The Southeastern Piano Festival has wrapped up its 11th year with a week of sold-out concerts, a dynamic training program for young pianists from around the nation who took part in the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition and the announcement of legendary pianist Leon Fleisher as guest artist for the 2014 festival.
“We have been overwhelmed by the amazing turnout and support for the concerts. The level of students the festival is attracting is at an all-time high, coming from every corner of the United States and abroad.” -- Marina Lomazov, artistic director
The Festival, which ran June 9 – 15, is unique in combining a concert series by world-class pianists, a training program for pre-college pianists and an international competition for the participants.
The opening concert featuring SEPF faculty, an alumni concert, concerts by guest artists Claire Huangci and Petronel Malan packed the Recital Hall at the University of South Carolina School of Music, while Sergei Babayan’s concert at the Columbia Museum of Art filled the atrium to capacity.
In the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition First Prize was awarded to Hugo Kitano, 18, of San Francisco, Calif. His past awards include first place in the International Russian Music Piano Competition, the Young Pianist’s Beethoven Competition and the San Francisco Young Pianists’ Competition, and awards at the New York International Piano Competition and the International Chopin Piano Competition. He has been winner of the 2010, 2011 and 2012 U.S. Chopin Foundation Scholarship Competition and has performed on NPR’s “From the Top.”
Second Prize and Young Jury Award were won by Aleksandra Kasman, 18, of Vestavia Hills, Ala. Third prize went to Eric Lu, 15, Bedford, Mass., jury discretionary awards were awarded to Roger Shen, 14, Northbrook, Il, Anna Han, 17, Chandler, Ariz. And Evelyn Mo, 14, Alexandria, Va. The prize for best performance of a solo work went to Rachel Breen, 16, from Oakland, California.
The 2014 Southeastern Piano Festival will be held June 15 – 22 and will feature Leon Fleisher, recipient of the 2007 Kennedy Center Honors from President George W. Bush. Fleisher began studies with the great German pianist Artur Schnabel, made his New York Philharmonic debut at sixteen and was the first American to win a major international competition when he won the Queen Elisabeth of Belgium Competition in 1952. He made touchstone recordings with the Cleveland Orchestra and for a dozen years appeared in all the world's major music centers to great acclaim until in 1965 he was struck with a neurological affliction that left his right hand immobile. For almost four decades, Fleisher continued to share his talents through performances repertoire for left-hand, as a conductor and teacher. Through treatments he recently regained use of his right hand.
The Festival will partner with the South Carolina Philharmonic for a Piano Extravaganza concert featuring Marina Lomazov, Morihiko Nakahara and others to open the 2014 festival.