Summer 2024 Festivals for the Piano Lover

We may wish that the calendars of the great musical institutions in the New York City could be equally active year-round. In summer, let’s be honest, there is less to choose from piano-wise than during the other seasons. But summer also affords its own distinct calendar of inviting piano events, especially so if you are willing to travel outside the city. And the piano events in the city deserve focus by being less numerous. Here are some summertime music events that are ongoing and upcoming. Enjoy!

IKIF (July 8-12, 2024)

The International Keyboard Institute and Festival in New York City is a summer piano festival that offers a week of concerts and master classes, and is open to participant students as well as the public. Since 1999, the festival has attracted students from around the world who have the opportunity to attend the festival to study with international faculty and artists, participate in masterclasses, and attend nightly concerts given by some of the world’s best-known pianists. Students receive lessons and can observe other lessons throughout the day.

Mannes Summer Piano Festival (July 15-24)

The inaugural Mannes Summer Piano Festival is a celebration of piano artistry at the Mannes School of Music at the New School. Listeners will experience an extraordinary lineup of internationally acclaimed pianists gracing the stage of the historic Alvin Johnson/J.M. Kaplan Hall at The New School in New York City.

Piano at Bryant Park (Ongoing through October 4)

The Bryant Park Corporation invites piano lovers to “come on down and swing along with the best ragtime, stride, and jazz musicians in town,” on the upper terrace most weekdays from 12:30-2:30 PM.

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Saratoga Springs, N.Y. (July and August)

The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center has several piano-inclusive concerts in July and August, in Saratoga Springs, NY.

Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts (July and August)

Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts offers a July and August of exceptional music performances, captivating programs, and beautiful gardens. Visitors can explore historic sites, enjoy picnics, and experience music in various unique settings.

Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival (July and August)

The Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival offers eight piano-inclusive chamber music performances throughout July and August, in Bridgehampton, Long Island.

Norfolk Chamber Music Festival (July and August)

In July and August, the Yale School of Music presents the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, offering collaborative piano performed in chamber works of esteemed composers.

Lake George Music Festival (August)

The Lake George Music Festival presents piano recitals on two dates in August. The Lake George Music Festival is a high-level artist retreat for musicians, conductors and composers, set over two weeks in picturesque Lake George, New York. Each summer, the festival offers a dynamic and immersive experience for performers and patrons alike through a series of daily concerts, open rehearsals, special presentations, and more.

Midnight Monologues and Poetic Impressions, at Tenri Cultural Institute

New York-based Korean pianist
Yoojung Kim

In 2011 and 2012, during a time when she spent many long days out, arriving home late at night Yoojung Kim would seek comfort and renewal by expressing her emotions through improvisation at the piano, recording her improvisations with the voice memo app on her phone. The gloomier her mood, the more inspired she would be. “It was like writing a journal, with my fingers writing sounds through my songs.” At the time, these recorded improvisations remained secret. But more recently, on the Artist Faculty in Piano Studies at NYU Steinhardt, she has felt an increasing desire to share them. On Thursday, bearing the title Midnight Monologues, their premiere will be the foundation of her recital at the Tenri Cultural Institute. Interleaving between the Monologues, Professor Kim will play works by Scriabin and Debussy.

There are several more distinctive aspects to make this recital a very special event for concertgoers. First, attendees (of legal age) are invited to a pre-concert wine reception. During the concert, on the large white wall in the performance space will be projected original photographs by Professor Kim along with her original poems, and moving-image artwork by Matthew David Wachsman. Those desiring an even fuller sensory experience will be invited to sample their complimentary fragrance from strangelove. An evening full of sensory rewards!

Puzzle Completed: Tobias van der Pals and Pål Eide at Carnegie Hall

Tobias van der Pals (cello) and Pål Eide performing at Carnegie Hall on November 10, 2022
Photo by Jeanette D. Moses

Over a hundred years ago, early works of the Danish/Dutch composer Leopold van der Pals saw their world premiere at Carnegie Hall. A week ago last Thursday, I had the good fortune to be at the Weill recital hall at Carnegie Hall to hear Tobias van der Pals and Pål Eide perform a carefully curated program of works for cello and piano, centered around another world premiere of Leopold van der Pals: his first cello sonata, performed by musical partners including the composer’s great grandnephew. The hall was packed with audience members of all ages who had come to hear this work, written in 1906 while the twenty-two-year-old composer was recuperating from tuberculosis at a Swiss sanatorium. The sonata could not be performed until the missing puzzle piece—the last several pages of the score—was discovered by Tobias and the whole work painstakingly and lovingly updated by him with markings for dynamics and bowing.

GLIÈRE Con Moto in E Major from Twelve Pieces, Op. 51, No. 1 (1910)
GLAZUNOV Chant du ménéstrel, Op. 71 (1900)
LEOPOLD VAN DER PALS Sonata for Cello and Piano, Op. 5a (World Premiere, 1906)
TCHAIKOVSKY Pezzo capriccioso, Op. 62 (1887)
RACHMANINOFF Cello Sonata in G Minor, Op. 19 (1901)
(Encore) GLAZUNOV Spanish Seranade, from Two Pieces for cello and orchestra, Op. 20 (1887–1888)
(Encore) LEOPOLD VAN DER PALS, Nach der Jagt, Op. 1 No. 3 (ca. 1905), song based on Ohotsuno Ozi’s 8th-century poem, arranged for cello and piano by Tobias van der Pals

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Treasure from the Archive: Van der Pals World Premiere at Carnegie Hall

Composer Leopold van der Pals (left) and great-grandnephew, cellist Tobias van der Pals

In 1911, two Symphonic Poems of composer Leopold van der Pals saw their world premieres at Carnegie Hall, framed by orchestral works of Wagner, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff. Now, 111 years later, another of Leopold van der Pals’ works will see its world premiere. On November 10th, cellist Tobias van der Pals and pianist Pål Eide will be performing the work at Carnegie Hall.

In 2000, Tobias van der Pals was a twenty-two-year-old cello student in his first year at music conservatory in Copenhagen. In that year he found out about an archive in Dornach, Switzerland at which were stored works of the composer Leopold van der Pals, Tobias’s great granduncle, who lived from 1884 to 1966. Traveling with his grandfather to the town where Leopold had lived the last decades of his life, they were granted access to the archive. There Tobias found a treasure: manuscripts of nearly all the composer’s works.

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