Pianists converge at UF's Steinway Festival

Published: Wednesday, January 5, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 4, 2005 at 10:24 p.m.
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Grammy-nominated pianist and conductor Philippe Entremont will teach daily master classes to aspiring pianists at UF's Steinway Festival starting Thursday.

Special to The Sun
The rising stars of classical piano will join Grammy-nominated pianist and conductor Philippe Entremont Thursday at the University of Florida's Steinway Festival.
"This is an Olympiad of young piano maestros," said Jackie Erney, information coordinator for UF's College of Fine Arts, which hosts the festival.
Now in its fourth year, the festival includes the only stateside session of the International Certificate of Piano Artists, a yearlong course for concert pianists. A select group of aspiring maestros around the world will take daily master classes from Entremont, as well as acclaimed pianist Nelson Delle-Vigne Fabbri and UF professor Boaz Sharon, who directs the festival and the university's piano program. The master classes are open for observation during the five-day festival, as are concerts by festival participants Thursday, Saturday and Monday at 7:30 p.m. in the University Auditorium.
Jean-Michel Damase of Paris' Ecole Normale de Musique "Alfred Cortot," which co-sponsors the program with UF and the Fondation Bell'Arte of Brussels, will teach a master class on Tuesday.
"This is an opportunity to hear great young pianists from around the world, from Prague to Paris," Erney said. "The program is very competitive. They play incredibly complex pieces."
On Friday, Entremont will give a rare lecture, co-sponsored by UF's France-Florida Research Institute, at 7:30 p.m. in the Keene Faculty Center in UF's Dauer Hall.
As a best-selling recording artist, conductor laureate of the Vienna Chamber Orchestra and principal conductor of the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra and the Israel Chamber Orchestra, Entremont is "certainly the most well-known French pianist of the century," Sharon said.
Master classes will take place Thursday through Tuesday in the University Auditorium and the Keene Faculty Center, where Sharon has just placed a new 9-foot Steinway piano, part of his mission to turn UF into an all-Steinway school.
"It's direct from the Steinway factory, and it's fantastic - a 10 out of 10. I couldn't wait to have this piano out in the community, so people can see what a good instrument it is," Sharon said.
Sharon says there's nothing comparable to the Steinway sound, a quality that's at the heart of his $2 million campaign to replace the school's pianos with the legendary instruments. Begun in 2003, the Steinway Initiative will require purchasing 64 new pianos, refurbishing three existing pianos, and establishing an endowment to maintain the instruments.
When the initiative reaches its goal, UF will be the only state university in Florida with the all-Steinway distinction, an honor it will share with just 27 other schools, including Juilliard and the Oberlin Conservatory.
"The care and expertise and professionalism that goes into the making of these pianos is much the same as it was 100 years ago," Sharon said. "It's not difficult to tell if a piece was recorded on a Steinway - the sound is absolutely gorgeous."
In addition to his many recitals around the state, Sharon hopes the Steinway Festival will help raise awareness of his goal, inspiring donors to help UF go all-Steinway. It will help attract the best up-and-coming pianists, not to mention filling the halls with that incomparable Steinway sound.
Festival schedule of events Thursday 1-3:30 p.m. Master class with Philippe Entremont, University Auditorium
7:30 p.m. Steinway Festival participant recital, University Auditorium
Friday 9-11:30 a.m. Master class with Entremont, University Auditorium
1-3:30 p.m. Master class with Boaz Sharon, University Auditorium
7:30 p.m. Lecture by Entremont, Keene Faculty Center, Dauer Hall
Saturday 9-11:30 a.m. Master class with Entremont, Performing Arts Center
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Participant recital, Performing Arts Center
2-4:30 p.m. Master class with Nelson Delle-Vigne Fabbri, University Auditorium
7:30 p.m. Participant recital, University Auditorium
Monday 9-11:30 a.m. Master class with Sharon, University Auditorium
1-3:30 p.m. Master class with Delle-Vigne Fabbri, University Auditorium
3:30-6 p.m. Master class with Entremont, University Auditorium
7:30 p.m. Participant recital, University Auditorium
Tuesday 9-11:30 a.m. Master class with Jean-Michel Damase, University Auditorium
1 p.m. Master class with Entremont 4 p.m. Q&A with the Steinway Festival artist faculty in the Keene Faculty Center

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