was amazing and I loved Beethoven the most! Thank you for doing this in our fair city!

  • Billy Patrick

    I loved Piotr and was amazed at his interpretation of the Janacek composition. To sum up the Fats Waller Dance Party by Jason Moran, it was fun and I enjoyed seeing people dance while live music was playing. Didn’t want to see dancing? why did you pick this show which was named “a Dance Party”? It’s a different Jazz Club concept and I loved it!

    • Thank you for your feedback! I am glad to see when individuals attend shows from different genres, and enjoy them both. Please let me know what other festival shows you are attending!

  • keyboardman

    Enjoyed the Anderszewski performance very much. Made the drive from the south suburbs of Chicago. The program was challenging and terrific. Just the right amount of Bach. Glad the Janacek wasn’t the usual one played. And the Beethoven was wonderful. No let down that there was no encore. Glad to meet Piotr during the post-concert CD signing.

    The pre-concert talk was a disappointment. The lecturer is a bright man, but was too focused on entertaining his audience rather than informing them. He discussed only the Beethoven sonata when there were three other compositions on the program. The ushers were very attentive, though, in adding seats to accommodate the overflow crowd.

    Lovely that there were cookies during the intermission, though I wish the water fountain I tried to use at the Dalton Center had been functioning (don’t drink coffee). A lot of time was spent standing in line to enter the hall before the concert started; only one person was taking tickets and distributing programs. Less comprehensible was the decision to start the second half of the concert before people had taken their seats. Did not enjoy having to “watch” Piotr play through people blocking my view.

    In sum, I had a fine time listening to a wonderful artist. Some minor changes above would make this an outstanding experience.

    • Thank you for your detailed feedback. It looks like there are some irritating details that we could fix quite easily. And may I ask, how did you first hear about Gilmore events, being from the south of Chicago? Your response helps us better critique our marketing efforts with regards more distant communities.

      • keyboardman

        I’ve attended select events at the Gilmore for the past decade and chose the Anderszewski date because he rarely plays in Chicago. I subscribe to the 10-concert piano series at Orchestra Hall and will hear Nikolai Lugansky there on Sunday. I trade into the orchestral dates with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and jazz dates there due to the liberal ticket exchange policy at Orchestra Hall. So I hear the pre-concert lectures here with some frequency. I also get to jazz dates at Jazz Showcase with some frequency (Cyrus Chestnut on Thursday night). I recall hearing Anderszewski and Leif Ove Andnes at the Chenery and Yevgeny Sudbin at the Dalton Center in the past. So I look for performers I do not hear at Orchestra Hall or in the jazz clubs when their appearances fit my schedule. I do not recall exactly how I heard about the Gilmore, though I suspect I noticed the mention of the award in one of the biographies of the winners and used the Internet to search for the details. You have a fine event overall that could be made very comparable with what I hear in Chicago with some minor adjustments. Hope this helps you.

  • Wilma Kahn

    I loved Piotr Anderszewski’s performance last night. Dalton was a great location for this artist, and I sat close enough to feel the reverberations of the piano on my face. The Beethoven amazed me, especially in the last movement when Piotr played an ascending passage ever more quietly –> it was like a soul rising into the stratosphere.

  • Carolyn Burns

    We were thrilled, entertained and inspired by the Anderson and Roe couple paired on two pianos– and sometimes one! last night at Portage North auditorium. This the last of their series in-community schools concerts during April . Their chemistry and love of the piano as well as their expertise was so evidnt and inspired our teen grandchildren in their piano studies. Thank you so much sponsors., for providing this duo as a free event to the communities.

  • Music Lover 77

    Anderson & Roe were electric. Their energy was boundless. The only thing more powerful than their energy was their love of the piano and the music they performed. They mixed power with very strong emotions for their music. Hope to see them perform again soon!

    • Jason Dyer


  • Maria Reine

    We thought Piotr Anderszewski’s performance Monday night was quite amazing, tempered only by the four audience members that sat nearby that fell asleep at various times during the concert, and the knucklehead that allowed his watch to “beep beep” at 9 o’clock and 10 o’clock.

    There is always a bit of angst during intermission. Sarkozy’s cookies and the coffee are a treat, but putting everything off to the side makes access daunting. And clueless audience members clogging the aisles chatting it up as others are trying to find their seats can be frustrating. We sat near the right hand aisle, but were entirely entertained by the congested left hand aisle.

  • Al

    Piotr could use a lesson from Ingrid Fliter. Too many trills and that hammered bass chord was monotonous. The ticket taker at his concert was incredibly slow and resulted in a long line of people waiting to get in, long after the other aisle was completed.

  • Al

    The jazz of Jeremy Siskind was delightful and his personality was joyful.

