Re-imagined World Piano Competition Set to Make Cincinnati a Classical Piano Destination in July
Partnerships with the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra signal new era for respected organization
Cincinnati’s World Piano Competition, an annual classical piano competition featuring top performers from across the globe since 1956, is undergoing an expansion with two exciting new collaborations and instituting a variety of changes aimed at enhancing the quality of the event and making Cincinnati a truly world-class destination for classical piano performance.
Primary among the changes at the re-imagined Competition, already a highly respected event, are partnerships with two of the city’s cultural cornerstones – the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). Beginning with the July 2013 Competition, finalists in the Artist Division will have the distinct honor of performing with the world-renowned CSO, made up of some of the world’s finest musicians and an ensemble that regularly collaborates with classical music’s premier performing artists. The performances featuring the finalists will be led by CSO Associate Conductor Robert Treviño. The event will also move to CCM, one of the nation’s top performing arts conservatories, where the acclaimed faculty will oversee upgrades to the Competition’s jury system.
“Our association with the CSO and CCM is really a game-changer for the Competition,” said Mark Ernster, the organization’s interim executive director, who has served in that capacity since the retirement last fall of founder and executive director Gloria Ackerman. Ernster explained that having CSO’s musicians backing the finalists is expected to result in an uptick in both the number and quality of applicants, as well as in audience numbers. CCM’s review and improvement of the jury system will enhance the organization’s credibility, a critical success element in the world of classical piano competition. Both partnerships will allow the Competition more efficiently to leverage administrative economies of scale and artistic expertise.
“We’re talking about one of the world’s best orchestras and one of the most respected conservatories,” he said; “that’s pretty good company to keep.”
World Piano Competition Re-imagined
The Artist Division winner will also have the unique opportunity to record a solo piano album using CCM’s state of the art recording facilities and engineers in the school’s Division of Electronic Media. The recording will be released on the CSO’s Fanfare Cincinnati label, globally distributed by Naxos.
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra offers competitors a chance of a lifetime
CSO President Trey Devey said the partnership with the Competition fits in well with this organization’s strategic vision, which includes raising Cincinnati’s global profile and enhancing the quality of life through great musical performances. “With this important collaboration and the unique assets of these three partners, the World Piano Competition is poised to join the ranks of the world’s most respected piano competitions,” he said.
The CSO, which also performs as the Cincinnati Pops, is the official orchestra for the May Festival, the oldest continuous choral festival in the Western Hemisphere, as well as Cincinnati Opera and Cincinnati Ballet. The World Piano Competition will be the fourth in a series of strategic partnerships that, according to Mr. Devey, “elevate the cultural offerings in our region.” Having additional performances for the CSO also helps to ensure that Cincinnati can sustain a world-class orchestra.
The CSO will also provide support to the Competition by way of administration, ticketing, data systems, stage management and the extensive orchestra library.
The CSO’s participation as the official orchestra for the Competition was made possible by generous support from Anne and George H. Musekamp, Sue and Bill Friedlander, Christine and Tom Neyer, Sr., Trish and Rick Bryan, and Vicky and Rick Reynolds.
University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music hosts performers and master teachers from around the world
CCM Dean Peter Landgren sees similar advantages, including added exposure for the college during the summer season when students are largely off campus. “We have taken this opportunity to align CCM’s existing piano activities – including our Art of the Piano Summer Program and our Preparatory Summer Piano Institute – with two weeks of World Piano Competition activities,” he said. “This new collaboration will make Cincinnati and CCM a premiere destination for world-class piano programs and activities. Bringing the CSO to CCM is also an imperative for our college, so this partnership was a great fit in many ways.”
World Piano Competition Re-imagined
Members of CCM’s faculty, under the leadership of Associate Professor of Piano and Artist-in-Residence Awadagin Pratt, have developed repertoire lists and refined the competition rules. Competitors will also have a greatly enhanced experience in Cincinnati by virtue of both CCM’s state-of-the-art facilities and the University of Cincinnati’s general services and amenities, including a campus hailed as one of the world’s most beautiful college campuses by Forbes Magazine. This includes access to practice rooms outfitted with Steinway pianos – CCM is an All-Steinway School – and master classes held in conjunction with the Art of the Piano Program. CCM’s visually striking and acoustically fine Corbett Auditorium, which received the United States Institute for Theatre Technology’s Meritorious Achievement Award for Outstanding New Theatre upon its opening, will host the Competition’s main performances. Along with the practice, rehearsal, competition and performance venues and pianos, CCM will also provide tuning, technical and logistical support.
CCM’s Art of the Piano Program (July 13 – 26) and Preparatory Summer Piano Institute (July 15 – 19) will run concurrently with the Competition, effectively bringing the world’s most sought-after piano teachers and artists together with up-and-coming performers from around the world.
