Owen Mortimer

Pianofest in the Hamptons turns 30

6:38, 11th May 2018

The US summer classical music festival Pianofest in the Hamptons has announced its 30th anniversary season, running from 18 June to 13 August 2018.

The annual summerlong event in Suffolk County, New York offers concentrated study to a small group of gifted young pianists. Practice sessions and masterclasses take place in a classic Hamptons’ manse where at least eight grand pianos are actively used – including one in the kitchen!

Weekly evening concerts feature the emerging artists at venues in nearby Southampton and East Hampton. More than 20 students have been selected to join the festival in 2018.

The ethos of Pianofest is supportive rather than competitive. As well as focusing on solo repertoire, students accompany each other in concertos and explore the duo piano literature. It is also an opportunity for participants to develop friendships and contacts with the local community. The Hamptons attract visitors from around the world, while residents include renowned authors, artists and musicians.

This year’s Pianofest faculty is led by festival director Paul Schenly and features guest artists Orion Weiss, Jerome Lowenthal from the Juilliard School, Robert Blocker from the Yale School of Music and Pavel Nersessian of the Moscow State Conservatory and Boston University.

Nearly 500 pianists have passed through Pianofest over the past three decades, including celebrated artists Sergei Babayan and the Anderson & Roe Piano Duo. ‘Pianofest is a place to dream and be idealistic,’ says Babayan. ‘It was an amazing learning experience for my musical future.’


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