  • Stephanie Watkins

    The Ben Folds show on Saturday was phenomenal! I was very excited to see a Gilmore show that pulled a younger audience in. I look forward to seeing more acts like this in the future. Maybe Regina Spektor in 2015?

  • Wilma Kahn

    What a tremendous concert last night! The Gilmore Festival Chamber Orchestra was delightful under leadership from David Lockington and Raymond Harvey. Soloists Gilbert Kalish, Lori Sims, and Karina Gauvan gave thrilling performances in various Mozart pieces. Sitting in the second to last row in Dalton, I had a wonderful view of the stage, wonderful sound. “How did we ever get so lucky?” I asked my companion.

  • Helen McCauslin

    Many bravos for Gerstein and Chi!

  • Mike Keenan

    The Gerstein/Chi concert was great … the box on the floor in front of Gerstein’s feet flashing green and yellow lights was a terrible distraction.

  • Christine Valentine

    The Gerstein/Chi concert was terrific. The unity of sound they achieved was amazing. In listening you could not tell when one left off a phrase and the other continued. It was a wonderful event.

  • Wilma Kahn

    Gerstein and Chi played beautifully together. I especially savored Rachmaninoff’s “Dances,” which I had never heard before. The runs near the end of the last dance were executed with uncanny speed.

  • Maria Reine

    The Gerstein/Chi concert was excellent. My father had an EMI LP copy of Andre Previn’s version of the Symphonic Dances that he had used to frequently play, so I was very familiar with the piece, but the two piano version was unknown to me. It was the perfect piece to end the concert and it was perfectly played by the artists.

  • Maria Reine

    The two sets of the Jacky Terrasson Trio Thursday evening were also spot on. I generally look forward to the jazz artists most of all during the Gilmore Festivals, and this season has not been a let down. (And the muddy sound issues heard during the Jason Moran sets were not apparent tonight.)

    • Thank you very much, Maria, for your input! We’re happy that the sound was to you’re liking, we’ve been very active in our evaluation of sound so that problems are rectified for subsequent shows.

  • Galesburg Sue

    Really enjoyed the Terrason Trio. This is the “big city” type of jazz that we hunger for in the Midwest. The minute you think you’ve figured out a tune or rhythm, it changes, so you’re not bored.

  • long-time attender

    Each Festival has its highlights. We are predicting last night’s brilliant performance by Lugansky will hold such a spot in 2014. What a fine tribute to Bob Luscombe. Thank you, Gear Geezers!

  • From Scotts

    Each member of the Terrasson Trio was unbelievably talented and energetic. What a performance. Their renditions of favorite tunes were fresh and enlivening. Thanks so much for bringing the sound of the big city to little ol’ Kazoo!

  • The after show gathering at The Union was great. Jacky Terrasson is relaxed and down to earth. He’s off to Japan next.

  • Margaret Merrion

    I can’t help but think that Bob Luscombe would have been mighty pleased with Nikolai Lugansky’s performance last evening. thanks to all of the Gear Geezers who sponsored the concert in memory of our good friend and Gilmore Keyboard champion, Bob.

  • Faye Luscombe

    What a wonderful concert and tribute to Bob! He would have loved it. His family and I were very moved by the evening and the generosity of the Gear geezers. Thanks to our dear Gear geezer friends and the Gilmore for remembering Bob in such a meaningful and exquisite way.

  • Diane Howlin

    Loved Andre Watts. Beautiful interpretation, especially of Liszt. Excellent selections.
    First time here. What a treat: free parking, kind hosts, comp coat check, cookies, coffee, inexpensive souvenirs.
    For the first time in a long time, I truly felt like a guest at a special event.

  • Erika Friedl

    Barbara Lieurance’s performance and program surpassed any expectations; for me, she provided a highlight in this year’s Gilmore offerings.

  • Whitney

    This was the first time we attended The Gilmore and found Nikolai Lugansky’s performance to be outstanding. Everything about the venue and the organization of the event was remarkable. Many thanks to everyone who made this possible. We rarely get to the west side of the state and used this excuse to spend a fine day in Kalamazoo. We’ll be back for the next Gilmore!
    p.s. could someone note here which pieces he played for the encores? thanks again

  • Maria Reine

    Though I know Bill Maxey has a legitimate reason to be absent from the festival so far, I do miss his erudite introductions to the artists at the Jazz Club. The introductions to the Jason Moran and Jacky Terrasson’s shows were, by comparison, like vanilla ice cream to Mr. Maxey’s spumone.

