Southeastern Piano Festival announces highlights for 10th anniversary

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin kicked off a press conference Wednesday morning announcing details of the 10th Southeastern Piano Festival.
“This is the premiere celebration of the arts in Columbia,” said Mayor Benjamin at the press conference held on the Koger Center for the Arts stage. “We’re proud to see this dream and vision become a reality and thrive for a decade.”
The festival takes place June 10 – 16 at the University of South Carolina School of Music. Other speakers at the press conference were Southeastern Piano Festival Artistic Director Marina Lomazov, USC School of Music Dean Tayloe Harding, S.C. Philharmonic Music Director Morihiko Nakahara and J.P. Parekh, owner of Rice Music House.
Artistic Director Marina Lomazov announced that to celebrate the 10th anniversary the Festival will kick off June 10 with a Piano Extravaganza concert. The concert will feature the South Carolina Philharmonic, USC piano faculty Lomazov, Joseph Rackers, Charles Fugo, guest artist Phillip Bush, a dozen Arthur Fraser International Competition winners and five grand pianos at the Koger Center.
“We thought ‘How do you celebrate 10 years?’ Bring in more pianos and more pianists,” said Lomazov, an associate professor at the School of Music.
“I’d like you to picture five Steinway grand pianos fanned out across this stage and more than a dozen energetic and excellent performers, along with the Philharmonic lead by Morihiko Nakahara. This will be a concert the likes of which you will not hear again – at least not for another 10 years.”
The Southeastern Piano Festival brings together 20 of the best young pianists from around the country who take part in a rigorous program and participate in the Arthur Fraser International Concerto Competition. Winners of the competition receive cash awards and the opportunity to perform with the South Carolina Philharmonic.
The festival also offers a line-up of concerts by world-class guest artists. During the 2012 Southeastern Piano Festival concerts will be given by Leo Svirsky and Sean Yeh, past winners of the Fraser Competition; George Li, the 15-year-old winner of the Gilmore Young Artist Award; Boris Slutsky, first prize winner of the Kapell International Piano Competition and chair of the piano department at the Peabody Institute; Natalya Antonova, long-time Eastman School of Music professor and former faculty member at the Leningrad Conservatory; and Alessio Bax, recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant. These concerts take places at the intimate and acoustically pristine recital hall of the USC School of Music. In addition, several students of the festival will perform at the Columbia Museum of Art.
“Events like the Southeastern Piano Festival really take me back to my roots and keeps me going and excited,” Nakahara said. “I get to know these brilliant young minds and hands and feet.
“The festival attracts audience members from all over the state, Georgia and North Carolina who come and visit our famously hot city in the hot month of July.”
The festival is the work of many people and organizations – the School of Music, the Philharmonic, the Symphony League of the Philharmonic, Rice Music House, Steinway & Sons and the Conductors Institute of South Carolina.
“When we first heard about the festival we knew we had to be involved,” Parekh said. “When they came to us we jumped at the opportunity.”
That kind of support has made the festival a success, Lomzov said.
“The festival is a remarkable coming together of people and organizations that has evolved organically into a magnificent event,” Lomazov said. “We lighted a match and it took off. There is so much love and support for the festival.”
Dean Harding called the Southeastern Piano Festival “a unique and wonderful event. It is too rare in higher education that an idea like this fulfills the mission that was originally dreamed of.”
The press conference ended with Andrew Sohn, a past participant in the festival and current student at the USC School of Music, performing.
For full details about the Southeastern Piano Festival and how to purchase tickets for the Piano Extravaganza and other concerts visit


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