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Tuning Up: Get your piano fix today, Olanta arts

Good morning!  "Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers curated, quick-hit arts stories of interest to readers. Sometimes there will be one story, sometimes there will be several. Get in tune now, and have a masterpiece of a day. And now, in no particular order...


We have your "keys" to a good day. The Southeastern Piano Festival is livestreaming the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition today. For nearly 12 hours. Join the five official members of the jury and pick your unofficial favorites from among the talented young pianists. (The winner performs with the South Carolina Philharmonic in the 2020/2021 season. Last year's winner, Yerin Yang, is to perform in the upcoming, 2019/2020 season.) Olanta on the move. Here's a unique idea: tiny Olanta in Florence County is calling out recent civic/utility improvements being made with an art contest. Click here to find out what they do with the winning art from 13-year-old Abbie Turner.  

Tuning Up: Blythewood poet laureate, mural SZN, SEPF

Good morning!  "Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers curated, quick-hit arts stories of interest to readers. Sometimes there will be one story, sometimes there will be several. Get in tune now, and have a masterpiece of a day. And now, in no particular order...


Surprise poet laureate named in Blythewood. Perhaps known most for horses and signifying to I-77 southbound travelers that their sojourn through the back country from Rock Hill is transitioning to civilization, Blythewood is embracing arts and culture of late. The first Doko Film Fest was just last weekend, Doko Meadows Park features community concerts through the summer, and Tuesday the town named Sara Corn its first poet laureate. Never heard of her? It's probably because she's 11. Read more about Sara and her honor from ColaDaily. Congrats, Sara! Say it with us: #BecauseOfArtsEd (Post continues below image.) [caption id="attachment_39999" align="aligncenter" width="600"]McCormick mural Jeffrey Callaham mural in McCormick. Image by McCormick County Coordinator La Ruchala Murphy/SCAC.[/caption] Welcome to MURAL SZN. Murals are time-honored public art displays that community planners and citizenry in search of a rallying point enjoy in equal measure. Two new ones came across The Hub's radar:
  • "Lady Vista" now resides in the Congaree Vista (an official South Carolina Cultural District) courtesy of Columbia artist Cait Maloney.
  • Another official South Carolina Cultural District also has a new mural: Spartanburg Downtown checks in with a work by Lucy Boland (w/ an assist from Russel Bannan).
  • With help from an SCAC grant, the McCormick Chamber of Commerce, Willington on the Way, and McCormick Arts Council (MACK) debuted a mural (above) celebrating the history of the Willington area. This mural consists of a series of panels created by McCormick artist Jeffery Callaham and included the support and enthusiasm of more than 120 local elementary, middle, and high school students.
"Keys" to the kingdom? Piano lovers take note: tickets are now on sale to all events of the 2019 Southeastern Piano Festival. Artists known the world over will descend on South Carolina for concerts June 16-22. Artists the world will soon know compete in the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition and give a recital on the 22nd.

Tuning Up: 1858 Prize and forum tomorrow + SEPF 2019 lineup

Good morning!  "Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers curated, quick-hit arts stories of interest to readers. Sometimes there will be one story, sometimes there will be several. Get in tune now, and have a masterpiece of a day. And now, in no particular order...


Collaborative first steps. Tomorrow is a big night at the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston. Dr. Leo Twiggs is set to receive the 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art. The pride of Orangeburg is the first S.C. artist (ahem, #SCartists) to receive the $10,000 prize. But you knew all that. What you might not know is that afterward is the Amy P. Coy Forum and 1858 Prize Party (6-8 p.m., 135 Meeting St., Charleston) at which representatives from ArtFields, South Arts, and the Gibbes will use the forum to discuss collaboration among the Southeast's three biggest arts prizes, which happen to be awarded by those entities. Where will it lead? We don't know, but that's why we're going. See you there? $35. SEPF announces 2019 guest artists. (And there are some, ahem, key names here.) Summertime is music festival time, and every year Columbia is a piano hotspot. The Southeastern Piano Festival is set to return June 16-23, 2019 and last week announced their guest artists. Artistic Director Joseph Rackers promises and incredible week of music. (Take it from The Hub – don't miss Alessio Bax). In addition to performances, accomplished pianists will give masterclasses and it all comes to a head with the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition on June 21. (The teenage winner performs a concerto with the South Carolina Philharmonic.)