    • Bill

      Thank you! You are most kind. billm

  • LoveTheGilmore

    I have been to four performances thus far (Andrew Hsu, Jason Moran’s Fats Waller Dance Party, Jeremy Siskind and the Gala last night). They were all wonderful performances, despite some minor issues as noted below. I go to these events with little expectation, apart from assuming I will hear some incredible piano playing (at very affordable prices!), so I am never disappointed. This year my father, who played clarinet for 80+ years and loved jazz, was supposed to come with me, but passed away a month ago. Consequently, I have been watching these with an eye (ear?) to how he would have enjoyed them. I think his favorites thus far would have been Jason Waller and Jeremy Siskind. Now I can’t wait for the performances I will see this week!

    • Thank you for your heartfelt comment. Did your father influence your love of music?

      • LoveTheGilmore

        Yes, he had gigs scheduled this year (at the age of nearly 91) for Easter and Mother’s Day at restaurants near him, along with his piano man, so we always went to hear him play when we were in town.

        • That’s lovely. My grandfather fostered my love of music, so certain concerts make me think strongly of family as well. If you’re dad was a clarinetist, maybe you will be interested in tonight’s event, with clarinetist John Bruce Yeh of the Chicago Symphony.

  • Kaaren

    The performance was supurb! He was an excellent choice for the new Gilmore Artist and will be exciting to watch in coming years. Ray Harvy’s talk beforehand was excellent, as usual. It was more fufar surperior and enjoyable to hear him than some of the others I’ve heard during the festival.

    • Hi Kaaren, thank you very much for your comment. We’re hopeful that you can attend future Rafal Blechacz shows, especially if you are available to attend this coming Tuesday’s concert. In a post above, I put a Rafal YouTube video that you might enjoy.

  • Maria Reine

    I’m of two minds regarding the Barry Harris performance. I have all of his 60’s Riverside and Prestige albums as well as a handful of private recordings, and the FM broadcast of his Aug. ’79 appearance at the DIA in Detroit is a private recording I play often. It was a honor to see him live. His influence on 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s jazz is huge. But, holy smokes, the 4 pm show was a torture to endure. The show presented a shadow of the musician he once was. I would have rather the Gilmore Festival honored him in some other manner.

  • Barbara James

    Loved the Barry Harris Trio – the music was good for the soul. It was delightful. Thank you.

  • Tim Culver

    I had no expectation of Barry Harris being the technician he once was. For heavan’s sake, he’s 85! I went to hear one of the world’s last Jazz Masters of that era. Players of subsequent generations can learn the tunes, the chord changes and voicings, but they can never duplicate the essence and authenticity of someone who lived it. The spirits of Bud Powell, Al Haig, Duke Jordan, Tommy Flanighan and Hank Jones were in that room. I really appreciated his effort to communicate two-way with the audience. Ray Drummond was awesome on bass. A mike boom would have been nice. Thank you Joe and Donna Stewart for sponsoring this precious event.

  • We’re very grateful for your comments on our site. Whether they are positive or negative, they help us all build a musical community and make The Gilmore the best it can be. Please continue to be so active and honest with your communication, it is greatly appreciated!

    For those of you who attended this weekend’s Gala Event, with Rafal Blechacz and the KSO, you already know that Rafal is someone to keep watching in the years to come. We’re honored to present him again in concert this Tuesday, for his solo recital. Here is a very special recording of his, playing Debussy’s Claire de Lune, during the New York City announcement concert for the 2014 Gilmore Artist Award.

  • Guest

    If the rest of the noontime hour long concerts at the Civic Auditorium this week are anything like Stephanie Trick’s Monday performance, then we will be very pleased. She presented herself as engaging, passionate, and quite entertaining.

  • Maria Reine

    If the rest of the noontime hour long concerts at the Civic Auditorium this week are anything like Stephanie Trick’s Monday performance, then we will be very pleased. She presented herself as engaging, passionate, and entertaining.

  • Maria Reine

    Some snapshots of Stephanie Trick today:

  • J. Alex Gardner

    The concert of Owens, Phillips, Yeh,, Gingrich, and Huang was totally awesome…artistically perfect and ethereal beyond description!!

  • Deb & David

    Oh my! The Gilmore has outdone itself! The concert of Schubertiade last night was exquisite. Schubert’s music to these poems was such a delight, especially in the venue of the Dalton’s intimate setting. The artists were jaw-dropping. Thank you so very much for bringing them to us.

  • Wilma Kahn

    A wonderful concert last night. I just loved the power and expression of Susanna Phillips’ and Eric Owens’ voices. What a pleasure and privilege to hear them at Dalton.

  • Bob and Tina

    My wife and I loved last night’s concert as we have all the performances we’ve seen so far. We especially appreciate these “Day After E-mail Follow-ups!” The photos are especially welcome and we plan to keep many of them as a reminder of another wonderful Gilmore.

