A Competition and Celebration of Piano Artistry
Ten international pianists compete in PianoArts competition for over $27,000 in prizes.
Every two years, some of the best piano artistry to be heard in Milwaukee has been heard by a rather small audience. That’s unfortunate. The ten semi-finalists in the PianoArts Biennial Competition bring substantial skills despite their age (16 to 21) to a high quality competition. As with ice-skating, the competitors choose the most challenging and flashy of the piano repertoire. The challenges increase throughout the competition, as presentations advance from solo recitals to chamber pairings to concertos. At the close, the three top candidates perform a piano concerto backed by the full forces of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.
The well-attended concluding event on Tuesday, June 5, at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts, offers an opportunity to hear great music and to appreciate the next generation of piano artists. The concerto competition begins at 7:30 p.m. Plan to come early that evening to hear each of the seven semi-finalists who are not participating in the concerto final share one of the best of their competition efforts at 6:00 p.m. Or start earlier at 5:00 p.m. for an introductory talk about the evening’s concertos by Meaghan Heinrich.
Public concert events are added to the celebration. This year, Aristo Sham, the winner of the 2016 competition, will offer a recital at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music on Thursday, May 31 at 7:30 p.m. Local chamber players will participate along with competition judges in a “Concert by the Masters” chamber music concert on Monday, June 4 at 7:30 p.m. at the Wilson Center. That concert will include judges Ann Schein, Peter Takács and Joyce Yang as well as violinist Margot Schwartz and cellist Scott Tisdel (both with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.)
The PianoArts program’s primary contribution continues throughout the year. Young contestants return to Milwaukee to participate in school and other performances. That offers opportunities in Milwaukee and gives young artists more opportunity to perform. The competition is also popular with contestants because of programs offered during the competition to enhance their professional skills. PianoArts Artistic Director Sue Medford feels a responsibility to stay in touch with contestants and continue to contribute to their development.
Or preview the competition by visiting the organization’s YouTube site. The recitals from the 2016 competition are available. You will be impressed.
The PianoArts website offers the full schedule of events and sorts out the options for tickets to events. A number of events are free. Single concerts are $25 ($15 for students). Package pricing is available.
In addition, contestants will perform at various community locations on Monday, June 4. (See the PianoArts website for details as they are arranged.)