Frost School's Chopin Festival Features Great Piano Music

Festival Features Some of the Best Up and Comers, Established Pianists

Michelle F. Solomon


Ready for some tickling of the ivories? The Frost Chopin Festival and Academy continues this weekend in its third installment hosted by The Frost School of Music at the University of Miami and the Chopin Foundation of the U.S.

Following two years in 2018 and 2019, the event was postponed due to the COVID crisis.

The four day festival this year is presented in a virtual platform with webinars and livestream performances and all free of charge with support from the Chopin Foundation of the U.S., the Dr. M. Lee Pearce Foundation and the Miami Salon Group.

"This is an exceptional opportunity not only for those who love the music of Chopin, but those also interested in observing the process as these young musicians explore the mystery of a fine Chopin interpretation with expert advice from some of the world's most respected Chopin specialists," said Kevin Kenner, Frost Chopin Academy and Festival Artistic Director. "This is an event that will be of interest to music teachers, students, professionals, amateurs and music enthusiasts alike."

24 young pianists representing the countries of South Korea, China, Poland, Canada and the U.S. have been selected to take part virtually in the Academy classes which will be held via webinar. Many of the aspiring artists have already earned international recognition and are on the brink of illustrious professional careers, according to organizers.

The youngest Academy student, Andrew Sijie Li, at 13 years old has already won international prizes and has performed in China, Canada, France and Italy.

Seven of the students are currently preparing for the International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, the preliminaries of which start one day after the conclusion of the Academy. One of those, Jaeyoon Lee is studying at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and recently won the 1st prize in the Robert Schumann International Piano Competition in Düsseldorf.

Additional participants include the 2020 Grand Prize winner of the Chopin Foundation's National Chopin Competition, Avery Gagliano, as well as the 2nd prize winner Evren Ozel, and 3rd prize winner, Parker van Ostrand. Parker, 18, was just awarded the 2021 Presidential Scholar in the Arts, one of only 20 young artists in the U.S. to receive such recognition. 17 of the Academy students are recipients of funding from the Chopin Foundation's scholarship program and are studying at prestigious music schools including the Curtis Institute, the Juilliard School, the New England Conservatory, the Colburn School, Oberlin, the Eastman School of Music, and the Frost School of Music.

"We are delighted to co-present the third edition of the Frost Chopin Academy and have been honored to collaborate with the Frost School and Kevin Kenner on this wonderful program since its inception," stated Barbara Muze, Executive Director of the Chopin Foundation of the U.S. "Pivoting to online technology this year has enabled us to bring together the finest young musicians, including 17 recipients of funding from our scholarship program, with world-renowned Chopin specialists to offer what promises to be a unique and rewarding educational and performance opportunity."


The Chopin Academy and Festival Schedule

Wednesday, July 7, 2021 2:30-4:00pm EST

The Ballades and Concerti of Chopin: A Workshop with Professor John Rink

Join Professor of Musical Performance Studies at University of Cambridge, Editor-in-Chief of The Complete Chopin – A New Critical Edition (published by Peters), juror of the 2015 and 2021 International Chopin Competition in Warsaw, and world-renowned Chopin lecturer and researcher John Rink as he presents his first of two workshops with the Frost Chopin Academy students. He addresses the special characteristics of Chopin’s Ballades and Concerti and how they translate into a meaningful interpretation.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021 5:00-6:00pm EST

Behind the Scenes: A Collage of Inspiring Moments from the Lessons at the Frost Chopin Academy and Festival

Ever wanted to be a fly on the wall in the studio where a master teacher works individually with talented young pianists? There is nothing more fascinating than witnessing the magic that takes place when a student experiences a breakthrough. This segment highlights such special encounters between some of our 24 Academy students and our four master teachers: Edward Auer, Margarita Shevchenko, Zlata Chochieva, and Kevin Kenner.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021 7:00-8:00pm EST

Festival Recital I: Edward Auer plays Beethoven & Chopin

The 1965 International Chopin Competition in Warsaw prize winner and a leading interpreter of the works of Chopin, Professor Edward Auer offers a livestreamed concert of Beethoven’s monumental Sonata in A-flat, Op. 110, as well as a selection of Chopin masterpieces, including mazurkas, the rarely performed Nouvelles Etudes, and two of Chopin’s latest works, the Barcarolle, Op. 60 and the Polonaise-Fantaisie, Op. 61.

