Auditions and recordings are not necessary. Enrollment is open but limited to approx. 40 to 45: priority is given to earlier applicants. See application page.
Early applications are strongly encouraged. Early applications should not indicate repertory (repertory is required by May 15); non-refundable application fees will secure a place in the festival.
For adjudications, students play up to 15 minutes of repertory - any style, for one, two, or three pianos (3rd piano contingent on space and availability). See also 30-minute PIANO ENSEMBLE option. After students perform, they receive constructive verbal feedback from the judges. All students also receive written comments, scanned and sent by email following the festival.
This festival is the only competition of its
kind in the world, combining both classical and jazz idioms in a
constructive educational setting. Students compete for standard
baroque through contemporary repertory prizes, as well as for
novel prizes that promote neglected but important creative skills
and repertory -- e.g., original concerto cadenzas & classical
embellishing/improvisation (skills demonstrated by nearly all
great composers yet all but forgotten today), versatility (needed
to survive in today's competitive market), lyricism (usually
overshadowed by "loud and fast" playing), original compositions
(few venues exist for young serious composers), works by female
composers, tasteful arrangements/transcriptions (often disallowed
in other venues), etc.
We seek to foster diverse and well-rounded musicianship that goes beyond the "autonomic wizardry" that is often overemphasized in other competitions. Above all, pianists are urged to develop and showcase their unique talents and perform with individuality, personality, exuberance, originality and spontaneity.
The festival has been cited on NPR's Performance Today, various newspapers, and in music periodicals such as American Music Teacher, Clavier Companion, Piano & Keyboard, Piano Today, and the London-based Piano magazine. It was also profiled in a major article in the April 2003 issue of Clavier magazine. Most recently, articles about the festival appeared in the Mesa State College Fall 2010 Newsletter and the March 2009 issue of Grand Valley Magazine. The festival was also endorsed by the International Piano Teachers Guild "for providing an excellent competition for the piano community."
Up to 40-45 students, at the discretion of the Directors.
Our world-class judges are generally experts in
both classical and jazz/pop styles as well as all forms of
improvisation. This combination of skills is rare; furthermore,
judges are chosen for their ability to work well with young
people and provide useful, learned and positive feedback, both
verbally and in writing.
If you are a junior or senior in high school and considering colleges, your participation in this festival can double as an official audition to the Colorado Mesa University music program. Contact Dr. Houle.
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