Fort Worth — Fort Worth is a piano town. The Cliburn Foundation holds international competitions and several recital series. PianoTexas presents internationally recognized artists in a summer festival at Texas Christian University. Between the two of them, the eyes of the piano world are usually trained on Fort Worth.
PianoTexas opens this weekend with a full schedule of events. There are three tracks of participation. One is for exceptional young artists, another is for talented amateurs and piano teachers and the third is a group of outstanding professionals who will give recitals and master classes. All are open to the public (tickets are required for some events).
“The June 5 opening concert was supposed to be played by the distinguished TCU faculty member and Cliburn gold medalist, José Feghali,” says Tamás Ungár, Executive Director and TCU faculty member. “His untimely death has deeply affected us all, so we will present a tribute concert featuring his TCU colleagues.”
“In past years, we have concentrated on one composer,” says Ungár. “Last year it was Beethoven and this year it is Chopin.”
The faculty have the distinction of all being past winners of the Chopin International Piano Competition. Dang Thai Son, who took the First Prize in 1980, will perform on June 20. Dina Yoffe was the Second Prize winner in 1975 and will play June 12. Piotr Paleczny, the third Prize winner in 1970, will perform on June 13. Eugen Indjic, who took the fourth prize in 1970, will play June 6.
In addition, the festival features Wojciech Świtała, the leading expert on Chopin’s music and the distinguished Israeli pianist, Arie Vardi. They will present master classes and discussions about Chopin’s unique style and influence on the history of music.
Young Artists have always been an important part of Piano Texas and this year’s group is of an especially high level.
“We had 132 applications for the young artist spots this year,” says Ungár. “They are all on a very high level. Three international judges invited 24 to attend and all of them are on a scholarship.
Six of them will compete in the 17th Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw starting in October. Two of them will compete in the First Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition and Festival in June.
They will compete here as well,” says Ungár. “Here, they will compete for a few slots to perform with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra.”
Those concerts will be on June 18, 18 and 21. Guest conductor Lio Kuokman will be on the podium. He is currently the Assistant Conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
“Lio is an alumnus of Piano Texas,” says Ungár, with a note of pride in his voice. “In fact, he was one of the soloists performing with the FWSO in 2004.”
Only the recitals have a charge. General admission to these concerts is $30; $25 for the student performances with the FWSO. PianoTexas offers the usual discounts for teachers, senior citizens and students. All performances will take place in PepsiCo Recital Hall on the TCU campus.
All information about the performances, including date and time together with the biographies of all the performers is available on the PianoTexas website: http://www.pianotexas.org.
The list is this year's concerts is:
Distinguished Artist Recital Series
- 7:30pm June 5: Opening Concert in memory of Jose Feghali
- 7:30pm June 6: Eugen Indjic
- 7:30pm June 12: Piotr Paleczny
- 7:30pm June 13: Dina Yoffe
- 7:30pm June 19: Arie Vardi
- 7:30pm June 20: Dang Thai Son
- June 14: Young Artist Concerto Concert
- June 18: Teachers and Amateurs Concerto Concert
- June 21: Young Artist Concerto Concert