Keys To A Summer In New Paltz

Photo courtesy of flickr user bokehburger.
Photo courtesy of flickr user bokehburger.
Photo courtesy of flickr user bokehburger.

New Paltz is tuning up for the 20th anniversary of PianoSummer, an international institute and festival dedicated to piano music.

The festival will kick off on Saturday, July 12 and is set to run until Friday, Aug. 1.

PianoSummer Founder and Artistic Director Vladimir Feltsman is also a professor at SUNY New Paltz and Mannes College of Music.

Vladimir Feltsman’s wife and coordinator of the PianoSummer Institute Haewon Feltsman, said students participating in PianoSummer will have the opportunity to learn not only from their personal teacher, but other teachers attending the event as well.

She said students will take piano lessons, master classes and participate in and watch performances.

The PianoSummer program includes four concerts set to take the stage, including the closing symphony gala.

“[Students] learn a lot from hearing other students play, and from the several faculty concerts,” Professor  and Concert Master Carole Cowan said. “Sometimes they have master classes, where one of the students will play, and everybody will listen, and then they’ll listen to the comments and then they may be asked comments themselves. You just learn a lot from being in an intensely focused environment.”

As part of the PianoSummer program, the Jacob Flier Piano Competition takes place toward the end of the three-week-long period, and is open to all students under the age of 35.

The competition’s winner performs a piano concerto with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, and the second and third place winners share a recital.

In addition, all three winners receive scholarships to attend the following year’s PianoSummer Institute.

Nine of the last 10 winners of the Jacob Flier Competition over the past ten years will play as a tribute to the program’s 20th year.

SUNY New Paltz faculty, including Lecturer Susan Seligman (cellist), Assistant Professor Joel Evans (oboist) and Professor William McCann (horn) will also be participating as members of the Hudson Valley Philharmonic.

Vladimir Feltsman said his plans for this year’s PianoSummer program are to give students the best  quality work and provide the top level of concerts for all audience members.

“I want students to learn and to expand their minds and for the public to enjoy the music and themselves,” Feltsman said. “They learn how to learn, which is the most important thing in all human endeavors, not only in music.”


About Melissa Kramer 157 Articles
Melissa Kramer is a fourth-year journalism major who lives for sports and music.