  • Ken & Susan

    Even though Barry Harris is 85, the spark’s still there. I’m so grateful to the Gilmore for reaching out to him to give this concert. He’s a testament to all of us that no matter what life deals you, put your best foot (hand, in this case :o) ) forward. It was such a lovely, spirit-filled performance. Different from what he did decades ago AND he connected with the audience, which is the necessary ingredient in a great performance.

  • pawpawgirl42

    re Barry Harris Trio, 4:00 performance…..enjoyed the music very, very much! Most of his comments could not be understood, however, and we were in the 2d row! A boom mic would have helped tremendously, as well as some speakers that would carry to the audience. Surely the theatre is equipped to handle such? But it was a privilege to hear and see all of these great artists, and it will remain a good memory.

  • Jane

    Enjoyed the concert very much. Beautiful smooth jazz. Liked that he talked to the audience. Wondered if the Gilmore would consider Elaine Elias. She’s a latin jazz pianist. She’s a singer, but her piano playing is also wonderful.

  • Bob

    The concert with Sussana Phillips and Eric Owens was terrific. The pre-concert was very helpful as was the program by The Gilmore with the translations. My only criticism,and it applies to lots of classical musicians, is why they can’t say anything to the audience. Would it kill them to introduce or explain a piece, or just make some friendly banter. They can’t really be tongue tied.

  • Maria Reine

    It is said that music can, sometimes, if you are lucky, transport you to a different place. Unfortunately, at the just completed Rafal Blechacz solo recital at Chenery Auditorium tonight, the only place I was transported to was something not unlike a tuberculosis sanatorium. Tonight’s concerts brought in droves of unbridled coughers. They were everywhere. It amazes me: in decades of attending concerts of all kinds, never have I coughed like that, let alone made the sort of hacking, barking, unmuffled coughs that I heard not just often, but constantly, tonight. (I can understand why the Gilmore Festival has its volunteers offer us baskets of cough drops as we file into the venues.) And during pauses in the coughing, I had to then listen to the clattering sounds of bangles worn by my gender on their wrists – one woman seated across the aisle let her bangles clank each time she raised her right arm to consult the program, and then let them jangle again when she finished reading and dropped her arm. Or the snores of audience members, like the poor woman seated near us who, nudged awake by her Gilmore badge wearing (“Theatre Emiritus”) husband, proclaimed, “This is boring. I wish I stayed home.” I wish she had stayed home too: Unable to stay awake for any period of time without dropping off during the first half, the woman discovered that incessant chattering with her husband in the second half kept her awake. By the way, we enjoyed the concert anyway. Blechacz is another of a series of excellent choices by the Gilmore. I did find him stronger tonight as a Chopin interpreter than in the Bach or Beethoven works, however.

    • gilmorelover

      Now I know what that clattering was. I never thought it was someone’s bracelets. I’ve found that often people just forget they are not at home in their living rooms watching TV when they are actually out with other people.

      • Maria Reine

        My impression has always been that at any given concert, 95% of the audience members realize where they are and try to sit and listen quietly, and with due consideration of their neighbors and to the artist(s). They understand they aren’t at home, and that courteous behavior needs to be amped up. And the other 5% are oblivious, selfish knuckleheads that never give their misbehaviors a second thought. Indeed, I imagine if any of the 5% read this paragraph they will say to themselves, “That’s not me. I do cough but I cough delicately like a flower. And my bangles do not clank because they are on silent mode. And if I do talk it’s because my comments are humorous and timely and need to be said at that moment else their cogency will be lost for all time.” And so the 5% are a constant bane because they are the most completely clueless members of our species.

  • Helen McCauslin

    The Schubertiade was marvelous and a great addition to the Festival. Five great musicians captivated us.

  • Helen McCauslin

    The concert tonight with Rafal was wonderful. He reminds me of Piotr but in a tux!
    We were transported.

  • Amy

    So proud of being Polish and having that connection to the very talented Rafal. I enjoyed it all but mostly the Chopin and Beethoven. What an artist. Hope he goes far. Thank you to the Gilmore for all you do to promote great music.
    Additionally, enjoyed all the artists that I have seen. The Fats Waller Dance Party could have been better without the amplifiers. Jazz in an intimate setting like the Williams Theater can support itself.

  • Judy Krane-Calvert

    Amazing range of interpretive expression. Good choice on the new GA.

  • JT

    Nachito was awesome today! A great time for my first noon concert, and a full house too.

  • John S-C

    Surprised that no one has mentioned Llyr Williams – I’ve been to three events so far, and his program of Opp. 26, 90, 111 was some of the best Beethoven playing I’ve heard in years. So pleased to have learned of this artist.

  • William Stein

    Grand Band offered the most excruciatingly annoying and painful sounds I’ve ever heard in a concert hall. I left at intermission and would have left earlier if it were easier to get out.

