Beginning this Saturday, SUNY-New Paltz presents the 18th season of the PianoSummer at New Paltz Festival and Institute. Under the artistic direction of the internationally renowned maestro Vladimir Feltsman, concerts, recitals, master classes, lectures and piano competitions will take place on the college campus from July 14 through August 3. This year’s guest artists include Jeremy Denk, Alexander Melnikov and Haesun Paik.
Keyboard prodigies from across the country and around the world are already gathering on the SUNY-New Paltz campus to study with a resident and guest faculty of piano masters led by the famed Russian émigré Feltsman, and to demonstrate their chops in the annual Jacob Flier Piano Competition. The general public is invited to sit in on the competition rounds and master classes and attend recitals by instructors and students both.
PianoSummer begins with a Faculty Gala Festival Concert on Saturday, July 14 at McKenna Theatre. Faculty performers that evening include Feltsman, Robert Hamilton, Phillip Kawin, Alexander Korsantia, Paul Ostrovsky, Robert Roux and Susan Starr. The concert program will include Bach, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Haydn, Schumann, Beethoven, Liszt, Brahms and Stravinsky.
Guest artist Melnikov will give a solo recital of works by Schubert, Brahms, Scriabin and Prokofiev on July 21, and Denk will play works by Liszt, Ligeti and Brahms on July 28. Tickets for these concerts cost $24 and $29 each. Melnikov, Feltsman and Paik will all offer weekday afternoon master classes, which cost $10 to attend.
Among the younger performers, Baron Fenwick, the winner of last year’s competition, will give a recital in the Shepard Recital Hall on Wednesday, July 18, and the second- and third-place winners on July 30, with tickets going for $10. Students in the competition will offer free recitals on campus, at Mohonk Mountain House and the Steinway Recital Hall in Manhattan.
The piano competition itself proceeds in two afternoon rounds: Admission to the first round, on Monday, July 23, is free, and it costs $10 to attend the nail-biting finals on Wednesday, July 25. This year’s winner gets to strut his or her stuff, sharing the McKenna stage with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic under Feltsman’s baton, on the evening of Friday, August 3 in what’s called the Symphony Gala. The program will include Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture, Ives’ Unanswered Question and Schubert’s Symphony No. 8 “Unfinished.” The Flier winner will perform a piano concerto. Tickets go for $34 and $39.
PianoSummer at SUNY-New Paltz runs from July 14 to August 3. Tickets to the Faculty Gala Festival Concert on Saturday, July 14, and the guest-artist concerts with Alexander Melnikov on July 21 and Jeremy Denk on July 28, go for $24 to $29. Tickets to the Symphony Gala on August 3, in which the winner of this year’s Jacob Flier Piano Competition will front the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, cost $34 to $39. All the major PianoSummer concerts take place at McKenna Theatre. To order, call the Parker Theatre box office at (845) 257-3880. For the complete PianoSummer schedule, visit www.newpaltz.edu/piano/schedule.html.