gilmore keyboard festival

Gilmore Keyboard Festival

It's Pierre Van Der Westhuizen's favorite part of the job: to identify and provide a platform for new artists to establish themselves, and for established masters to share their exceptional talent with west Michigan audiences. Together with WMUK's Cara Lieurance, Van Der Westhuizen previews the 2020/21 season of the Gilmore Keyboard Festival, highlighting the artists' personal stories and achievements. 


Chris Hartlove

The celebrated American pianist, conductor and teacher Leon Fleisher died Aug 2 at the age of 92. Cara Lieurance asked Pierre Van Der Westhuizen, the executive director of the Gilmore Keyboard Festival, to share his thoughts on one of the century's greatest musicians in the world of classical music. Fleisher performed at the Festival several times, notably premiering the Piano Concerto For the Left-Hand by Michigan composer C. Curtis-Smith.


matthewfries.com

Matthew Fries is looking forward to performing in the Wellspring Theatre at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, Jul 22, with his friends John Hébert on bass and Keith Hall on drums. It will be streamed online at the Gilmore Keyboard Festival website, as part of its Virtually Gilmore series. In a conversation with Cara Lieurance, Fries says he plans to play a number of his own compositions, some written years ago, some just weeks ago. 

Fries is the professor of jazz piano at Western Michigan University. In late March, he had to switch to online teaching when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the school to close its doors. Fries "had to re-think" how to teach, overcome technical issues, and provide assistance to students without access to pianos at home. When many of his students became active in the Black Lives Matter protests, they challenged the status quo to the faculty in new, and sometimes uncomfortable, conversations. Fries says that the WMU jazz department is "seven white guys in love with a music that is 100 percent the result of Black culture." He plans to be more vocal in support of his students' concerns. "There's hope in the energy behind this," Fries says.


Rufus Ferguson

Juneteenth is the June 19, 1865 date on which people in slavery in Texas were informed they had been granted freedom by the Emancipation Proclamation, two years after it was issued.  Jazz musician Rufus Ferguson, with saxophonist Seth Ebersole and bassist John Hébert, will present a Juneteenth concert at 6:30 pm on Friday, June 19, streaming live on The Gilmore Keyboard Festival's website, Youtube channel, and Facebook page, in partnership with Public Media Network.  The three will highlight the music of Black jazz musicians and composers.


Gilmore Keyboard Festival

Today would have been the official start of the 2020 Gilmore Keyboard Festival, a three-week celebration of keyboard artistry and one of the biggest festivals of its kind in the US. Early in the Covid-19 crisis, executive director Pierre van der Westhuizen saw that the festival was in jeopardy. Some international artists, who make up a large part of the festival schedule, could no longer travel. On March 13th, he announced the cancellation of the festival.

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