Rising Stars Series

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. 


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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The Gilmore Keyboard Festival will present five solo recitals this Sep - Jan, representing an array of talent  making waves in the classical world. Executive director Pierre Van Der Westhuizen joins Cara Lieurance to talk about how he and the festival  discover, support, and showcase the next generation of great artists.

Tiffany Poon is the first to perform, on Sep 22. A "vlogger," she makes popular videos of her practice sessions on YouTube, reaching over 130,000 subscribers. On Oct 6, two Lang Lang Scholars, Alia Alsafa and Jeffrey Chin, offer a joint recital. The Russian-Lithuanian Lukas Geniušus, from a family of venerated classical musicians, appears on Oct 20. Charles Richard-Hamelin, a Canadian who won the silver medal in the 2015 International Chopin Piano Competition, will perform on Nov 10; and Wei Luo, a 2018 Gilmore Young Artist, closes the series on Jan 19.

Colin Way

Pavel Kolesnikov, as he waits for his plane in Seattle, tells Cara Lieurance he is fascinated by micro details - in music, in photographs, even in observing ordinary objects in an airport. It's a quality that brings new insights into music thought to be trifling, like Tchaikovsky's The Seasons, or well-trodden, like Chopin's Mazurkas. 


Ellen Appel-Mike Moreland

Sean Chen has gone through a lot of life changes in just a few years. He completed his studies at the Juilliard School and Yale, took the bronze medal at the 2013 Van Cliburn Piano Competition, and was awarded a fellowship worth $100,000 by the American Pianists Association. This month, he got married to his fiancée, a violinist, and moved to Kansas City, MO. But he's focused on opening the Gilmore Keyboard Festival's Rising Stars Series this Sunday.

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