Apply Now for the 2018 Southeastern Piano Festival

With a line-up that includes evening concerts, masterclasses, and lectures by some of the finest pianists across the country, the 2018 Southeastern Piano Festival promises to be the most exciting and exhilarating one to date! Guest artists and faculty for 2018 include Charlie Albright, Simone Dinnerstein, Lera Auerbach, Rebecca Penneys, Sasha Starcevich, Antonio Pompa-Baldi, John Perry, Charles Fugo, Philip Bush, and Marina Lomazov and Joseph Rackers who are the artistic directors of the festival.

Prizes for the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition include a $5000 First Prize and the opportunity to perform a concerto with the South Carolina Philharmonic.  The festival, which takes place June 17-23, holds a special place in the South Carolina musical and cultural community. The festival provides an opportunity for pre-college students to perform, learn, network, and most importantly become part of a large family which holds the best interests of its participants to a very high standard.

The festival has become a platform for many aspiring performers and has enhanced the study and careers of many competitors and participants, including Daniel Szefer. “Rarely does one get to attend a festival so intense and immersive like the Southeastern Piano Festival. Not only do you get to hear excellent musicians every night, you also get to interact with other very passionate young pianists. I will never forget Sergei Babayan’s masterful performance of Bach’s first volume of Preludes and Fugues. The whole experience of the Festival was extremely inspiring and motivated me to continue onward towards music and further develop my craft as a pianist and musician.” says Szefer. In June 2016, Szefer was a top prizewinner at the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition. In the same month he was offered scholarship and admission to the Advanced Performance Program at the SEPFdanielszeferMount Royal University Conservatory in Calgary, CA. In July 2017, he was a finalist and prize winner of the international “Prix Orford Musique” in Quebec, Canada.  David Hou, the first-prize winner in 2016 later became a semifinalist in the 2016 Cooper International Piano Competition, and a contestant in the 2017 International E-Competition.

Apply now to become a part of the wonderfully diverse and special Southeastern Piano Festival family! For more information, please visit our website. You can also follow the festival on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.




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2018 Southeastern Piano Festival Guest Artists Announced

Simone_DinnersteinAfter celebrating the Fifteenth Anniversary in June, the Southeastern Piano Festival Directors look forward to the planning and preparation of the 2018 festival. “Celebrating 15 years of music making in 2017 was unforgettable.  Every concert that week was special from Frederic Chiu’s unexpected ‘face-off’ pairing of Debussy and Prokofiev, to Vadym Kholodenko’s mesmerizing Scriabin and the show-stopping brilliance of Anderson and Roe’s performance”, says Marina Lomazov, the Festival’s Artistic Director.

In 2018, audiences and participants can expect an exciting line-up of guest artists to follow the fifteenth year.  “We are thrilled to present a diverse array of guest artists for the 2018 Festival.  From Simone Dinnerstein performing the Bach Goldberg Variations, to masterclasses with the legendary John Perry, we are looking forward to an inspiring week of artistry”, says Program Director Joseph Rackers.   The festival will take place in Columbia, at the University of South Carolina School of Music, from June 17-23, 2018.

Presenting evening concerts this year are Charlie Albright, who was named Artist-in-Residence for Harvard University’s Leverett House, a position last filled by cellist Yo-Yo Ma; Antonio Pompa – Baldi, who appears regularly at the world’s major concert venues like New York’s Carnegie Hall, Paris’ Salle Pleyel, Milan’s Sala Verdi, Shanghai’s Grand Theatre, and Boston’s Symphony Hall; Simone Dinnerstein, whose Goldberg Variations CD ranked No. 1 on Billboard classical chart in 2007 in its first week of release, and Lera Auerbach, a Russian-American composer, concert pianist, poet and visual artist, who has become one of today’s most innovative and creative voices.

SEPF is also proud to present an array of masterclasses and lectures from such sought-after master teachers such as Rebecca Penneys, Professor Emerita of Piano at the Eastman School of Music and founder/director of the Rebecca Penneys Piano Festival, John Perry, currently Professor of Piano at Glenn Gould School in Toronto and California State University Northridge and Professor Emeritus of the USC Thornton School of Music, and Sasha Starcevich, who has given recitals at New York’s Carnegie Recital Hall, Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Hall, Windsor Castle, and in London’s Wigmore Hall and whose students routinely take top prizes in some of the world’s most prestigious piano competitions, including first prize at MTNA National, first prize at e-Competition, first prize at Young Concert Artists, and first prize at Roslyn Turek Bach Competition.

