Winning the Gilmore Artist Award is lifechanging, and yet no one sees it coming. There’s no competition to enter — it can only be earned by being one of the greatest young pianists in the world.

During the festival, music isn’t the only cause for celebration. The performers, composers and conductors who make music possible matter just as much, which is why the Gilmore is celebrating their birthdays. Check out the list below to see which composers and pianists will have their big day commemorated.

Pianist Orion Weiss is making his return to the Gilmore Keyboard Festival for the first time in over a decade.

When Leon Fleisher was four years old, his mother gave him two choices: he could become the first Jewish president of the United States, or he could become a great pianist.

When Julien Labro performs, he wants to change your mind about what the accordion can do.

When Dan Gustin joined the Gilmore Keyboard Festival at the turn of the millennium, the festival was nine days long. Since then, the event has grown to 18 days, expanded its education and community engagement programs, created an endowment, and increased its commissions of new keyboard music, all under Gustin’s leadership.

Lori Sims’ ability to embrace new possibilities as a concert pianist has given her opportunities to broaden the appeal of classical music to the youngest concertgoers.

Igor Levit’s performance mindset changes day to day, but it always factors in one significant element. “I care about people. That’s what drives me. Not necessarily places or pianos, but people,” he said.

Becoming the new director of an internationally renowned festival just a few months before performers and the audience show up would be a daunting task for anyone, especially when filling in the shoes of a well-known predecessor.

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