Re-imagined World Piano Competition
The two new partnerships are only a part of many changes under way at the Competition, which was founded in 1956. The organization has created and begun implementing a multi-year strategic plan and has recruited new board members. It is moving into the CSO’s office space at Music Hall and has developed a new logo and redesigned website. It is also ramping up a more aggressive communications and outreach effort.
“The World Piano Competition has always attracted top-tier competitors from around the world but, frankly, we need to grow our base, both in terms of supporters and audience,” said Ernster. “By doing so, we will not only ensure the Competition’s future growth and success but also build Cincinnati’s reputation as a world-class music destination.”
The World Piano Competition supports the development and enjoyment of the art of classical piano through promotion and education. In addition to cash prizes, winners are afforded a variety of exposure opportunities through performances at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, as well as locally. The Competition also helps foster appreciation for classical piano through community outreach with its Bach/Beethoven/Brahms program for school children and dinner performances featuring past and present Competition winners.
World Piano Competition Re-imagined
This year marks the World Piano Competition’s 57th season. The 2013 event dates for the Artist Division (for ages 18 to 32) are July 8 – 13. The three finalists will perform with the CSO under the direction of Associate Conductor Robert Treviño on July 13.The Young Artist (ages five to 17) dates are July 22 – 27. Both competitions take place at CCM, and online registration (www.cincinnatiwpc.org) is now open. The application deadline is March 15. More information is available at 513-421-5342.
Tickets for 2013 World Piano Competition performances will be available at the Music Hall Box Office, or by calling 513-381-3300, starting March 4 at 10 a.m. Ticket prices start at $15 for the Artist Division and $10 for the Young Artist Division
About the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra is a dynamic ensemble of some of the world’s finest musicians. The fifth oldest symphony orchestra in the U.S. and the oldest orchestra in Ohio, the CSO has played a leading role in the cultural life of Greater Cincinnati and the Midwest since its founding in 1895.
Louis Langrée begins his tenure as CSO’s thirteenth Music Director in the 2013-14 season, succeeding Paavo Järvi, whose tenure concluded in 2011 after ten seasons. Over the Orchestra’s nearly 118-year history, it has also been led by the likes of Leopold Stokowski, Eugène Ysaÿe, Fritz Reiner, Max Rudolf, Thomas Schippers and Jesús López-Cobos, among others. During this most recent music director search, the Orchestra enlisted Creative Directors for the CSO’s three respective subscription series. For the 2011-12 season, the Creative Directors were conductor Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, pianist Lang Lang and composer Philip Glass. For the current 2012-13 season, they are Maestro Frühbeck de Burgos, saxophonist Branford Marsalis and composer Jennifer Higdon.
Over the years, the CSO has built a reputation as one of the world’s foremost orchestras and a champion of new music. Cincinnati has been home to the American premieres of works by such composers as Debussy, Mahler, Ravel and Bartók, and the world premiere of many works including Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait. The Orchestra has also commissioned works that have since become mainstays of the classical repertoire including Copland’s iconic Fanfare for the Common Man. Most recently, the CSO commissioned Philip Glass’ Cello Concerto No. 2, Naqoyqatsi, which was premiered in March. A recording of the piece will be released in 2013 on the Orange Mountain Music label.
World Piano Competition Re-imagined
The CSO was the first orchestra to be broadcast to a national radio audience in 1921 and the Orchestra continues to be featured on national radio broadcasts, reaching 2.3 million listeners this year alone. The CSO was the third orchestra to record in 1917 and that rich legacy continues. Ten million CSO and Cincinnati Pops recordings have been sold around the world since 1980, mostly on the Telarc label and including Grammy winners. In January of 2010, the CSO launched its own record label, re-named Fanfare Cincinnati in 2011, which has released two CSO discs to date, American Portraits and Baltic Portraits. The third Fanfare Cincinnati disc, Home for the Holidays from the Cincinnati Pops, was released in fall 2012, while another Pops recording, Superheroes, is scheduled for release in fall 2013.
The CSO was the first American orchestra to make a world tour sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and continues to tour domestically and internationally, most recently to Europe in 2008 (Paris, Madrid, Vienna and Amsterdam) and to Japan in 2009, including two concerts at Tokyo’s Suntory Hall and the CSO’s first-ever nationally televised concert in Japan at NHK Hall. The CSO has performed at New York’s world-famous Carnegie Hall 47 times since its debut there in 1917, most recently in February 2010, and is scheduled to perform with James Conlon and the May Festival Chorus at Carnegie Hall in 2014 as part of the Spring for Music festival.