More information can be found on the Southeastern Piano Festival website or on the Facebook page. The festival can also be followed on Instagram and Twitter.

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Winners of the 2017 Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition announced

The tension and anticipation in the audience and among the participants was mounting, as a panel of distinguished judges deliberated.  At last, the jury panel emerged, results in hand. To a great cheer, Joseph Rackers, Program Director of the festival, announced the results.

Here are the winners:
1st Prize – Catherine Huang
2nd Prize and Best Solo Prize – Kasey Shao
3rd Prize – Eric Lin
Discretionary Awards Winners – Eriko Darcy, Raymond Feng, Yannie Tan
Best Contemporary Work written after 1990 – John Cao
Young Jury Award – Catherine Huang
Congratulations to all!


From left to right: Yannie Tan, Erico Darcy, Raymond Feng, Kasey Shao, Eric Lin, Catherine Huang, John Cao

Photo credit: Michael Bull


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2017 Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition Livestream

There is always nervous hush that comes over the participants, when the number drawing ceremony for the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition begins, and this past Sunday was no exception.  The 2017 Southeastern Piano Festival participants were quiet, as one by one they came to draw their respective numbers that would determine the order of the performances in the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition that takes place this Friday, June 23, 10 AM – 9:30 PM at the University of South Carolina School of Music Recital Hall.

The complete schedule of performers together with their repertoire selection for the competition can be viewed here: 2017 COMPETITION Schedule-Repertoire

The competition will be live streamed – just go to the home page to view it as it unfolds.

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2017 Southeastern Piano Festival pushes boundaries with Piano Extravaganza

1. Piano Extravaganza_Cropped

In June of 2017 the Southeastern Piano Festival is celebrating 15 years of making music, educating and presenting over 250 pianists in concerts, masterclasses and the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition, and sharing the great art of piano playing with the audiences from the Southeast and beyond.  From 13 year-old prodigies to world-acclaimed piano virtuosos, from piano teachers to music aficionados, the festival offers something to everyone who loves piano and music.

As of May 1, 2017 tickets have gone on sale for our most daring Piano Extravaganza concert which opens the festival on June 18, 2017 in Koger Center at 4:00 PM.  15 pianists will perform music that spans more than 100 years, from Debussy’s Clair de Lune to Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk, performing on up to five (!) Steinway grands.  This multi-piano showcase features a cameo appearance by Anderson & Roe piano duo and Orff’s Carmina Burana, a choral masterpiece that combines pianos, percussion and an award-winning Miami-based choir, for a grand finale.

The week continues with a stellar line-up of world-renown artists we are fortunate to host here in Columbia for the week of the festival.  Performing during the 2017 Festival are Anderson & Roe, a groundbreaking, style-crossing dynamic piano duo that feel equally at home playing Michael Jackson hits and Vivaldi. They have appeared on NPR and MTV, recorded Billboard chart-topping albums, toured worldwide as recitalists and orchestral soloists, and released Emmy-nominated, self-produced music videos viewed by millions; Frederic Chiu, a piano world guru with a unique voice and insight into new and traditional repertoire; Vadim Kholodenko, Gold Medalist of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition; and Anna Han and Chaeyoung Park, two former award winners of the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition.

In addition to presenting new and world-renowned concert pianists, the Southeastern Piano Festival is a high-level training platform for young pianists. The twenty pre-college pianists selected for 2017 festival can hold their own on the concert circuit already.  Many of them have won awards and prizes from other prestigious venues and competition and are veterans of the concert stage.  Visit our Facebook page where we gradually reveal our rising stars chosen to participate in this year’s festival.

The Festival culminates with the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition sponsored by the Symphony League of Columbia, SC. After a rigorous weeklong program, the young pianists compete for cash awards and the opportunity to perform with the South Carolina Philharmonic. The competition takes place Friday, June 23, at the School of Music Recital Hall from 10 am to 10 pm (with breaks) and it’s free and open to the public.