  • Valda Karlsons

    r.e. Grand Band – personally, I categorize concerts (be they presented by
    Gilmore or Fontana or any other) as either entertaining or educational. If I want to be entertained, I take the
    time to check recent reviews and playlists to make sure it will meet my
    expectations before purchasing.
    But I also like to attend performances that stretch my horizons (and
    maybe challenge my sensibilities?), and last night’s Grand Band performance
    falls in that category. I know this is not for everyone, but
    personally I think it is a productive intellectual exercise to try to find the
    merits and technical challenges of performances that don’t immediately strike
    our fancy. And while I won’t be
    humming many of those pieces in the shower any time soon, I must say I can’t
    get the first few chords of Aretha Franklin’s “Think” out of my head. As such, I appreciate Gilmore
    bringing to us the unique as well as the familiar as it is unlikely many of us
    would be exposed to it otherwise.

  • Not a Grand Band Fan

    Agree with William ! We also left at intermission which was none too soon.
    Huge disappointment & waste of time and money.

  • Maria Reine

    We just saw both shows by Kirill Gerstein and Storm Large. On one hand, I think Storm sang well considering she seemed to be battling a cough. I do wish that she trusted the music to convey its meaning rather than mug and make funny, exaggerated gestures all the time, often as soon as the songs were over. Nobody has told her that what works with Pink Martini is completely unnecessary here. I know she called the selection of tunes tonight “love songs” but they were really “torch songs.” Torch songs speak to the pain and sorrow of the end of relationships. Torch songs are most powerful when sung by someone the audience believes has herself felt the pain of a doomed relationship. Storm sang torch songs clownishly, as if she were uncomfortable with any emotion save being silly. Of course, the act is brand new, so it was like we were watching previews today – the setlist was essentially the same for each show, as were the stories, jokes, and asides – so maybe if Gerstein and Large decide to keep at it things will get refined and polished.

  • Jim

    Gerstein and Large were terrific last night. More of this in the future would be wonderful.

  • DNE

    The Grand Band. Six wonderful pianos and six obviously accomplished pianists. But where was the music? What was presented was experiments in tones and sounds which could be music to some and while some of it was interesting the evening did become a bit tedious. I would say that in general our expectation of a wonderful evening of music on 6 Steinways was kind of disappointing.

    And, while I have your attention, only once in my memory of the Gilmore have you brought in GOOD Zydeco and that was Queen Ida. The Civic was packed and rockin. Why no repeats on Zydeco? The accordion is certainly a keyboard. You can’t count the other group you brought in under the guise of Zydeco. They were nothing but loud.

    Always look forward to the Gilmore.

  • Zooman

    Except for the first piece, I really enjoyed the Grand Band. Hearing Six Pianos live was a truly memorable experience. I have talked to several attendees, all of whom enjoyed the evening. They also all agreed that the first piece was not the best choice, to say the least, to open the evening, and they wondered if at least some of the folks who left at intermission might have enjoyed the show.
    It sounds as though some of those who didn’t like this event went expecting not to enjoy it, and had their expectations met. Others apparently expected something different and more melodic/harmonic. I thought the program materials provided by The Gilmore made it pretty clear what the Grand Band would be performing, and when in doubt, YouTube is a great way to research both artists and music.

  • Joel Boyd

    Although the Schubertiade was the hit of the festival for me, I was really impressed by how much coordination there seemed to be in theme and mood without being too one-sided.

  • Jim

    Only attended two events this year, Andrew Hsu at the Stetson and the Schubertiade. I went to Hsu’s recital to hear the Barber Piano Sonata. He played like an angel, very impressive. The Schubertiade was indeed wonderful. As always I felt blessed, as a music concertgoer, to be within driving distance of where the Gilmore puts on its events.

  • R.B.

    I brought a friend with me to the Grand Band and we both wholeheartedly agree to leave at intermission. We were sad and disappointed. So much potential and so little delivery. We very much disliked the piece created for The Gilmore and funded by Bell’s. I wonder how Larry felt, if he was there…..

  • “Young” person

    As a person considered in the “younger generation” category, I’ve had a lot of negative feedback from the older generation. I have had older women shake their head at me and look at me with disgust for Gods sake! People wonder why youngsters aren’t interested in the Gilmore Festival, it’s difficult to try to fit in. The only youngsters I have seen have been at the Ben Folds concert, which I did happen to appreciate. I’ve heard many people ask why younger people don’t attend the Gilmore Festival, and personally, I think it’s just that there aren’t a whole lot of “younger” known artists. I believe that the Ben Folds and John Legend concerts will spark more of a younger interest, and of course those are the concerts the older generation will shake their heads at because they will be too loud!
    Finally, I apologize for my generation that compulsively looks at their phone, but when I just look at the time after a third encore, I feel like I have a right to at that point!