One of 15 North American orchestras performing year-round, the CSO presents classical and Cincinnati Pops subscription concerts, Young People’s Concerts, Lollipops Family Concerts, CSO Chamber Players performances, summer performances at Riverbend Music Center, and Concerts in the Park. The CSO is also the official orchestra for the Cincinnati May Festival, Cincinnati Opera, Cincinnati Ballet and World Piano Competition. The CSO Chamber Players series, instituted by the Orchestra in 1988, features CSO musicians performing a diverse array of chamber music.
The CSO is committed to enhancing and expanding music education for the students of Greater Cincinnati and works to bring music education in its many different forms to as broad a public as possible. Community Engagement programs serve more than 65,000 individuals annually. Since 1999, the CSO has been reaching this goal through its innovative education and outreach program, Sound Discoveries: Music for Life, Music for the Community, Music for a Career.
For more information about the CSO, visit www.cincinnatisymphony.org.
World Piano Competition Re-imagined
About the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music
The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) is an educational institution for the performing arts, electronic media arts, composition, scholarship and pedagogy within a comprehensive public university. The synergy between the conservatory and the university gives the college its unique character and defines its mission:
- To inspire and enable students to attain the highest artistic levels and mastery in their respective fields;
- To prepare professionals in the areas of performance, composition, research, music teacher education, electronic media/broadcasting, theatre design and production, and arts administration for careers in the 21st century;
- To foster artistic, creative and intellectual exchange within CCM and throughout the university through interdisciplinary collaboration, study, research and public forums;
- To provide appropriate opportunities for the general university student to participate in and appreciate the performing and electronic media arts;
- To maintain and further develop a national and international reputation while serving the people of the state of Ohio and functioning as an integral part of a city with strong traditions in the arts and broadcasting.
CCM is recognized both nationally and internationally as one of the leading conservatories for the performing and electronic media arts, composition, scholarship and pedagogy. In the most recent rankings by U.S. News and World Report, CCM was honored as the sixth top program in the country for pursuing a graduate degree in music. CCM ensembles have performed internationally, recorded for major labels and won ASCAP awards for excellence and programming.
CCM is the largest single source of performing arts presentations in the state of Ohio. Its annual calendar boasts nearly 1,000 events, ranging from solo recitals to fully staged opera and musical theatre productions.
In 1999 CCM celebrated the completion of the CCM Village, the renovated and expanded home of the college. Its stunning, comprehensive performance and educational facilities are unrivaled in the nation. Designed by architect Henry N. Cobb, the CCM Village received a National Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects in 2001.
In 2009 CCM received the designation of “All-Steinway School,” a distinction shared by the top conservatories in the world. CCM has also become one of the largest repositories of Steinway pianos outside of the company’s Long Island City, N.Y.-based factory.
World Piano Competition Re-imagined
In 2011 CCM was officially recognized by the Ohio Board of Regents as the state’s first Center of Excellence in Music and Theatre Arts.
More than 150 internationally recognized faculty members work with students from around the world, specializing in one of eight academic divisions: Composition, Musicology, Theory; Dance; Electronic Media; Ensembles and Conducting; Keyboard Studies; Music Education; Opera, Musical Theatre, Drama, Arts Administration, Theatre Design and Production; and Performance Studies.
For more information, visit http://ccm.uc.edu. Experience the sound of synergy at UC’s College-Conservatory of Music.
About The World Piano Competition
Held annually in Cincinnati, The World Piano Competition attracts applicants from every corner of the world. The talented artists and young artists proceed through a series of auditions to The World Piano Competition to compete for over $65,000 in prize money. The Gold Medal winner in the Artist Division is awarded a debut recital at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall in New York and numerous performance opportunities worldwide.
The Competition is sponsored by ArtsWave, Charles H. Dater Foundation, The Marge and Charles J. Schott Foundation, and George Musekamp Family Foundation.
Legendary pianist André Watts judged springtime examinations and competition in 1972, and accepted a leadership role in the renamed American Music Scholarship Association, contributing $5,000 as a matching grant to the cause. Masterclasses with leading pianists were added as a part of the competition’s prize structure, in addition to cash awards.
Another legendary pianist, Arthur Rubinstein, conducted his one and only masterclass in the United States for World Piano Competition winners at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, New York in 1973. CBS-TV broadcasted the class nationwide.
In 1986, the World Piano Performances, a recital series in the Cincinnati area, was inaugurated to give increased exposure and performance opportunities to winners of The World Piano Competition. Each of the 3 top prizewinners was invited back to Cincinnati for a week of concerts during the winter-spring season.
In 1989, performances were expanded to include educational outreach programs for the benefit of the surrounding community. Competition winners performed in Cincinnati Public Schools for groups of school children and senior citizens.
Today, pianists representing over 20 countries compete annually in the World Piano Competition.
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