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SEPF seeking applicants for Year 20

Pre-college pianists wanted for Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Tuesday, March 15, 2022 Southeastern Piano Festival promo graphic

This summer, the Southeastern Piano Festival is celebrating 20 years of presenting the best of emerging and world-renowned piano talent to audiences in the Southeast and beyond from June 12-19.

As always, the week-long festival culminates with the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition, where festival participants compete for over $10,000 in prizes and the opportunity to perform a complete concerto with the South Carolina Philharmonic. Applications are now open! Full guidelines and eligibility are available on the SEPF website. Festival highlights include masterclasses with guest artists, public performances for all participants, and daily lessons with Southeastern Piano Festival faculty. All participants receive full or partial scholarships to attend the festival. A number of events during the festival will take place on The Concert Truck, a mobile concert stage that was the conceived by Nicholas Luby and Susan Zhang. They took The Concert Truck "all over the country" this past year, and their endeavor has brought music to dozens of locations during the pandemic that otherwise would not have had access to live music.  They have given over 100 concerts in the past year and are on the roster of Opus 3 Artists.

Jason Rapp

Tuning Up: SEPF, Hub City Press news

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...
In-person SEPF scheduled. Cancelled last year like so many things, the Southeastern Piano Festival announced its plans to return to an in-person format this year. Make plans now for events June 12-20. Pre-college pianists aged 13-18 have just days to apply for its Arthur Fraser International Concerto Competition (which was held late last year via livestream). Community-facing highlights include the competition and public performances by a stellar roster of international guest artists. Hub City Press is a recipient of a South Arts Resilience Fund grant supporting their ability to pivot in the face of the pandemic, and emerge more resilient than before. With these funds, Hub City Press reshaped their editorial team to better tell the untold stories of the South, connect with unheard voices across the region, and transform the landscape for Southern literature. Read their story on the South Arts website.      

Jason Rapp

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: Vintage Mary Edna, SEPF + more

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...

Vintage Mary Edna. South Carolina artist Mary Edna Fraser was a 1998/1999 S.C. Arts Commission Visual Arts Fellow and is a recent (2016) winner of the Verner Award in the artist category. As you can probably tell by her website, she's also an entrepreneur (and received an Artists Ventures Initiative grant from SCAC to that end). She's further proof that South Carolina artists and creatives are out there killing it every day. But here's something really cool: Tres Acres Vineyards of Argentina commissioned Mary Edna to make a batik for their label design. The wine is not yet available in the U.S. (sorry). How many people can lay claim to such an honor? Congrats (again), Mary Edna. Check out Family Ties, her new exhibition in Charleston "co-starring" her artist daughters Reba West Fraser and Labanna Babalon, starting Friday and running through July 29. Keys to Happiness. The piano event of the summer returns to Columbia June 17-23. Tickets are on sale now for all events at the 2018 Southeastern Piano Festival, led by Artistic Directors Marina Lomazov and Joseph Rackers. Pianist Simone Dinnerstein is the headlining guest artist. Bob Jones University Museum & Gallery: Call for Art! The 3rd annual M&G Makers Market opened its application process yesterday to BJU grads, current or former students, or current or former faculty/staff members. M&G has 30 positions available for makers in the following categories: 2D Fine Art, 3D Fine Art, To Wear, Paper Goods, Fiber Art, and Everything Else. Submit your application through midnight on June 10. Learn more here. And, if you’re not a grad or an artist, the university invites everyone to consider attending M&G’s 3rd annual Makers Market on Saturday, Oct. 13, 10 a.m. to 5:30 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 Conference honors USC pianist with Faculty Achievement Award

MarinaLomazovThe Southeastern Conference has named University of South Carolina pianist and professor of music Marina Lomazov a winner of a 2015 Faculty Achievement Award. The annual awards honor one faculty member from each SEC university who has excelled in teaching, research and scholarship. “I am very humbled to be recognized along with wonderful colleagues throughout the SEC,” said Lomazov, an internationally acclaimed concert pianist and the Ira McKissick Koger Professor of Fine Arts in the School of Music. “USC has been an ideal place to grow as a teacher and scholar, and it is a privilege to be able to develop my career in an environment with such outstanding students, faculty and staff.” Each award winner will represent their university for the 2015 SEC Professor of the Year Award and will receive a $5,000 honorarium from the athletic conference. The SEC Professor of the Year, to be named later this month, receives an additional $15,000 honorarium and will be recognized at the SEC Awards Dinner in May and the SEC Symposium in September. “Professor Lomazov has long been recognized as a shining star at Carolina. Her performances draw large, adoring audiences everywhere she goes, said university president Harris Pastides. “It’s very satisfying to know that our world class athletic conference has recognized a world class pianist from USC.” Critics have said Lomazov is “a diva of the piano” (The Salt Lake City Tribune), and “a mesmerizing risk-taker” (The Plain Dealer, Cleveland). She has been recognized as one of the most passionate and charismatic performers on the concert scene today, earning prizes in the Cleveland International Piano Competition, William Kapell International Piano Competition and Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition. Lomazov has performed throughout North America, South America, Europe and Asia. Most recently she’s performed extensively in China. She has been featured on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today,” Bravo television network and WNYC’s “Young Artist Showcase. Lomazov is the founder and artistic director of the Southeastern Piano Festival, which each summer transforms the University of South Carolina into a major cultural destination that draws audiences and young pianists from across the United States.