    • PIano88

      I am a “middle-aged” person who can understand your POV, since it isn’t too long ago that I was “young”. I would encourage you on two fronts: 1) Be proactive and positive in contacting the Gilmore with your specific suggestions for the next Festival, and ask your peers to join you in making suggestions. 2) Try to attend one or two of the “older” known artists and stretch your mind; I now attend the newer “younger” artist events too to keep in the know and in the flow. We can all learn from each other as audience members. Thank you for sharing.

      • “Young” person

        I did actually attend a variety of concerts, all of which I did enjoy as well. I encourage people to attend, definitely! It was a great experience, I thought.

    • I think you both bring up some interesting points, and I love the suggestions. We are very active in trying to reach the younger generation, but we need even more growth and strategy on this front. I appreciate this input very much, and I especially love the ‘we can all learn from each other as audience members’ comment. If people are shaking their head at you or making you feel disapproved of at concerts, this is a real tragedy. There is so much music that appeals to such small demographics, but concert music is so vast, it should be for everyone. To me, a classical music audience that looked like a cross section of its city’s population would be ideal. Thank you both for caring so much about this issue and for sharing your comments. Please continue this conversation with me, either here, on FB/Twitter, or by emailing me at

  • Carolyn Williams

    I was very disappointed in the Gerstein-Large performance. Our world class pianist was little more than a high class accompanist for a singer whose talents were adequate but hardly worthy of the pianist with whom she sang. I was expecting that Kirill – who is a wonderful jazz pianist – would have a few pieces to showcase his versatility as a musician. I was also not happy that every selection had the same depressing tempo, that the singer found it necessary to resort to profanity and I was especially unhappy with the encore – which again should have given Kiril an opportunity to shine – instead of the long, drawn out self indulgent lament of Storm Large. On the whole I have enjoyed and appreciated the classical and jazz performers I’ve had the opportunity to see – but the Gerstein Large concert was my least favorite of any of the Gilmore Festival performances I have ever had the opportunity to see. I’ve talked with many friends who share my opinion but others may not be so willing to be so blunt.

    • Maria Reine

      Ouch. I guess the Gilmore didn’t like the Youtube video (an alternate version of the show’s encore) of Storm Large that I posted earlier tonight, which gives me an indication of how the Gilmore felt about her (or their) choice of the encore in the first place. The point of the earlier post was that while I had oodles of problems with the show, including Storm’s over the top performance antics, the songs themselves were not problematic to me. And I agreed with Carolyn Williams’ assessment that Gerstein’s role in the duo was puzzling and enigmatic. He was very much in the background rather than functioning as a full partner. I speculated that he was either sitting at the piano regretting what was happening but unable at that point to extricate himself from the proceedings, or he is a sly prankster none of us knew existed.

    • Lilybelle

      Agree w/Carolyn. It was really a recital not a jazz club. Program lacked innovative pacing…just plodded along. Really disappointed.

    • LoveTheGilmore

      I have to agree with you. I would have liked more of a balance between Kirill and Storm’s performances, so that we could enjoy his incredible jazz playing. He just seemed to be accompanying Storm. She is quite the performer and I enjoyed her singing and intros, up until the encore. While I enjoyed her singing and the performance of the final song, I don’t think she put much thought into her audience when she selected that song (and I fully believe that she selected most if not all of the songs, and Kirill just went along with them). I think the Kalamazoo audience is expecting a more professional artist with a higher quality of performance than maybe she is used to. Overall, I’m glad I went but I was disappointed because it did not live up to my expectations.

    • Mark

      I agree with Carolyn. I heard Storm Large sing two years ago with Pink Martini and hearing her belt out the first number still stays with me today. What a disappointment that she cheapened her performance with profanity and unnecessary sexual details. I’m no prude, mind you. I enjoy Kathy Griffin and I am well below the median age of most Gilmore attendees. I felt bad for Gerstein.

  • Maria Reine

    Ax rules!! Two disturbing things though: Not sold out – we were sitting on the main level and there were empty seats all over. And Roger Gauntlett made an endowment for the show? I know the Gilmore Festival’s hands are tied but some of us have memories of the 80’s.

  • Mary

    How lucky we are in Kalamazoo to be treated to the concert Emanuel Ax will perform next Thursday at Carnegie Hall! Thoroughly enjoyed last night’s concert by an extraordinary artist who appears to have a genuine appreciation for his audience. His concert bows just make me smile.

