2017 Bachauer Piano Festival

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Possibly the best things about a summer piano festival are friendships renewed and friendships made…

Chaeyoung Park and Jae Hong Park, Silver and Gold Medalists of the 2016 Gina Bachauer Young Artists International Piano Competition, returned to Salt Lake City after a year of travel and continued recognition for their talent and dedication. They were reunited with their 2016 Host Homes, and both hosts and pianists were eager to reconnect.

Dmitry Rachmanov, 2010 Bachauer juror and professor of piano from California State University at Northridge, returned as Guest Artist to present the final concert and work with young pianists in the festival master classes. Tom Guinney, of Gastronomy Inc., a good friend of many arts organizations who generously hosts visiting artists, provided a spectacular home and piano for Mr. Rachmanov to utilize. In addition to making friends with Tom and his close associate Kenneth Pollard, he was instantly befriended by Billy the dog, who did not leave his side during the entire stay!

The Festival Participants who performed in master classes and on the festival recital quickly made friends with their Host Homes and with each other; some having met each other at previous competitions and festivals, and some having met for the first time, but all uniting in a spirit of comradery.  Host Homes for the young pianists were excited to meet with each other and to share stories of the fun and joy of hosting Bachauer pianists. One of the mothers of a young pianist asked how we had chosen for her and her son the best host home.  All the visiting pianists and parents seemed to feel the same.
 
The Concerts
Each evening featured an artist with a distinct personality, with two performers on the verge of the concert careers, and the third a seasoned veteran specializing in Russian music.  All performed with exquisite beauty and virtuosity. The audiences enjoyed a veritable feast of superb music from the Baroque to 20th century  Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, Bartók, Albéniz, Prokofiev, Scriabin, and Rachmaninoff. Three remarkable concerts exploring the musical delights of the great piano masterpieces!
 
The Master Classes and Festival Recital
Douglas Humphreys, the Artistic Director of the Bachauer, and Guest Artist Dmitry Rachmanov offered valuable advice to the six young pianists who had applied through an audition process for the opportunity to participate in the festival. After two days of intense master classes, the Festival Participants performed with style and confidence. The master teachers complimented them on how quickly they incorporated the advice they had been given. The students also gave each other complimentary, supportive and encouraging comments.
 
The School Concerts
As part of Bachauer’s Music-In-Our-Schools, Jae Hong Park played for students at Midas Creek Elementary School and Chaeyoung Park played for students at Daybreak Elementary School. In addition to performing on a beautiful Steinway Model “B piano supplied by Daynes Music Co. just for the occasion, they spoke to the students about the music they played and answered their questions. In answer to the question “What does that song mean?”Jae Hong quipped, “Nobody knows.”  Then more seriously responded, “When I learn a piece of music, I must read about the composer and his life, and try to imagine what he was feeling and thinking when he wrote the music and what he wanted to express by it.  Then I must try very hard to play it so you can use your imagination when you listen and hear what the composer was trying to tell you. If you imagined something different than someone else, that is OK.  The important thing is we both got some meaning from the music.”  Chaeyoung was enchanting in responding to the question, “What’s the middle pedal for?” by explaining and demonstrating how all the pedals are used. Some faculty members took the invitation to attend the evening concerts at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center and were thrilled what they heard.
 
The Utah Arts Festival
Following three days of wonderful piano music at schools, at Daynes Music and at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, Chaeyoung and Jae Hong performed back to back at the Utah Arts Festival outdoors on the Festival Stage.  People wandering by or exploring art were drawn to the captivating sounds of Gershwin, Bach, Bartók, and Chopin, entering the performance area to witness up-close two exceptionally talented young pianists displaying their finest wares. The audience increased as the performances progressed, responding with enthusiastic applause.
 
It was a wonderful Festival. Leaving the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center on Saturday night, more than one person asked why it was only three days  they would have liked it to goon and on.

Thank you to the performers, concert attendees, host families, and volunteers for making the 2017 Bachauer Piano Festival a memorable one!