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School of Music

Extravaganza Concert

Southeastern Piano Festival

The Southeastern Piano Festival transforms the University of South Carolina School of Music and Columbia into a major cultural destination that draws in audiences and young piano talent from across the United States.

Marina Lomazov, Artistic Director
Joseph Rackers, Program Director

2016 Festival dates

June 12–19, 2016


Purchase tickets here (online tickets not yet available).
$5 Student rush tickets and free tickets for those 18 and younger are available one hour prior to each concert.

The Southeastern Piano Festival is solely supported through generous contributions from people like you. Many Festival concerts are sold-out affairs. You can ensure that you will have a seat at the next outstanding concert by making a contribution to the festival. Your support will allow the University of South Carolina School of Music to continue to bring the festival to you. To make a contribution, please contact Polly Laffitte, 803-777-4337, or you may contribute online here.

The 2016 lineup of guest stars

The 2016 Southeastern Piano Festival has a stellar lineup of guest artists you will not want to miss:

2016 Guest Artists

Sergei Babayan

Sergei Babayan

Hailed for his emotional intensity, bold energy and remarkable levels of color, Sergei Babayan brings a deep understanding and insight to a stylistically diverse repertoire, which includes a performance history of 54 concertos. Le Figaro has praised his "unequaled touch, perfectly harmonious phrasing and breathtaking virtuosity."

Ann Schein

Ann Schein

The Washington Post wrote, "Thank heaven for Ann Schein... what a relief it is to hear a pianist who, with no muss or fuss, simply reaches right into the heart of whatever she is playing – and creates music so powerful you cannot tear yourself away". From her first recordings with Kapp Records, and her highly acclaimed Carnegie Hall recital debut as an artist on the Sol Hurok roster, Ann Schein's amazing career has earned her high praise in major American and European cities and in more than 50 countries around the world.

Julian Martin

  Julian Martin  

While still a student at Peabody Conservatory, Julian Martin began a career that has taken him to major halls around the globe. Endorsements have followed from the world press, from Buenos Aires, Caracas, and Los Angeles to Florence, Moscow, and Tokyo. A native of Alabama, Martin received his early training from Beverly Gibbons and conductor Vernon Raines. He continued his studies at Peabody where he studied with Leon Fleisher. He also worked supplementally with Guido Agosti, Robert Casadesus, and Nadia Boulanger.

Soyeon Kate Lee and Ran Dank

Soyeon Kate Lee and Ran Dank

First prize winner of the 2010 Naumburg International Piano Competition and the 2004 Concert Artist Guild International Competition, Korean-American pianist Soyeon Kate Lee has been lauded by the New York Times as a pianist with "a huge, richly varied sound, a lively imagination and a firm sense of style," and by the Washington Post for her "stunning command of the keyboard. Technically dazzling and intellectually probing artistry exemplify pianist Ran Dank who won a coveted place on the Young Concert Artists roster in 2009 and subsequently made his New York recital debut sponsored by YCA and the Jerome L.Greene Foundation at Merkin Hall December 14, 2009. He was a laureate of the Cleveland International Competition, the Naumburg Piano Competition and the Sydney International Piano Competition and First Prize winner of the Hilton Head International Piano Competition.

Jason Kwak

Jason Kwak

Pianist Jason Kwak enjoys a successful career, both as an artist and as a pedagogue and has received top prize in many piano competitions. Born in Seoul, South Korea, Dr. Kwak began his piano studies at the age of four. He has earned his degrees in Piano Performance from Eastman School of Music and The University of Texas at Austin. His principal piano teachers include David Watkins, Douglass Weeks, Barry Snyder, and Nancy Garrett. Dr. Kwak is currently a Professor of Piano and Coordinator of the Keyboard Area at Texas State University.

Eric Lu

Eric Lu

Eric Lu, born in 1997, is starting to establish himself as a young pianist with a distinctive voice. In February 2015, he was awarded the first prize and concerto prize at the 9th National Chopin Competition in Miami, FL. In 2013, at the age of 15, he was admitted into the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where he currently studies. Eric has received top prizes at a number of other major international competitions.

Ināra Zandmane

Ināra Zandmane

Now entering her six year as the second pianist for the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition concerto performances, Inara Zandmane was born in the capital of Latvia, Riga and started playing the piano at the age of six. She has been the staff accompanist at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro since 2003, performing up to 50 recitals per year. Ms. Zandmane is frequently invited to serve as an official accompanist at national competitions and conferences.


Konzert Kidz

Konzert Kidz, a new initiative begun last summer, becomes a regular SEPF program and continues with concerts throughout the year. Designed to attract young audiences to concert halls, Konzert Kidz gives children life-long appreciation of the live music experience. More than 100 families signed up to participate in the event at last year’s Piano Fireworks concert, allowing children to come on stage and interact with the Steinway Grands after the festival’s opening concert. Learn more.

About the Festival

The Southeastern Piano Festival is a high-level training platform for young pianists, a presenter of new and world-renowned concert pianists and master teachers, an advocate for new piano music, and a vehicle for exploring different roles the piano plays on stage and beyond.

Twenty of some of the best precollege pianists on the piano scene today take part in a rigorous program that includes daily lessons with USC piano faculty, master classes with guest artists and up to five hours of practice a day.

The week's events culminate with the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition, adjudicated by a distinguished panel of judges. Winners of the competition receive cash awards and the opportunity to perform with the South Carolina Philharmonic.

For music lovers, the Festival offers nightly concerts by a rich lineup of world-class pianists.

The Southeastern Piano Festival presents a perfect symbiosis of the new generation of pianists in search of inspiration and challenge and the world-class guest artists who provide that inspiration.

The attraction of the Festival lies in its versatility: whether you're a budding piano virtuoso, an educator or a music aficionado, the Festival offers something for everyone who loves piano.

Piano Festival Public Events

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View the SEPF Calendar