  • Robert Heinrikson

    Last night’s experience is just one more example of why Kalamazoo is one of the top small cities anywhere. Ax was brilliant in an exceedingly difficult program well designed to delight and challenge the audience. To be able to hear an artist of this caliber for the low ticket price, and in one of our towns most beautiful and acoustically perfect houses is a wonderful gift. And the pre-concert lecture provided a perfect entrée to the works at hand. Thanks to the sponsors and the Gilmore organization for making this possible.

  • DNE

    I can relate to Carolyn Williams comments about the Gerstein-Large performance. I wouldn’t call it the worst performance I’ve ever heard at all the Gilmores but I didn’t think it worthy of a standing ovation. However, Kalamazoo seems to give every performer a standing ovation.

    • Valda Karlsons

      Yes, what is it with that guaranteed standing ovation for every single performance? And it forces others to either get up with the crowd and go along, or risk the appearance of making a negative statement about the performance.

  • Helen McCauslin

    Emmauel Ax: a master and a real mensch! We left Chenery feeling wonderful.

    • Anne Petersen

      Ditto! We were again dazzled, loved the new compositions combined with the traditional Brahams, and love Ax’s brilliance combined with his humility! Loved it!

  • Piano88

    Llyr Williams shared exquisite pure Beethoven with us at his Stetson-3 package. Young Andrew Hsu exudes brilliance, personality, and real depth which should land him on big stages soon (including, of course, first the Gilmore!). Gilmore Artist Rafał Blechacz channels Chopin with an immaculate ear. Schubertiade was a feast on all counts vocal and instrumental. Emanuel Ax and Andre Watts displayed the virtuoso of statesmen at the keyboard, with their respective artistic interpretations and extensive experience. As I could not attend all, I’m sure there are more gems to rave about. What a delightful package of hits once again this festival. Thank you!

  • Laryne Williford

    In the past 2 weeks, I have attended 15 concerts (all classical) and 6 master classes. As a young pianist, I was thrilled to have so many opportunities to hear world renowned artists play and teach at such affordable prices ($5 student tickets). My top 4 favorite concerts were: 1) Nikolai Lugansky: not only is he an INCREDIBLE artist, but he was kind and gracious in his master class and while patiently signing CDs after the concert. In my opinion, the best concert of the festival, and I hope he becomes a regular. 2) Lori Sims, all American program: A close second to Lugansky, Lori presented a program of American works that can be difficult to grasp, but in her capable hands, they were all accessible and VERY convincing. Her master was also one of the best ones. 3) Schubertiade: Easily some of the best singing I have ever heard. Susanna Phillips took my breath away multiple times. All of the artists in this concert presented beautiful, sublime performances. 4) Emanuel Ax: Though I was disappointed by his master class (he claimed he had nothing to correct in any of the students, which I was not convinced by), his recital was fantastic, and I was surprised to see so many empty seats. Other notable performances: Daniil Trifonov and Gil Kalish with Randall Scarlata.

    Overall, I would say that my experience was positive and that I am tempted to make Michigan my permanent home if only to attend the festival every 2 years. But I was also very disappointed by a few events, the greatest of which was Rafal Blechacz. I’m shocked that he had such success in the Chopin competition and can only conclude (and hope) that his playing has changed drastically since then. Because of his incessant rushing, his Chopin interpretations were borderline unbearable. I have heard better, more stylistically appropriate renditions from students, and I am very disappointed in the Gilmore’s choice. Andre Watts played a decent recital, but after seeing his master class, I have absolutely no respect for him. The 3 students that played for him were exceptional, but he humiliated them in front of the audience (which was quite large). It is one thing to make a student question their musical choices, but he belittled them in the most inappropriate way by poking fun and getting the audience to laugh AT them. I was incredibly uncomfortable and left because I could not take it. The most enjoyable master classes I attended were given by Lori Sims, Gil Kalish, and Ingird Fliter, all of which were critical in an encouraging way and greatly improved the students playing in the course of 30 minutes.

    This was long winded, but I attended a lot of events and felt I needed to give thoughtful feedback.

    • We appreciate your thoughtful feedback. It’s comments like yours that help us make this a place of honest community engagement, and it amazes me how much the non-musical aspects of performance play a role in event enjoyment.

  • Big Fan

    The Gilmore Keyboard Festival is one of the best things about living in Kalamazoo. (For me, the other is the USTA boys’ tournament at Kalamazoo College’s Stowe Stadium). I make sure to attend a variety of Gilmore concerts during the fortnight. Please, PLEASE, continue this world-class event. It shines a spotlight on our well-deserving city and the festival organizers!

    • We believe that this festival is for the community and by the community – it wouldn’t happen if we didn’t have such wonderful audience turnout and sponsors. Thank you for your vote of support.

  • vfj

    John Legend’s performance was incredible. I’m so glad I got to attend the show, right here in Kalamazoo. It was a wonderful evening. Loved it.

