Pierre Van Der Westhuizen

Renee Fleming - Andrew Eccles, DECCA; Evgeny Kissin - Andrew Sebastian Hãnel

On Wednesday, April 15, 2020 in Chenery Auditorium, two classical music stars - American soprano Renee Fleming and Russian-born pianist Evgeny Kissin - will perform a program of songs and solo pieces as part of a handful of appearances in the United States, including stops at Carnegie Hall in New York and the Symphony Center of Chicago. Pierre Van Der Westhuizen, the executive director of the Gilmore Keyboard Festival, talks about the special qualities that made each performer a legend in classical music, and share some of the behind-the-scenes preparation that his organization carries out to help the artists perform at their best.

Tickets for this event will be made available to Gilmore Keyboard Festival donors on Nov 3, 2019, and to the general public in January, 2020.


thegilmore.org

Pierre van der Westhuizen, the executive director of the Gilmore Keyboard Festival and a concert pianist himself, joins Cara Lieurance to preview the final concerts of the spring season. On April 28 at 4 pm, American pianist Kate Liu, a finalist of the 2015 Chopin Competition, will perform works by Beethoven, Mozart and Prokofiev in the Wellspring Theatre. Westhuizen recalls the day he watched the livestream of the famous competition, and how Ms. Liu's performance stood out among all the others. Liu had to withdraw from performing in recent seasons to allow an injury to resolve - something Westhuizen says athletes and musicians share in common.

On May 7 at 8 pm in Chenery Auditorium, the 2010 Gilmore Artist Kirill Gerstein will replace an ailing Murray Perahia on the Piano Masters Series. Gerstein, who has returned to Kalamazoo more times than any other Gilmore Artist, will play a wide-ranging program of immense variety and difficulty, Westhuizen says. Westhuizen and Cara Lieurance get into the details of the great Liszt Sonata in B minor and other works on the program.


Gilmore Keyboard Festival

Pierre Van Der Westhuizen has an appreciate for pianism born of his own career on the instrument, his familiarity with several generations of top pianists, and his direction of the Cleveland International Piano Competition. In an interview with Cara Lieurance, Van Der Westhuizen introduces the six Rising Stars and two Piano Masters of the 2018-19 season of the Gilmore Keyboard Festival, where he is now executive director.

Hailing from the four corners of the globe, the artists appearing on the Rising Stars Series represent some of the brightest young talent of today, from China, Russia, Hungary, Italy, and the United States - all tested under the glare of international competitions. The two piano masters - Gabriela Montero and Murray Perahia - have earned their places in the pantheon of legendary artists due to their unique voices, Van Der Westhuizen says. 


The Gilmore Keyboard Festival

Pierre van der Westhuizen, who started his position at the Gilmore Keyboard Festival last month, says he fell in love with the festival when he visited Kalamazoo while serving as director of the Cleveland International Piano Competition. The administrative experience he brings to his new role is matched by his experience as a performer - he and his wife, Sofié van der Westhuizen, formed a professional piano duo in 2007. Westhuizen joins Cara Lieurance to introduce himself to listeners, and reveal a late addition to this spring's festival - the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, led by pianist Oscar Hernández.