Since the summer of 2003, Columbia has been a center of piano music thanks to the Southeastern Piano Festival. The festival at the University of South Carolina, directed by pianist and faculty member Marina Lomazov, (left) has brought to the hot summer some stellar musicians including Olga Kern, Jon Nakamatsu and Columbia resident Philip Bush.
For the public this year offers more of those including a concert by Ran Dank, who was one of 12 semi-finalists in the Van Cliburn piano competition (which is still going on although he got bumped earlier this week) and Christopher Taylor, described by the New York times as “a demonically intense artist with a stunning technique and searching intellect.”
For about 20 pianists between 12 and 18 it’s also a terrific training ground. What some of them learned can be seen in a concert by three previous winners of the festival’s competition.
“We’re trying to tell people it’s not an iconoclastic event with the same old thing every year,” Lomazov said. “It’s a living, breathing organization that’s responding to the needs of the next generation of pianist.”
One of that next generation is Leo Svirsky, 2005 winner of the piano festival competition. He and Olga Krayterman, 2003 winner, and Sonya Schumann, 2004 winner, will give a concert.
“Oh, I’m really excited about it,” said Svirsky, 19, while getting a haircut in Maryland this week. “I asked Marina if there was some way we could come back and participate.”
Svirsky has participated in five festivals and came last year just to watch. Back in '03, he a funny, baby-faced boy of 13. Now he looks like Bob Dylan, circa 1967. (That's him now and goofing at an early fest.)
And like Bob, he’s exploring a lot of different sorts of music. He's in the experimental music group Baby Killer Estelle and has been in another group that performed inside a giant octopus sculpture. Alas, he will not be bringing the beast to the piano fest but he will play a many armed program by Franz Liszt and
“It’s been really exciting to see the festival grow and grow so quickly,” said Svirsky, who has performed at the Contemporary Music Forum, the Library of Congress and at the Kremlin.
“The piano festival is something unique for young musicians. It’s rare for young pianists to get such a high level of instruction and work with musicians of such a high caliber.”
Main concerts $20; $5 for college students; free for those under 18.
6 p.m. Sunday, June 7
Opening concert by Lomazov, Charles Fugo and Joseph Rackers (also USC and festival faculty).
Fugo opens with Mozart’s Rondo in A Minor, “Gnomenreigen” by Liszt and Barcarolle in F-sharp major by Chopin. Rackers follows with part of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier and Rachmaninoff and Scriabin etudes. Lomazov is doing an unusual, for her, program of all contemporary works: “Serpent’s Kiss” a movement from the 1969 “Garden of Eden Suite” by William Bolcom (she played it in New York last month) and “Six Strokes” a 2000 piece by Carter Pann.
8 p.m. Tuesday, June 9
Ran Dank plays “Douze Notations” from 1985 by Pierre Boulez (first composed in 1945 and reworked between 1978 and 1985); Sonata quasi una Fantasia in E-flat major by Beethoven; Sonata No. 8 by Scriabin; “Reminiscences de Norma” by Liszt; and Sonata No. 6 in A Major by Prokofiev. The native of Israel, Dank won the 2009 Young Concert Artists International Auditions
8 p.m. Wednesday, June 10
Yakov Kasman performs Bach’s Largo (from Sonata for Organ in C Major); Tchaikovsky’s “Seasons;” Sonata No. 2 in D Minor by Prokofiev and ends with Rachmaninoff’s Sonta No. 1 in D Minor.
Kasman, a native of Russia, studied at the Moscow Conservatory, and teaches at the University of Alabama. He won the silver medal at Van Cliburn in 1997.
8 p.m. Thursday, Jun 11
Christopher Taylor couples Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” with “The People United Will Never Be Defeated,” a 1976 work by Frederic Rzewski based on a liberation song from Chile and inspired in part by Bach’s variations.
