“What’s new at PianoSummer this year?” I asked its founder and director, Vladimir Feltsman. “Nothing,” he replied. “The last time we had something new was three years ago.” That was the first year sponsors made it possible for the students (22 this year), who are the central purpose of PianoSummer, to attend without any fees for housing and study. “Of course,” says Feltsman, “this has led to an increasing quality of the pianists who come to study here. The level is very high.”
Piano-lovers who attend PianoSummer events will have plenty of opportunity to sample the qualities of these students. They will participate in three student recitals, on July 12, 18 and 25, all at 7 p.m. The annual Jacob Flier Competition for PianoSummer students takes place on July 15 and 17 at 3 p.m. And PianoSummer students will show their abilities to play and to respond to guidance at master classes on July 11 and 19, also at 3 p.m.
There may not be an emphasis on new events this year at PianoSummer, although a discussion by Adrian Farmer of Nimbus Records (Feltsman’s label) on making recordings, July 23 at 3 p.m., is certainly something new, as is a public roundtable faculty discussion, which opens the Festival on July 9 at 3 p.m. But there will be some new faces at the Festival. The Faculty Gala concert, on July 13 at 7 p.m., includes new faculty member HaeSun Paik and guest Alexandre Moutouzkine, along with familiar pianists (Feltsman, Robert Hamilton, Philip Kawin and Paul Ostrovsky). Moutouzkine, who teaches at the Manhattan School of Music, has toured the world. Among his recordings is a live performance of Chopin’s Études: certainly a daring undertaking. Feltsman describes pianist Vadym Kholodenko as “one of the strongest pianists of his generation.” He is a Gold Medal-winner at the Van Cliburn Competition, and, since winning the competition, he has made a batch of CDs including Prokofiev’s complete Piano Concertos. Kholodenko’s solo recital on July 20 includes works of Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin-Godowsky and a Tchaikovsky Piano Sonata you’ve probably never heard. Kholodenko will also lead a master class on July 20.
PianoSummer events are uniformly priced at $10, except for the three evening special concert events. The final one of these, on July 26, features three prizewinners from last year’s Flier Competition. Tickets are now available at www.newpaltz.edu/piano/events.
PianoSummer at SUNY-New Paltz, July 9-26, Julien J. Studley Theatre, Old Main Building, SUNY-New Paltz; (845) 247-7869, www.newpaltz.edu/piano/events.