Mano and Brigitta Solinski play key role in pianists' careers
When the next School of Music graduate wins a prestigious piano competition, he or she will likely thank Mano and Brigitta Solinski.
The Solinskis are major benefactors of the School of Music's Southeastern Piano Festival held each June for top young classical pianists around the country. The couple, who live on Skidaway Island near Savannah, not only have provided a major bequest to ensure the piano festival's long-term future, they also support the festival's yearly operations.
The festival brings 20 of the nation's top high-school age classical concerto pianists to Columbia for a week-long series of workshops, culminating in a competition. They are judged by concerto pianists who previously earned top prize at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Texas, as well as other judges.
The Solinskis first learned of the Southeastern Piano Festival in 2005 from a student competitor who introduced them to Marina Lomazov, an associate professor of piano at Carolina. Years earlier, Lomazov competed in and won the Hilton Head International competition.
"We were immediately impressed by the program's focus on the students and also overwhelmed, to say the least, by the quality and performance ability of these young pianists," Mano Solinski said. "Meeting with, and hearing from Marina Lomazov about the intent of the festival and the plans for the future if funds allow, we felt an obligation to lend support."
The Solinskis are constant in their support of young classical pianists. Four times a year, they host house recitals featuring young pianists; a few dozen fellow patrons attend. The pianists perform classical compositions by Rachmaninov, Schumann, Chopin, Liszt, and other composer greats on the Solinskis' Mason & Hamlin grand piano.