Thursday, July 8, 2021 2:30-4:00pm EST

The Fantasy and Chopin: A Workshop with Professor John Rink

Professor John Rink, Professor of Musical Performance Studies at the University of Cambridge, returns for a second workshop exploring with the Frost Chopin Academy and Festival students two masterpieces: Fantasy in F minor, Op. 49 and Polonaise-Fantaisie, Op. 61. Professor Rink offers historical background and context as well as addresses critical questions on how such knowledge informs musical performance.

Thursday, July 8, 2021 5:00-6:30pm EST

Robert McDonald Teaches Chopin

The Frost Chopin Academy and Festival is honored to welcome pianist Robert McDonald. An eminent chamber musician and sought-after master teacher currently employed at the Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute, Professor McDonald will engage with a select group of Academy students as they perfect their Chopin performance skills.

TThursday, July 8, 2021 7:00-8:00pm EST

Festival Recital II: Margarita Shevchenko plays Scarlatti, Granados, Ravel, & Chopin

Prize-winner at the 1990 International Chopin Competition in Warsaw and professor of piano at Michigan State University, Margarita Shevchenko offers a livestreamed recital featuring an eclectic mosaic of works by Scarlatti, Granados, Ravel, and of course, Chopin.

Friday, July 9, 2021 2:30-3:30pm EST

Chopin Sources: A Lecture by Kevin Kenner

Frost Professor of Piano and specialist in the performance of Chopin, Kevin Kenner investigates the musical sources that underpin Chopin's music and values, including his love of Baroque music, Classical style, the bel canto tradition, the stile brillante, Romanticism, and traditional Polish folk elements.

Friday, July 9, 2021 5:00-6:00pm EST

Chopin Etudes with Zlata Chochieva

Awarded the "Editor's Choice" by Gramophone, Zlata Chochieva's recording of Chopin's 24 Etudes was hailed by Jeremy Nichols as "one of the most consistently inspired, masterfully executed and beautiful-sounding versions I can recall." Zlata will share invaluable insights into the performance of these technically challenging pieces that are an integral part of the musical growth of all aspiring professional pianists.

Friday, July 9, 2021 7:00-8:00pm EST

Festival Recital III: Zlata Chochieva plays Grieg, Ravel, & Chopin

The Frost Chopin Academy and Festival is thrilled to present internationally renowned concert pianist Zlata Chochieva in a livestreamed recital that will feature the colorful Album Leaves of Norway's beloved Edvard Grieg, the Impressionistic masterpiece Miroirs by Maurice Ravel, and Chopin's late Scherzo No. 4.

Saturday, July 10, 2021 2:30-3:30pm EST

Chopin and Scriabin: A Lecture by Marina Frolova-Walker

Just as Chopin's genius was born of the complex musical environment of the early 19th century, his art profoundly impacted Russian pianism in subsequent generations. In this lecture for the Frost Chopin Academy and Festival, Professor of Music History at the University of Cambridge Marina Frolova-Walker discusses the legacy of Chopin in Russia and how his musical traits found a unique inflection in the music of Alexander Scriabin.

Saturday, July 10, 2021 5:00-6:30pm EST

Ewa Pobocka Teaches Chopin

The Frost Academy and Festival welcomes once again Professor Ewa Pobocka of the Bydgoszcz Academy of Music in Poland, who will offer specialized guidance in Chopin interpretation. Her magical interpretations from Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier are well-engrained in our memory when she graced the Festival in 2019. Educated in Poland by some of the most highly regarded pedagogues of the Polish school, Professor Pobocka launched her career after her prize at the 1980 International Chopin Competition. She is a frequent juror of many international competitions, including the Rubinstein and the Chopin.

Saturday, July 10, 2021 7:00-8:00pm EST

Festival Recital IV: Kevin Kenner plays Schumann and Chopin

In the final evening of the Frost Chopin Academy and Festival, Kevin Kenner, winner of the 1990 International Chopin Competition in Warsaw, performs the nature-inspired Scenes from the Forest by Robert Schumann and two of Chopin's brilliant works for piano and orchestra: the Andante spianato et grande polonaise brillante, Op. 22 and the Variations on Mozart's "La ci darem la mano," Op. 2, in his new arrangements for piano and string quintet.

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