Festival Director: Dr. Arthur Houle
Assistants: Evelyn Billberg (Denver area piano teacher) and Lyn Ross (CMU administrative assistant for music, theatre & dance)
The 2014 festival will be held on April 4 & 5 (Friday & Saturday).
Early adjudications (local students, contingent on enrollment):
Thursday afternoon, April 3rd from 3 to 5 P.M.
* Although North Avenue is the mailing address of the Moss Performing Arts Center, it is actually located at the corner of 12th St. and Bunting Ave. at 1221 N. 12th St.
Pianists up to age 19 as of 4/4/14 from anywhere in the world.
Auditions and recordings are not necessary. Enrollment is open but limited to 22; priority is given to earlier applicants. See application page.
Due to our limit of 22 participants, early applications are strongly encouraged. Early applications need not indicate repertory (repertory will be requested later); the non-refundable application fee will secure a place in the festival.
For adjudications, students play up to 15 minutes of repertory - any style, for one, two, or three pianos. (See also 30-minute PIANO ENSEMBLE option.) After students perform, they will receive about 10 to 20 minutes of constructive verbal feedback from the judges. All students will also receive written comments.
This festival is the only competition of its
kind in the world, combining both classical and jazz idioms in a
constructive educational setting. Students compete for standard
baroque through contemporary repertory prizes, as well as for
novel prizes that promote neglected but important creative skills
and repertory -- e.g., original concerto cadenzas & classical
embellishing/improvisation (skills demonstrated by nearly all
great composers yet all but forgotten today), versatility (needed
to survive in today's competitive market), lyricism (usually
overshadowed by "loud and fast" playing), original compositions
(few venues exist for young serious composers), works by female
composers, tasteful arrangements/transcriptions (often disallowed
in other venues), etc.
We seek to foster diverse and well-rounded musicianship that goes beyond the "autonomic wizardry" that is often overemphasized in other competitions. Above all, pianists are urged to develop and showcase their unique talents and perform with individuality, personality, exuberance, originality and spontaneity.
The festival has been cited on NPR's Performance Today, various newspapers, and in music periodicals such as American Music Teacher, Clavier Companion, Piano & Keyboard, Piano Today, and the London-based Piano magazine. It was also profiled in a major article in the April 2003 issue of Clavier magazine. Most recently, articles about the festival appeared in the Mesa State College Fall 2010 Newsletter and the March 2009 issue of Grand Valley Magazine. The festival was also endorsed by the International Piano Teachers Guild "for providing an excellent competition for the piano community."
Supporters have included many piano dealerships at the local and corporate level. Please patronize our business supporters.
Up to 22 students.
Our world-class judges are generally experts in
both classical and jazz/pop styles as well as all forms of
improvisation. This combination of skills is rare; furthermore,
judges are chosen for their ability to work well with young
people and provide useful, learned and positive feedback, both
verbally and in writing.
We are pleased to announce that a special Guest Artist adjudicator will join Drs. Salmon and Atkinson for the 2014 festival: Luke Gillespie, Associate Professor of Music (Jazz Studies) at Indiana University.
If you are a junior or senior in high school and considering colleges, your participation in this festival can double as an official audition to the Colorado Mesa University music program. Contact Dr. Houle.
We need and appreciate your generous support!
Donations have tax benefits.
Online donations are quick and convenient!
Simply indicate "Festival for Creative Pianists" on the "Add to Cart" page from this link: CMU donation page. If you could notify Dr. Houle of your donation, that would be most appreciated.
If you prefer, checks payable to Colorado Mesa University Music Department may be mailed to the address below.
IMPORTANT: Please indicate "piano festival" in the memo portion of checks.
Dr. Calvin Hofer
Music Department Head, Department of Music
Colorado Mesa University Moss Performing Arts Center
1100 North Avenue
Grand Junction, CO 81501
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