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Conversations with creators and organizers of the arts scene in West Michigan, hosted by Cara Lieurance

With over 100 events in April-May, how to choose? The Gilmore Piano Festival's director has some ideas

Kristen Zuller
The Gilmore Piano Festival

The Gilmore Piano Festival begins in less than 6 weeks. For those excited to attend for the first time in 4 years or for the first time ever, it can be difficult to choose between over 100 events. "I understand," says Pierre van der Westhuizen, the festival's executive and artistic director.

In a conversation with Cara Lieurance, he says there are no wrong choices: all of the artists are world-class. He suggests looking at what the pianists are playing. Do you love Chopin? Do you want to hear new commissions receive their world premieres? Would you like to hear a pianist play with a symphony orchestra? Or try a concert with Wellspring/Cori Terry and Dancers, or the comedy team Igudesman & Joo?

Gilmore Artists Igor Levit (2018) and Kirill Gerstein (2010) are both returning to the festival. Gilmore Young Artist Wei Luo (2018) will play the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 in the festival finale which also features the 2022 Gilmore Young Artists Janice Carissa and Clayton Stephenson. These pianists will always have a special connection to Kalamazoo audiences.

Van der Westhuizen says he "can't wait" for the festival, and that he and his staff learned a lot in 2020, when the festival went virtual at the very last moment as the COVID-19 pandemic began. Personally, it was hard for van der Westhuizen to not realize his vision for his first festival as director. 2022 will be a joyous return.

Cara Lieurance is the local host of NPR's All Things Considered on 1021 WMUK and covers local arts & culture on Let's Hear It on 89.9 Classical WMUK weekday mornings at 10 - 11 am.
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