Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Gilmore Artists and Other Musicians

In May, we several performances during The Gilmore Keyboard Festival. Now in its 25th year, the festival has, since its inception, chosen seven Gilmore Artists, and thirty Gilmore Young Artists. The artists are chosen via a confidential selection process, and the awards are significant ($300,000 for the Gilmore Artist, and $15,000 for the Young Artists).

On January 8, the 2014 Gilmore Artist was announced: pianist Rafał Blechacz. The Gilmore site relates some of his accomplishments:
In 2005, Blechacz was named the uncontested winner of the prestigious International Chopin Piano Competition – the first Polish musician to win the competition in 30 years. In addition, he was awarded First Prize as well as all the special prizes of the competition – a feat no other pianist has achieved. He has performed in Europe, Japan and North America to critical acclaim, and he has ensured himself a huge following among piano aficionados.
On May 6, Jim and I attended Blechacz's solo recital, at Chenery Auditorium. Of course he performed Chopin, with some Bach and Beethoven thrown in:
Bach: Partita No. 3 in A Minor, BWV 827
Beethoven: Sonata No. 8 in C Minor, Op. 13, “Pathétique”
Chopin: Nocturne in A-flat Major, Op. 32, No. 2
Chopin: Two Polonaises, Op. 40
Chopin: Three Mazurkas, Op. 63
Chopin: Scherzo No. 3 in C-sharp Minor, Op. 39
It was all amazing (though I confess a fondness for the Pathétique). It is hard to believe that we can hear such a wonderful musician, such fine piano music, right here in Kalamazoo.

Two days later, we attended another recital, this one presented by Llewellyn Sanchez-Werner, one of this year's Gilmore Young Artists. He performed in Stetson Chapel, on the Kalamazoo College Campus.

Before the recital

This time, we went with Jess & Kevin, and their two oldest.

Kevin, Jess, Jim

K and L

I love the windows in Stetson Chapel

Sanchez-Werner performed these pieces:
Liszt: Vallée d’Obermann
Ravel: Alborada del gracioso
Beethoven: Sonata No. 31 in A-flat Major, Op. 110
Sanchez-Werner: Chasing Serenity – first performance
Chopin: Polonaise-Fantaisie in A-flat Major, Op. 61
Rachmaninoff: Moments musicaux, Op. 16, No. 1 in B-flat Minor
Ravel: La valse
Afterwards, he graciously chatted with K & L - he confessed that he started playing "in his early two's". And on our way out, we met his mother, who was equally charming. (Young K was much more comfortable chatting with the mother, than with Sanchez-Werner!)

With all this piano talk, I am reminded that back on April 3, I attended a student recital, where K and L both performed. Unfortunately, I only have a picture of L's flute-playing:

L and Annette

Plenty of good music to go around, here in Kalamazoo!

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