  • William Stein

    There are four great music festivals on the planet: Salzburg, Bayreuth, Tanglewood, and Kalamazoo.

  • Tom Bailey

    Hats off as usual to the Gilmore. I’m glad some of the concerts [or some parts of some concerts] annoy some of us or press us past limits where we feel comfortable. I’m glad the Gilmore brings in artists who aren’t coasting or simply re-hashing life-long favorites. Blehacs was superb, no one better than Emanuel Ax, Storm Large creates a large storm wherever she goes, apparently: I couldn’t get tickets.
    When Robert Heinrickson says that the Gilmore is one of the great things about Kalamazoo, he’s right. And it was good news to see in the Gazette this morning that Dan Gustin is staying through 2018; we’re lucky to have him, too!!
    Irving Gilmore was a wonderful person whom I was privileged to know just a bit, well enough to know that he would be, in his modest way, dazzlingly proud of the festival named in his honor.

  • Gerald Dixson

    My wife and I were taken back by the great performance last night. John Legend in person, he is a real class act and motivator. Thank you for having this event. The three hour drive south from Houghton Lake was well worth it….

  • Shelly Cronin

    John Legend is absolutely amazing live and Chenery Auditorium was a perfect venue! Great Job!

  • Jim Teeter

    Wonderful festival from start to finish! I experienced such a broad spectrum of music and styles. Glad to attend so many events.

    • Jim – we are grateful to have your support and involvement!

  • Helen McCauslin

    You are welcome! But it is the Gilmore Staff and the artists you invited who deserve the THANK YOU. How grateful we are for the musical memories you have left us with!

  • Wilma Kahn

    What a tremendous festival!! The last three events I attended were Kirill Gerstein & Storm Large, Adam Makowicz, and Emanuel Ax. I feel so blessed to have seen/heard all these artists, each so fabulous and different from one another. I’m so impressed with the effort that went into planning and executing the festival — and I’m so grateful that it’s here in our own “backyard.” I hope that all the performers have or develop a love for Kalamazoo and want to return again and again.

  • Caroline Pavone

    John Legend was outstanding, thank you for this amazing event! Also took in the Greg Spero Trio and the Kellogg Foundation, also fantastic! Thank you Gilmore Festival!!

  • Diane

    Ben Folds was obscene. I want my $95.00 back. Unbelievable. We left before intermission and the woman next to us singing loudly OFF KEY the entire time. Horrible. Rafel Blechez wonderful but it did not redeem Ben Folds. Appalling.

  • Had a wonderful time at the Gilmore attending the final weekends master classes with Ax and Gerstein, and the Ax and Legend concerts. Wonderful insights from the master classes and great performances. My favorite two moments were Emanuel Ax’s Brahms Op 119, #1 and John Legends cover of Springsteens “Dancing in the Dark. Talk about contrasts!

  • Melena

    What an amazing festival! Kudos to The Gilmore and the artist selection committee. Had the pleasure of seeing John Legend this weekend. He was his brilliant self. The lighting design blew me away! Well done, Chenery Auditorium (Keith Baas?).

    • Keith

      This time it was their show, we just made it work. KB

  • Beth Luppe

    As a long-time Festival Fan, this year for the first time I have been able to watch more closely behind the scenes. I am incredulous at what it takes to bring The Festival to the public! We need to recognize and thank those who make all this magic happen.. those who seem to effortlessly troubleshoot, Remember Everything, work miracles with plugs and cords, work late, leaving family at home for days at a time to coordinate a long list of impossible deadlines… Today, I am grateful to and inspired by Adam Schumaker and Leslie Boughton, Adam’s Right Arm and Left Foot, who pull off what looks impossible to me with grace, humor, civility and generosity. Thank you for all you did to bring the miracle of excellent music to children, teens, young adults and anyone else who wanted to watch. I saw wonder in the eyes of so many (including my 80 year-old parents). Thanks Leslie and Adam, and to your families for all you have done. :)

  • Billy Patrick

    As a longtime volunteer, sponsor or and patron I continue to be amazed to see who The Gilmore brings in. I am not a musical afficiondo but each Festival brings me more knowledge if jazz, classical and concert pianist. I will always support the Gilmore in some way because it is so important to Kalamazoo and the region. Keep it up and continue to draw new attendees.

  • Canyon

    Honestly, the Vinikour recital was a bit of a joke. There are much better harpsichordists in Europe right now and the Gilmore would do well to know about them: Staier, Rousset, Esfahani, Alard…

  • Gregory Brumfield

    my thoughts were that the keyboard festival was great and complimentary the musicians sounded superb I wish, many humble blessings for 2016. thank you and may god bless.???.