Southeastern Piano Festival kicks off with extravaganza concert

A dozen consummate pianists, five nine-foot Steinway Grands, and the South Carolina Philharmonic with Morihiko Nakahara will be on stage at the Koger Center for the Arts June 15 at 4 p.m. to kick off the 2014 Southeastern Piano Festival with a Piano Extravaganza. The festival runs June 15 - 22. Music director Nakahara, guest artists, esteemed USC music faculty Marina Lomazov (festival artistic director), Joseph Rackers (festival program director), Phillip Bush, Charles Fugo and SEPF alumni Susan Zhang and Zachary Hughes present works by Bizet, Adams, Saint-Saëns, Chopin, Mozart and Prokofiev. "We are honored to partner with the South Carolina Philharmonic to showcase an array of pianists performing dazzling repertoire," said Lomazov. "The concert will feature amazing pianists from South Carolina and across the country." In addition to the arrival of notable guest artists and 20 competing young pianists from around the U.S., two of the five Steinways come to Columbia via jet from New York City. They will be picked up in Charlotte by festival supporter Rice Music House and delivered to the Koger Center just in time for rehearsals. Tuning all five Steinways requires the expertise of two piano technicians working simultaneously. The festival continues all week with concerts around the city including at the Columbia Museum of Art, Trinity Cathedral and City Art Gallery. The week’s events culminate in an international piano competition on Friday and the winners’ concert on Saturday. Find the complete schedule of events and ticket information online. Related: Southeastern Piano Festival brings Leon Fleisher to South Carolina's capital city The Symphony League of the South Carolina Philharmonic sponsors the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition. Sponsors of the 2014 Southeastern Piano Festival are Steinway & Sons, Rice Music House, Symphony League, South Carolina Philharmonic, University of South Carolina School of Music and Free Times.

Southeastern Piano Festival brings Leon Fleisher to South Carolina’s capital city

Legendary pianist, a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors, is the special guest for 2014. Leon FleisherThe 2014 Southeastern Piano Festival kicks off June 15 for a week of concerts, master classes and lectures at the University of South Carolina. This year the festival is honored to present the legendary pianist Leon Fleisher who will present the Marian Stanley Tucker Guest Lecture and give several master classes during the annual weeklong festival. A recipient of numerous honors and awards, Fleisher received the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors in 2007 for his contribution to the culture of the United States and the world. Fleisher represents the highest standard of musicianship, and at age 85 he continues to impart his life-affirming artistry throughout the world, thriving in a sustained career as conductor and soloist, recitalist, chamber music artist, and master class mentor. He began playing piano at the age of 4 and gave his first public recital at age 8. At age 9 he became the youngest-ever student of Artur Schnabel, continuing a pedagogical lineage that traces back to Beethoven. Fleisher made his formal public debut at age 16 with the New York Philharmonic under the baton of Pierre Monteux, who famously recognized him as “the pianistic find of the century.” He became the first American to win the prestigious Queen Elisabeth competition in Brussels in 1952, placing him among the world's premier classical pianists. At the height of his success in 1965, Fleisher was struck with a neurological condition rendering two fingers on his right hand immobile. Rather than end his career, he focused on repertoire for the left hand only and established a new path as soloist, conductor and teacher. Not until 40 years later was he able to return to playing with both hands after undergoing experimental treatments. The extraordinary renaissance of Fleisher’s career has been documented extensively, particularly around the 2004 release of his critically acclaimed album “Two Hands,” which went on to hold a top 5 Billboard Chart position. Fleisher was the subject of the 2006 Oscar- and Emmy-nominated documentary film “Two Hands,” and his recent memoir, “My Nine Lives: A Memoir of Many Careers in Music,” which he co-wrote with Washington Post music critic Anne Midgette, is published by Doubleday. In July 2013, Sony Classical released a 23-CD box set spanning the pianist's recording for Columbia/Epic and Sony Classical from 1954-2009. Leon Fleisher events are free and open to the public and take place at the USC School of Music Recital Hall (813 Assembly St.):

  • Tuesday, June 17, 4:30 p.m. Distinguished Artist Master Class Features participants of the Southeastern Piano Festival
  • Wednesday, June 18, 4:30 p.m. Distinguished Artist Master Class Featuring participants of the Southeastern Piano Festival
  • Thursday, June 19, 10 a.m. Distinguished Artist Master Class Featuring students studying with members of the SC Music Teachers Association.
  • Thursday, June 19, 4:30 p.m. Marian Stanley Tucker Guest Lecture “Piano Conversations” with Leon Fleisher
The only piano-focused festival in the region, the Southeastern Piano Festival (June 15–22, 2014) offers nightly concerts by outstanding faculty and guest artists along with lectures and a piano competition. The festival offers a rare opportunity to view the music-making process with all classes and the competition free and open to the public. View the complete schedule of events and concerts. Marina Lomazov, festival founder and artistic director, and festival program director Joseph Rackers, have performed around the world and each have won prizes in international piano competitions. They are International Steinway Artists. The Symphony League of the South Carolina Philharmonic sponsors the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition. Sponsors of the 2014 Southeastern Piano Festival are Steinway & Sons, Rice Music House, Symphony League, South Carolina Philharmonic, University of South Carolina School of Music and Free Times. Via: Southeastern Piano Festival