Tuning Up: A compendium of arts in Columbia this week

Good morning!  "Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers quick-hit arts stories of interest to readers. Sometimes there will be one story, sometimes there will be several. Get in tune now, and have a masterpiece of a day. And now, in no particular order...


  • CURTAIN CALL ALERT: Artistic Director Edward Arron closes out nine years leading the CMA Chamber Music on Main concert series with a farewell concert of Mendelssohn, Bernstein, Mozart, and more that features pianist (and, coincidentally, wife) Jeewon Park. $35. 6 p.m. happy hour + galleries, 7 p.m. concert.
  • ARTFIELDS WEST?: The new Stormwater Studios (née Vista Studios/Gallery80808), will debut with ArtFields Winners 2013 – 17, its first art show in its brand new home (413 Pendleton St.). Not simply the first show at Stormwater Studios, it's the first time ArtFields has shown its winning works outside of Lake City. The show at Stormwater Studios opens this Friday, 6-9 p.m., and remains through March 31, 2018.
  • COLA-BORATION II: the Southeastern Piano Festival and South Carolina Philharmonic renew their annual collaboration Saturday night at Romantic Chopin. David Hou, 2016 winner of the SEPF's Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition performs Chopin's First Piano Concerto with Music Director Morihiko Nakahara and the S.C. Phil. $17-$47. 7:30 p.m.

Columbia’s dedicated piano and guitar festivals stand as testament to classical music gravitas

From The Free Times Article by Kyle Peterson Southeastern Piano Festival, June 12 - 19, various locations sepf.music.sc.edu Southern Guitar Festival & Competition, June 11-12, Columbia Museum of Art southernguitarfest.com

