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Inaugural S.F. Piano Festival Wraps This Weekend

August 22, 2017

Pianist Jeffery LaDeur helped found the New Piano Collective a year ago, with nine other Eastman School of Music alums. The idea, says, their website, was artistic collaboration and the idea that solo pianists could either hang together or hang separately, as the saying goes.

The pianists, all extremely well credentialed, testify to the fact that there are many top flight piano performers who never make it into the echelon of soloists who are repeatedly booked for the high-paying gigs. So, these pianists have created the S.F. International Piano Festival, which began last weekend and continues through this coming weekend. That means lots of great piano music for $25 general admission (less for seniors and students).

“I was astonished to find that San Francisco did not have an international piano festival of its own and am extremely excited about offering something of value to the Bay Area which has been so central to my artistic life and for which I feel so much gratitude,” says LaDeur of the new festival.

All 10 pianists perform and there are six remaining concerts, all at different venues throughout the Bay Area. This includes tonight’s concert at a private home in Oakland.  Tomorrow night at Freight and Salvage in Berkeley, Eunmi Ko plays Bartok, a recent work by David Liptak, Constellations, and Robert Schumann’s Nachtstucke. Jiyang Chen takes on Liszt’s Sonata in B Minor in the second half.

LaDeur is featured at Piano Fight (144 Taylor St., S.F.) on Thursday, playing Stephen Hartke’s Piano Sonata, followed by Bobby Mitchell playing Frederic Rzewski’s epic The People United Will Never Be Defeated!

The festival shifts on Friday to the Steinway Gallery in Walnut Creek (1605 Bonanza St.) for Chopin with Jiyang Chen and Albert Kim playing Ravel’s Miroirs and his own solo piano transcription of La Valse.

Igor Lipinski and Owen Zhou have next at the Maybeck Studio in Berkeley, on Saturday. (The concert is pretty much sold out, but you could have heard Szymanowski’s Mazurkas, Scriabin’s Eighth Sonata, plus, Stravinsky, Janacek, and Shostakovich.)

The Sunday finale involves Ko, Mitchell, and Kim at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music at 2 p.m. Haydn, Chopin, and Rachmaninoff hold their own against a group of contemporary composers. A reception follows.

Michael Zwiebach is the senior editor/ content manager for SFCV. He assigns all articles and content, manages the writing staff and does editing. A member of SFCV from the beginning, Michael holds a Ph.D. in music history from the University of California, Berkeley.

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