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American Pianists Assoc. announces classical award finalists April 24

21C Media Group is pleased to announce that it now represents the American Pianists Association (APA), recognized by the New York Times for offering “profound early-career assistance” to world-class young American classical and jazz pianists. Over the coming season, the APA will present the finalists for the 2013 ProLiance Energy Classical Fellowship Awards of the American Pianists Association. The Fellowship offers one of the piano world’ s most substantial prizes, valued at over $100,000, awarded every four years to a classical pianist at the conclusion of a unique 13-month-long competition process. The names of the five finalists for the 2013 award, selected from America’s foremost young pianists ages 18-30, will be announced on April 24 at a media event in New York’s Steinway Hall – to be recorded for future broadcast on WQXR and other classical radio stations.
The mission of the American Pianists Association is to discover, promote, and advance the careers of young, American, world-class jazz and classical pianists. Since its founding in 1979 the organization has supported 43 Fellows. The 2009 Classical Fellows are Adam Golka, also a Gilmore Young Artist, who impressed the Washington Post with his “combination of brilliant technique and real emotional depth”; and Grace Fong, the “positively magical” (Cleveland Plain Dealer) winner of the Leeds International Piano Competition. Among the previous Classical Fellows are Spencer Myer (2006), Christopher Taylor (2000), Frederic Chiu (1985), and Sara Davis Buechner (1981).
“The level of pianism in the U.S. is high, as evidenced by the finalists soon to be announced; the long list of APA Classical and Jazz Fellows over the past three decades; and the laureates of the other competitions around the country,” stated Joel Harrison, President/CEO and Artistic Director of the Indianapolis-based organization. “What distinguishes the APA, however, is the innovative and unique way in which we conduct our competition by presenting finalists in a variety of genres in multiple venues throughout the concert season. In so doing, we actually mirror the professional world through our competition format.”
In making its selection, the APA places its focus on artistic expression rather than competitive prowess, a distinction that is not lost on the classical press. As Benjamin Roe of WGBH/Classical New England explained:
“I have always admired the APA, and been struck by the uncommon and distinctive artistry they have discovered in their Fellows. … Each one seems to have an approach, understanding, and appreciation for the keyboard music they play that is all too rare in these days of cookie-cutter, by-the-numbers performances.”
The competition process for the Classical Fellowship Award takes place in three stages. At the Preliminary Round in March 2012, a distinguished panel of judges screened recordings to select the five finalists. In September 2012, all five will attend a career workshop in preparation for the Classical Premiere Series, whereby each finalist in turn is invited to Indianapolis, home of the APA, for an expense-paid week of activities – including a concerto performance with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, an adjudicated public solo recital, and a three-day high-school residency – complete with a $5,000 stipend. The five finalists return to Indianapolis in April 2013 for the third and final stage, Classical Discovery Week (April 15-20). The adjudicated events include solo, chamber music, new music, and song performances, plus a concerto performance with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. The 2013 Christel DeHaan Classical Fellow – a musician with the potential to make significant contributions to American cultural life – will then be named.
This winner will receive a $50,000 cash award – one of the largest available to classical pianists – and begin a two-year fellowship with performance and recording opportunities, publicity, and career support, valued at a further $50,000. Thanks to Steinway’s sponsorship of the 2013 Fellowship, the Classical Fellow will issue a solo recording on the Steinway & Sons label, for distribution by ArkivMusic. Performance opportunities during the fellowship period include appearances with the symphony orchestras of Milwaukee, Phoenix, Santa Fe, and Tucson; re-engagements with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra; and solo recitals. Previous winners have been presented at the Kennedy Center, Phillips Collection, Dame Myra Hess Series, Chopin Foundation of America, in various recital series nationwide, and on tours overseas.
Unlike any other major piano competition, the APA focuses equally on both classical and jazz pianists. Since 1992, the Association has offered Jazz Fellowships, with a similar cash award of $50,000 – the largest available in the jazz piano world. The 2011 Cole Porter Fellow in Jazz is Aaron Diehl, hailed by the New York Times as a “revelation”; former Fellows include Dan Tepfer (2007) and Aaron Parks (2001). The next Cole Porter Fellow in Jazz will be named in April 2015.
The five finalists for the 2013 ProLiance Energy Classical Fellowship Awards of the American Pianists Association will be announced on Tuesday, April 24 at Steinway Hall in New York City (5:30-7:30pm). This special media event will be recorded by WQXR for broadcast on May 16 as part of the McGraw-Hill Young Artists Showcase, with Robert Sherman as host.
Members of the media community who would like to attend the event should contact 21C Media Group: [email protected]; 646-532-4373.
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© 21C Media Group, March 2012




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