[caption id="attachment_26735" align="alignright" width="200"]Sergei Babayan Sergei Babayan is among the top performers at the Southeastern Piano Festival.[/caption] This weekend, two of Columbia’s most remarkable and unlikely cultural offerings return: the 14th annual Southeastern Piano Festival and the 5th annual Southern Guitar Festival & Competition. That these two classical music celebrations exist here at all, let alone on the same weekend, is quite curious, particularly given how they both bring in world-class talents that regularly fill the biggest concert halls in the larger cultural meccas of the world. And while the SEPF has the advantages of an older, more assured history and the infrastructural support that comes from existing within the University of South Carolina’s large system, the story of these two festivals is remarkably similar. “What we found from the very beginning is that there is an incredible amount of support for music in Columbia,” says Joseph Rackers, Program Director of SEPF and a USC School of Music faculty member. “When we started it and it was in its first year, so many community members came forward with financial support, moral support, overall encouragement, that it really motivated us and convinced us that this is the place [for the festival].” Older, But Still Growing SEPF has grown every year since its first in 2003, bringing, Rackers says, “as much world-class talent to Columbia in one week” as they possibly can. There’s also a strong educational component to the festival, which functions as a high-level training program for teenage pianists as well as a showcase for classical piano’s leading lights. “The festival was always designed with a goal in mind that the new generation of pianists need to have world-class role models,” offers Marina Lomazov, the festival’s artistic director, also on the USC School of Music faculty. “We bring these amazing artists in, and they are communicating and living side-by-side with the students. It creates a sort of symbiosis of inspiration, of training, of big-brother kind of relationships. It’s been like that from the beginning. And that part is one of the bedrocks of the festival.” The prestigious Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition takes place all day Friday, June 17 at the USC School of Music Recital Hall and features the 20 talented young pianists taking part in this year’s festival, but there are other performance highlights. Sergei Babayan of The Juilliard School and Cleveland School of Music will perform twice on Tuesday, June 14 at the Columbia Museum of Art, offering the entirety of Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier, a collection of two series of preludes and fugues in all major and minor keys. Ann Schein, whose storied career includes stints at the Peabody Conservatory and the Aspen Music Festival and School, will also play. Schein, celebrated for her performances of Chopin, will be perform selections from Schumann, Chopin and Beethoven’s oeuvres for her Thursday, June 16 performance at Trinity Cathedral. But the festival is about more than just bringing in top talent. “It’s also about how the different artists complement each other as you place them one night after another,” Rackers explains. “You’re not going to put five Bach specialists in a row.” Beyond that, the curation is mainly about each pianist’s innate talents. “We look for people that have an individual voice, who we really feel like have a sincere approach in how they communicate with the audience,” Lomazov explains. “Everybody senses that communication.” Younger, But Equally Ambitious [caption id="attachment_26736" align="alignright" width="200"]Amaral Duo Duo Amaral is among the top performers at the Southern Guitar Festival & Competition[/caption] For all the surface-level differences between the more independent weekend affair that is the Southern Guitar Festival and the growing behemoth that is the SEPF, there are strong commonalities — down to another Marina, guitarist Marina Alexandra, leading the way. Alexandra started the festival five years ago, though she says she had been thinking about the project for a decade. “You have a huge amount of guitar players who are released from USC every year, plus we have this big major festival going on in Charleston,” she explains, alluding to the the coastal city’s Spoleto Festival, a world-renowned 17-day arts celebration. “I thought that would be a great start for us and a big audience draw, since participants would travel through Columbia.” Like SEPF, the Southern Guitar Festival sought to draw international talent while also serving local audiences. Organizers didn’t have the same kind of university support, so they relied on patrons and an annual Guitar Gala fundraiser along with assistance, in various years, from the South Carolina Arts Commission, the City of Columbia and the National Endowment for the Arts to accumulate their budget. Alexandra’s ideas for the festival didn’t start with the level of ambition that her piano counterpart did, but the event’s star quickly rose in the world of classical guitar. “When we started it was more targeting the local audience and serving the local community, just because we had so many guitarists. We had like maybe two classical guitar concerts a year,” Alexandra points out. “It started local, I did not have many ambitions, and it just kind of started growing on its own,” she continues. “The first year I hesitated to call it the ‘Southern International Guitar Festival.’ ... But as the years were passing, we’re not only producing the international winners, but our festival is in all major national guitar magazines, we’re advertised by the Guitar Foundation of America, we are on the map. And I only really realized this after we started getting these contestants from other countries. Every year the winner has been from another country [outside the United States].” This year’s Guitar Festival headliners include Duo Amaral, a group that comes out of the Peabody Conservatory of Music with a prestigious international performance background, and Janet Grohovac, who recently completed a performance doctorate at the University of Texas in Austin and won first place as a soloist in last year’s festival. Alexandra echoes Lomazov and Rackers in how the event chooses its performers. “They have to be great entertainers,” she says. “Playing the right notes at the right time, so many people can do it, so many of them extremely well. I’m looking for a true artist that really can inspire somebody, really engage the audience. And I always look for ensembles and soloists.” Like SEPF, a big part of the Southern Guitar Festival is the competition, as well as the educational component, with multiple workshops occurring over the course of the weekend. Openness Is Key The final key to both festivals is inviting newer, younger audience members and performers into their ranks. For SEPF, this takes the shape of an opening Piano Extravaganza that takes place in the Johnson Performance Hall at the Darla Moore School of Business on Sunday, June 12. The multimedia performance features 16 hands, eight performers, and four pianos charging through a commissioned work that bridges medleys of 2015 pop hits. Four of the pianists will be professionals, and four will be young musicians under the age of 13 who won their slots through an open audition that drew contenders from North Carolina and Georgia. “We’ve found that more and more people who attend the Piano Extravaganza are new listeners, people who maybe have been to a classical music concert before but maybe haven’t,” Rackers says. Alexandra has similar designs for Saturday’s new Guitar Idol SC event, a competition aimed at non-classical guitarists ages 10 to 18. Performers are invited to play acoustic or electric, in any genre they choose. “Classical guitarists can sometimes be very snobby in what we do,” Alexandra admits. “Most of the musicians who are trying to make a living as concert players, we realize that if we’re going to continue with the old traditions and be very strict to what we’ve been taught, we will just not survive.”

