2018 Gilmore Artist Igor Levit has said that “permanent curiosity is essential” for him. The pianist dives deep into a concept, and use his towering skill to express it. During the 2018 Gilmore Keyboard Festival Finale on Saturday night, Levit conveyed the curiosity and humanism that is core to his art. He performed together with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra (KSO) under the baton of Raymond Harvey, music director emeritus.

Snarky Puppy, the multiple Grammy Award-winning funky jazz fusion jam band collective that defies definition, brought down the sold-out house of The State Theatre in Kalamazoo Friday night in a Gilmore Keyboard Festival performance that kicked off what promises to be a wildly successful summer tour.

Review: Leon Fleisher put his legacy on full display

Written by Marin Heinritz | Friday, 11 May 2018 13:29 |

In a jubilant celebration honoring the extraordinary life and achievements of one of the finest pianists of the past century, Leon Fleisher and friends offered a rousing all-Mozart program Wednesday night at Chenery Auditorium as a grand highlight of this year’s Gilmore Festival.

This year’s Gilmore Award winner, Igor Levit, played an astonishing solo concert of late Beethoven sonatas to a sold-out crowd at Kalamazoo College’s Stetson Chapel Wednesday afternoon, surpassing all expectations of seriousness and excellence.

Review: James Francies Trio brings energy and imagination

Written by Marin Heinritz | Wednesday, 09 May 2018 10:09 |

When James Francies took the Kalamazoo Civic stage yesterday afternoon — arriving directly from the airport — he noted he liked the energy in the place. For the next hour, he, with the James Francies Trio, fed on, ran with, and cultivated that energy with wildly imaginative and kinetic original jazz.

The New York-based Emmet Cohen Trio kicked off the Gilmore Festival’s noon series Monday at the Kalamazoo Civic auditorium, delighting the crowd with their take on a variety of classic jazz tunes, paying homage to some of the jazz greats.

In the fourth and final Sunday evening Jazz Club of the Gilmore Festival at WMU’s Williams Theatre, Dr. Lonnie Smith got funky, churchy and just a little bit nasty, showing his unparalleled mastery and improvisational stylings with the Hammond B3 electric organ and more in a delightful performance full of fun surprises.

During a recent radio interview, Elliot Wuu said he was “shell-shocked” to learn that he was the winner of a 2018 Gilmore Young Artist Award. Modesty aside, the 18-year-old’s Sunday performance at the 2018 Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival made it very clear why he was deserving of the honor. Undaunted by a challenging program, Wuu brought finesse, fervor and heart to every piece, much to the delight of the Vicksburg Performing Arts Center audience.

2018 Gilmore Young Artist Award winner Wei Luo impressed yet another Gilmore audience on Saturday night, this time accompanied by the Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra at W.K. Kellogg Auditorium in downtown Battle Creek.

Along with a list of staggering credentials (including the 2010 Gilmore Artist Award), Kirill Gerstein has a reputation as an illuminating interpreter. The Jewish-American/Russian pianist made his second appearance at the 2018 Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival recital on Friday night.

At most classical concerts, there are program notes with information about the works and composers to give background and insight into the music.

Review: Kirill Gerstein shows brilliance with the unusual

Written by Jane Simons | Thursday, 03 May 2018 12:56 |

The brilliance of an artist often shines brightest when they do the unexpected.

When a stage is set with just two pianos, it’s often for a duel. But Tuesday night’s performance from Ingrid Fliter and Katherine Chi was a delicate, and at times forceful, dance between equally matched partners.

On Monday night, 1998 Gilmore Artist Award winner Leif Ove Andsnes astonished and delighted a modest crowd among the gilded trim and glittering chandeliers of Kalamazoo's Chenery Auditorium.

Celebrated conductor, humanitarian, educator, and the first American-born composer to receive worldwide fame, Leonard Bernstein was the inspiration for Sunday evening’s Gilmore Festival performance from the Bill Charlap Trio at Western Michigan University’s Williams Theatre, which was transformed into a jazz club with candlelit tables set up cabaret style while the exceptional musicians played a lovely 75-minute set of original jazz variations of Bernstein’s gorgeous and often dramatic works.

Review: Nelson Freire presents enduring, uncomplicated beauty

Written by Samara Napolitan | Sunday, 29 April 2018 17:39 |

There are plenty of musicians today who embrace showmanship and spectacle to make an impression. But in a society that barrages us with hollow messages and countless distractions, honest and refined music can offer due respite.

Having spent his life spreading joy with his outlandish costumes and unique style of playing the piano in concert halls, on television and as the consummate Las Vegas act, Liberace has returned from the dead to set the story straight, so to speak, because he feels redundant in heaven where everyone’s just perpetually happy.

Review: Wei Luo’s passion is plain to see and hear

Written by Samara Napolitan | Sunday, 29 April 2018 15:25 |

Wei Luo, recipient of a 2018 Gilmore Young Artist Award, shares a music teacher with another Chinese pianist: Lang Lang, who also left his home country for America as a young teenager.

Bell’s Eccentric Cafe was abuzz and looked a bit different than usual Thursday night. From the sounds of things, it could have been a club in Greenwich Village at any point in the 20th Century — but without the cigarette smoke and with better beer. 

Much like being named a Gilmore Artist, winning the International Frederic Chopin International Piano Competition carries much significance for a burgeoning concert pianist. 32-year-old Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz has claimed both accolades. Blechacz swept the Chopin Piano Competition in 2005 — the first Polish pianist in 30 years to win the top prize — and later won the Gilmore Artist Award in 2014.

Ingrid Fliter was the main draw during a Friday afternoon Gilmore performance, but she shared the stage in the Wellspring Theatre with a clarinetist, cellist and violinist who each had the opportunity to showcase their immense musical range.

Gilmore Keyboard Festival 2018

Written by REVUE Staff | Friday, 30 March 2018 18:54 |

Nelson Freire replaces Perahia at Gilmore

Written by Revue Staff | Friday, 30 March 2018 15:02 |

Murray Perahia was forced to cancel his entire American tour this spring, including an April 28 performance at the Gilmore Keyboard Festival, due to an unexpected illness.

Lautenwerk: Kim Heindel

Written by Revue | Wednesday, 28 March 2018 19:51 |

Ah yes, the lautenwerk, an instrument we all know and love. Who are we kidding? Almost no one knows what a lautenwerk is! But once you hear it in the hands of Kim Heindel, you’ll come to love it, at least.

Jazz/Funk: Snarky Puppy

Written by Revue | Wednesday, 28 March 2018 19:49 |

It’s hard to put a label on Snarky Puppy, but that’s OK — we don’t need to. All you do need to know is that the jazz/pop/R&B/fusion/blues/etc. quasi-collective big band won three Grammy’s in four years, both for R&B performance and pop instrumental album.

Solo Pianist: Daniil Trifonov

Written by Revue | Wednesday, 28 March 2018 19:47 |

“He has everything and more… He has tenderness and also the demonic element. I never heard anything like that.” These words were spoken by legendary pianist Martha Argerich about Daniil Trifonov, shortly after his winning performance at the 2011 International Tchaikovsky Competition. Argerich’s praise for the young Russian pianist has since been validated by numerous performances with the world’s most esteemed orchestras and venues, as well as recognition as Gramophone’s 2016 Artist of the Year and two Grammy nominations. An exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist, Trifonov is consistently recognized for his diabolical yet elegant technique and transcendent artistry.

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