Taylor is a champion of music written during the last 100 years and is well-known for his performances of demanding works by Olivier Messiaen, Gyorgy Ligeti and William Bolcom. He's played a 130-minute monument by Messiaen from memory. At another concert he took on Ligeti's s complete etudes,
In 1993, Taylor won the bronze medal in the Van Cliburn competition, the first American to do so since 1981. Along with his piano studies, he also earned a degree in math from Harvard. With highest honors.
8 p.m. Monday, June 8
Previous winners perform works by Brahms, Liszt, Schubert and Ligeti.
10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Friday, July 12
7 p.m. Saturday, June 13
For a full schedule http://sepf.music.sc.edu/
That's not the only musical training program with something for the public coming up. The Conductor's Institute at the music school starts Monday and brings in 35 participants from as close as West Columbia and as far away as Taiwan and Manitoba. You can come and watch the fledgling conductors flap their wings Monday, June 8 through June 20 (except for June 14) from9 a.m. to noon and 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Koger Center. The young musicians from the piano festival will be taking part in some of the sessions as well. (803) 777-7500.
"Bath" by Eliana Perez
What's coming up
Poetry and plants and animals appear to be the theme of “The Art of Farming” at the Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens. Zoo poet-in-residence Edward Madden will lead a workshop today (Thursday) from 6 to 8 p.m.
A reception with reading, a photo exhibition and food takes place at the same time Sunday.
It’s all free. Call (803) 777-1731.
Did you know that Joel Chandler Harris, who took African-American folktales and put his name on them, and Alice Walker were both from Eatonton, Ga? And that Walker wrote a scathing essay titled "Uncle Remus, No Friend of Mine." (It's north of Milledgeville, Georgia's Antebellum capital and south of I-20.)
A new version of the "Brer Rabbit" story, tying it more closely to its African roots, opens at Trustus Theatre opens Thursday, June 4 and continues on an off through June 13.
This is the first time he has shown his paintings which will be on display through June 30.
This is a show after my own heart: art that starts with coffee.
Eliana Perez (her art is at below left) is showing drawings that start with coffee stains on paper and grow from there. Titled “Brewing,” it opens at 7 p.m. Saturday at Friday Cottage, a great alternative space in what was once residential downtown Columbia.
Perez, a native of the other Colombia who lives in New York, has created a number of pieces this week since arriving in Columbia. 1830 Henderson St.
It’s amazing what high school students can do. The work of Brookland - Cayce High School advanced placement art students can be seen Friday, June 5 from 5-8 p.m. at 1329 State St. in Cayce.
A new exhibition on traditional pottery opens Friday, June 5 at the S.C. State Museum. "Tangible History: Stoneware from the Holcombe Family Collection" consists of 50 pieces of
pottery from Edgefield and the Upstate including rare pieces by many of the best-know pot makers.
And don't forget the excellent Robert Courtright collage show is still on display.
Janna McMahan will sign copies of her new novel "The Ocean Inside" at Barnes and Noble at noon Saturday, June 6. The second novel by the Columbia writer is set on the South Carolina Coast.
The 701 Center for the Contemporary Art continues its performance series with the jazz/rock/whatever group Your Bad Self. YBS is made up of the members of Charleston’s New Music Collective along with some Nu Yawk players.
8 p.m. Saturday, June 6. $10; $8 for center members; $5 for students.
This is also the final weekend for the Spoleto Festival in Charleston.
Best bets for the big festival: Noche Flamenca, flamenco music and dance Thursday, Friday and Saturday (June 4 - 6); “Good Cop, Bad Cop” by a Dutch theater company Thursday through Sunday (June 4 -7 ); chamber music at 11 and 1 daily; and the crazy fun sexy theater piece “Don John,” every day- if you can get a ticket.
If you're in Charleston Friday the French Quarter Art Walk takes place from 5 to 8 p.m.
Among the galleries taking part are the Corringan Gallery where you can see new works by Lynn Riding and Mary Walker; the Robert Lange Gallery, Ann Long Fine Art and many others.
And do not forget this is your last weekend to see “Turner to Cezanne” at the Columbia Museum of Art.