Southeastern Piano Festival brings a world of piano music to Columbia June 9 – 15

A world of piano music comes to Columbia, S.C., for the 11th annual Southeastern Piano Festival June 9 – 15. The week-long event welcomes Armenian, South African, Japanese-American and Chinese-American pianists. “We strive to bring the most talented and distinctive pianists in the world to the Festival,” said Artistic Director Marina Lomazov. “The Festival has become more international each year, inviting the most celebrated concert artists.” Along with its stellar concert series, the Festival also trains 20 young pianists from throughout the United States and abroad who participate in the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition. Most concerts and the competition are held at the University of South Carolina School of Music. For the first time, the festival will also present one of its major concerts at the Columbia Museum of Art with a performance by virtuoso Sergei Babayan on June 13. Partnering with the museum will allow the Festival to accommodate more listeners and reach out to new audiences. “We are thrilled to partner with a leading cultural institution in the region for this important concert,” Dr. Lomazov said. “The Columbia Museum of Art has for 50 years been the center of art activity in Columbia both in the visual arts and performing arts, and we are pleased to be part of that rich history.” A native of Armenia, Sergei Babayan studied at the Moscow Conservatory and early in his career won first-place awards in several international piano competitions. He has been soloist with the Cleveland Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony and Detroit Symphony. Since 2006 he has performed regularly with conductor Valery Gergiev, artistic director of the Mariinsky Theatre, principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and artistic director of the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg. At Gergiev’s invitation he has performed at White Nights, with the London Symphony Orchestra, at Bolshoi Hall of the Moscow Conservatory and Théâtre des Champs-Elyseés in Paris. Other guest artists:

  • Petronel Malan, a native of South Africa, won five gold medals at international piano competitions throughout the United States in 2000. Her 2004 recording “Bach Transformed” was nominated for three Grammy Awards including Best Instrumental Solo Album. Malan debuted at age 10 with the Johannesburg Symphony and subsequently won all major national competitions in South Africa.
  • Claire Huangci, 23, made her debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra and has performed at the St. Petersburg Hermitage Theater with the St. Petersburg Symphony, the Ravinia Festival, the Caramoor Festival, Bonn Beethovenhaus, Salzburg Mozarteum and the Shanghai EXPO with Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra. She was one of five finalists for the 2013 American Pianists Association Award in April and will be one of 30 competitors taking part in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in taking place immediately before the Piano Festival.
  • Yoshikazu Nagai has performed as soloist and chamber musician at the Shanghai Concert Hall, National Recital Hall in Taiwan, Carnegie Hall, The National Gallery and the Aspen Music Festival. He is a professor at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and faculty member at the Beijing International Music Festival and Academy at the Central Conservatory in Beijing. He will give the Marian Stanley Tucker Lecture during the Festival.
The Piano Fireworks Concert launches the Festival June 9 with performances by Marina Lomazov, Festival Program Director Joseph Rackers, Festival faculty members Charles Fugo, Phillip Bush and others. Micah McLaurin and Naomi Causby, co-winners of the 2010 Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition, will give a concert June 10. Along with performing, the guest artists work closely with the students who are admitted to the Festival through a rigorous selection process. Master classes are open to the public as is the day-long Fraser Competition (June 14.) Winners of the competition will give the closing concert for the Festival on June 15. Along with a cash award, the winners have the opportunity to perform with the South Carolina Philharmonic. Many students selected have already made significant strides in their careers and have been admitted to top-ranked schools including the Juilliard School, the Curtis Institute, Eastman School of Music, Peabody Conservatory, New England Conservatory and Oberlin Conservatory. Visit the Southeastern Piano Festival website for more information about the artists, the complete schedule and to purchase tickets. Via: Southeastern Piano Festival

