Or you can always take in an earful of tomorrow's stars of the classical concert stage at PianoSummer, now in its 15th year. In early July, a very select group of students from across the country and around the world arrives to take advantage of a special seasonal opportunity: a summer intensive program of master classes in the art of the piano taught by Vladimir Feltsman, five other PianoSummer Institute faculty members and a selection of guest instructors that varies annually. A gala concert by the faculty on Saturday, July 10 at 8 p.m. at McKenna Theatre on the SUNY-New Paltz campus welcomes incoming students and kicks off the first week of classes. All PianoSummer events are open to the public, with the intent of helping students learn how to perform in front of an appreciative and discriminating audience and how to present themselves in a professional context.
During Week One, besides attending master classes, the students get to hear a recital from two top finishers in last year's Jacob Flier Piano Competition, which was named to honor Maestro Feltsman's former mentor at the Moscow Conservatory. By the end of the week they are performing themselves, in a student recital for weekend guests at Mohonk Mountain House. But the stakes get higher on Monday of Week Two of the Institute, July 19, when the attendees begin to compete at the keyboard in Round One of the 2010 Flier contest. The finals take place on Wednesday, July 21; and again, the public is invited to witness the playoffs at the Nadia & Max Shepard Recital Hall on campus.
Classes and concerts continue through Week Three, with this year's second- and third-place Jacob Flier winners getting their time in the spotlight at Shepard Hall on Monday evening, July 26. The whole class takes a jaunt down to Manhattan on Friday to play at Steinway Hall, just a heartbeat away from Carnegie Hall. And the big Festival closer, on Friday, July 30 at McKenna Theatre, plunks the top finisher from the Flier contest onstage in front of the whole Hudson Valley Philharmonic (HVP) to solo in the PianoSummer Symphony Gala. Say goodbye to life as you know it, kid!
Tickets for the July 10 Faculty Gala and to concerts at McKenna by visiting faculty Nikolai Demidenko at 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 17 and Haesun Paik at 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 24 are $27 general admission, $22 for SUNY-Paltz faculty, students and seniors. Master classes begin at 2:30 p.m. on selected weekday afternoons and can be audited by non-students for $10. Tickets to the Wednesday, July 14 recital by last year's Jacob Flier Piano Competition winners also cost $10. The Symphony Gala with the HVP and the 2010 Jacob Flier champ begins at 8 p.m. on July 30 and costs $37 for general admission, $32 for SUNY-Paltz faculty, students and seniors. To order tickets or for more information, call the box office at (845) 257-3880 or visit www.newpaltz.edu/piano.