gilmore keyboard festival

Yesterday afternoon in Stetson Chapel at Kalamazoo College, pianist Igor Levit played the final three piano sonatas of Ludwig van Beethoven, Opp. 30, 31 and 32. It was Levit's solo debut at the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, which presented him with the prestigious Gilmore Artist Award in January. 

Levit and Cara Lieurance discuss the recital and the music of Beethoven, whose Concerto No. 4 is on the program Saturday for the Festival Finale concert. Warmth and improvisation are some qualities Levit sees in the concerto's writing, saying the piano part "almost disappears" at times in the ebb and flow of the orchestra. While sampling a 1942 recording of Artur Schnabel and the Chicago Symphony, Levit says he regularly listens to music of all kinds, which leads to a discussion of one-of-a-kind jazz pianist Fred Hersch.

Mr. Levit and the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, led by music director emeritus Raymond Harvey, will appear on Saturday, May 12 at 8 pm in Chenery Auditorium. Details are available at the Gilmore Keyboard Festival website.

Neda Navaee

Although the great American pianist-composer-conductor Leonard Bernstein died when Michael Brown was three years old, Brown came to know the maestro through his recordings, compositions, and his surviving circle of family and friends. At the Gilmore Keyboard Festival on Friday, May 2, Michael Brown performed a solo piano program of works by members of that circle, by Michael Brown, and by Bernstein himself. Brown spoke about the program with Cara Lieurance.

Xie Guichen

Nineteen year-old pianist Wei Luo, a 2018 Gilmore Young Artist, will perform Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody On A Theme of Paganini with the Battle Creek Symphony on Saturday as her final concert during the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival. In an interview with Cara Lieurance, Luo talks about her experiences this week at the festival, which included solo recitals in South Haven, Kalamazoo and Battle Creek. 

As they discuss her upcoming performance of the Rhapsody, Luo talks about the school she's attended for six years, the Curtis Institute of Music. They listen to a recording of her teacher, pianist Gary Graffman, performing the Rhapsody in a 1964 recording with his friend, Leonard Bernstein, conducting the New York Philharmonic. 

Wei Luo will perform the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini on Saturday at 7:30 pm, in W.K. Kellogg Auditorium.

Carlin Ma

In a series of upcoming recitals and a concerto performance,  Elliot Wuu will demonstrate the qualities that earned him a Gilmore Young Artist award to Michigan audiences. Wuu says he's excited to have the opportunity to perform his program three times--  in Marshall, Vicksburg and Kalamazoo -- and he describes the musical selections by Gian Carlo Menotti, Chopin, Schubert, Beethoven and Rachmaninoff to Cara Lieurance.

The winner of the 2015 Hilton Head International Piano Competition, Elliot Wuu will also perform Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Lansing Symphony Orchestra on May 11. For more infomation, visit the Gilmore Keyboard Festival website.

Luxe Creative Imaging

Oscar Hernandez takes great pride in the top-level musicianship of the Grammy-winning Latin/Jazz band the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, which will perform at the Gilmore Keyboard Festival in Chenery Auditorium on Saturday at 8 pm. He tells Cara Lieurance how he and his fellow players push the boundaries of virtuosity and complexity while never losing touch with the traditions and foundations upon which the music is based.

The Spanish Harlem Orchestra is celebrating fifteen years as a group with a new album, AnniversaryHernandez says Kalamazoo audiences will be some of the first to hear the new songs played live. The new album includes nine original pieces, and four old standards that were "taken to the tailor to get a brand new suit of clothes."