Southeastern Piano Festival brings a world of piano music to Columbia

A world of piano music comes to Columbia, S.C., for the 11th annual Southeastern Piano Festival June 9 – 15. The week-long event welcomes Armenian, South African, Japanese-American and Chinese-American pianists. “We strive to bring the most talented and distinctive pianists in the world to the Festival,” said Artistic Director Marina Lomazov. “The Festival has become more international each year, inviting the most celebrated concert artists.” Along with its stellar concert series, the Festival also trains 20 young pianists from throughout the United States and abroad who participate in the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition. Most concerts and the competition are held at the University of South Carolina School of Music. For the first time, the festival will also present one of its major concerts at the Columbia Museum of Art with a performance by virtuoso Sergei Babayan on June 13. Partnering with the museum will allow the Festival to accommodate more listeners and reach out to new audiences. “We are thrilled to partner with a leading cultural institution in the region for this important concert,” Dr. Lomazov said. “The Columbia Museum of Art has for 50 years been the center of art activity in Columbia both in the visual arts and performing arts, and we are pleased to be part of that rich history.” A native of Armenia, Sergei Babayan studied at the Moscow Conservatory and early in his career won first-place awards in several international piano competitions. He has been soloist with the Cleveland Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony and Detroit Symphony. Since 2006 he has performed regularly with conductor Valery Gergiev, artistic director of the Mariinsky Theatre, principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and artistic director of the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg. At Gergiev’s invitation he has performed at White Nights, with the London Symphony Orchestra, at Bolshoi Hall of the Moscow Conservatory and Théâtre des Champs-Elyseés in Paris. Other guest artists:

  • Petronel Malan, a native of South Africa, won five gold medals at international piano competitions throughout the United States in 2000. Her 2004 recording “Bach Transformed” was nominated for three Grammy Awards including Best Instrumental Solo Album. Malan debuted at age 10 with the Johannesburg Symphony and subsequently won all major national competitions in South Africa.
  • Claire Huangci, 23, made her debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra and has performed at the St. Petersburg Hermitage Theater with the St. Petersburg Symphony, the Ravinia Festival, the Caramoor Festival, Bonn Beethovenhaus, Salzburg Mozarteum and the Shanghai EXPO with Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra. She was one of five finalists for the 2013 American Pianists Association Award in April and will be one of 30 competitors taking part in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in taking place immediately before the Piano Festival.
  • Yoshikazu Nagai has performed as soloist and chamber musician at the Shanghai Concert Hall, National Recital Hall in Taiwan, Carnegie Hall, The National Gallery and the Aspen Music Festival. He is a professor at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and faculty member at the Beijing International Music Festival and Academy at the Central Conservatory in Beijing. He will give the Marian Stanley Tucker Lecture during the Festival.
The Piano Fireworks Concert launches the Festival June 9 with performances by Marina Lomazov, Festival Program Director Joseph Rackers, Festival faculty members Charles Fugo, Phillip Bush and others. Micah McLaurin and Naomi Causby, co-winners of the 2010 Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition, will give a concert June 10. Along with performing, the guest artists work closely with the students who are admitted to the Festival through a rigorous selection process. Master classes are open to the public as is the day-long Fraser Competition (June 14.) Winners of the competition will give the closing concert for the Festival on June 15. Along with a cash award, the winners have the opportunity to perform with the South Carolina Philharmonic. Many students selected have already made significant strides in their careers and have been admitted to top-ranked schools including the Juilliard School, the Curtis Institute, Eastman School of Music, Peabody Conservatory, New England Conservatory and Oberlin Conservatory. Visit the Southeastern Piano Festival website for more information about the artists, the complete schedule and to purchase tickets. Via: Southeastern Piano Festival