Concerts take place at venues around the city throughout the week and have moderately priced tickets with $5 student rush tickets and free tickets to those 18 and younger one hour prior to each concert. To purchase tickets, visit us here. New levels of sponsorships and subscriptions are available here.


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2016 Festival Winners Announced

2016 Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition Jury has announced the results:

David Hou

David Hou

First Prize – David Hou
Second Prize – Charlie Liu
Third Prize – Daniel Szefer

Discretionary Award – Baron Cao
Discretionary Award – Eric Lin
Discretionary Award – Ethan Yuen

Best Solo Work – David Hou and Charlie Liu

Young Jury Award – Charlie Liu



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Southeastern Piano Festival kicks off in June

The 2016 Southeastern Piano Festival—the region’s only piano-focused arts event—begins Sunday, June 12 in Columbia, SC. The weeklong festival kicks off at the University of South Carolina with the highly anticipated Piano Extravaganza Gala Concert, a performance that showcases eight pianists, four Steinway grand pianos and multimedia, including the cutting-edge Steinway Spirio piano, known as the world’s highest resolution player piano. World-renowned artists follow throughout the week.

“It’s rare to have such a bright constellation of pianists in one city”, says Marina Lomazov, the festival’s Artistic Director.

2016 Guest Artists include Sergei Babayan, winner of the Queen Elisabeth and Hamamatsu International Competitions and soloist with orchestras worldwide, Ann Schein, a protégé of Arthur Rubinstein, whose remarkable career includes performing as soloist with the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestras, the duo of Ran Dank and Soyeon Kate Lee, first and second prize winners in the Naumburg Competition and rising star artist Eric Lu, prizewinner in the Warsaw Chopin Competition and a Southeastern Piano Festival alumnus.  Juilliard Professor Julian Martin will join the festival as Chair of the Jury for the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition.

In addition to the concerts, twenty of the most gifted pre-college pianists from across the country particiAlumna Susan Zhang copypate in a rigorous program of lessons and master classes, as well as competing in the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition. The festival offers an insider’s view of the making of the next
generation of pianists, says Program Director Joseph Rackers. “The level of young pianists keeps rising, and any one of them has the potential to go on to a career as a professional pianist”.

Throughout the week, traditional and unconventional venues host performances, transforming downtown Columbia into a destination for piano concerts. “From the Columbia Museum of Art and Trinity Cathedral to the Big Apple historical building, there are concerts throughout downtown and something for everyone”, says Lomazov.

Moderately priced tickets make attending multiple concerts possible. Master classes, discussions and competition performances are free. The Southeastern Piano Festival “Konzert Kidz” program allows all children under the age of 18 to attend any of the concerts for free. A complete list of festival events and tickets are available at

2016 Southeastern Piano Festival Concert Schedule

June 12, 4 p.m. Johnson Performance Hall, Darla Moore School of Business

Marina Lomazov, Joseph Rackers, Philip Bush, Charles Fugo and guest pianists featured on four Steinway Grand pianos.  Tickets: $20 general admission, $5 students, free 18 and under

June 13, 7:30 p.m. USC School of Music 

Rising Star artist Eric Lu. Tickets: $20 general admission, $5 students, free 18 and under

June 14, 4:30 p.m. Big Apple Building

SEPF On the Road student participants concert, free

June 14, 7:30 p.m. Columbia Museum of Art

Sergei Babayan.  Tickets: $20 general admission, $5 students, free 18 and under

June 15, 7:30 p.m. USC School of Music

Soyeon Kate Lee and Ran Dank.  Tickets: $20 general admission, $5 students, free 18 and under

June 16, 7:30 p.m. Trinity Episcopal Cathedral

Ann Schein.  Tickets: $20 general admission, $5 students, free 18 and under

June 17, 10:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition, USC School of Music

SEPF Participants compete for the opportunity to perform with the South Carolina Philharmonic, free

June 18, 7:30 p.m. USC School of Music

Winners of the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition.  Tickets: $10 general admission, $5 students, free 18 and under


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