Piano Students To Learn & Perform At Summer Institute

Ian Hobson

Ian Hobson


The week of July 16th will be an intense one for participants in the annual Summer Piano Institute at the University of Illinois.

Some 15 to 20 piano students from across the U-S and from countries including Mexico and South Korea will be studying with five guest faculty pianists — including the Summer Piano Institute’s artistic director, Ian Hobson. Both students and guest faculty will give public performances, and some will perform with Sinfonia da Camera, the chamber orchestra founded and led by Hobson.

Hobson says the students coming to the six-day Institute are all advanced ones. He says one of them is just 17 years old, young enough that she will attend the Institute in the company of her mother.

“But we have people who are in their 20’s, and in some cases in their 30’s, who have already been through doctoral programs, and honing their skills for a life in music,” said Hobson.

In addition to Hobson, the guest faculty at the Institute will be Boaz Sharon from Boston University, Victor Rosenbaum from the New England Conservatory of Music, Read Gainsford from Florida State University and Jong Hwa Park from Seoul National University.

Hobson says the Summer Piano Institute will provide students with a concentrated dose of instruction and experience.

“We’re going to teach all of these students every day, so they will have a one-on-one lesson with each of us in the mornings,” said Hobson. “And then in the afternoons, there will be a master class (in Smith Memorial Hall) with each of the five faculty members, each day. Everyone will get to play in these master classes. Everyone will get to play in the gala concerts. My experience is that people really blossom in these circumstances, and they reach the next level in their professional activities.”

The aforementioned gala concerts will be held Thursday evening and Saturday afternoon (July 19 & 21) at the U of I’s Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. The Institute’s guest faculty will give recitals on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings (July 17 & 18). And both students and faculty will perform with the Sinfonia da Camera (which is the Krannert Center’s resident orchestra) on Saturday, July 21. Winners of the student concerto competition will perform movements from piano concertos at 4 p.m. concert. Hobson and guest faculty will perform with the Sinfonia at 7:30 p.m.

The student concerto competition is a new feature of the Summer Piano Institute this year, and Hobson says it will provide valuable experience for the students.

“They have to think about not only playing solo, but how they interact with an orchestra, how they interact with an accompanist for the auditions,” said Hobson. “Anything we can do to increase the participation of people, one with another, is very much encouraged.”

The judging and selection of winners of the student concerto competition will occur at the start of the Institute, with auditions on Sunday evening, July 15. That means that Hobson and the members of the Sinfonia da Camera do not yet know what works they will be performing with the students on Saturday, July 21. But Hobson says the students will be limited to a standard classical and early romantic repertoire that the members of the Sinfonia are familiar with.

The final concert of the Institute will feature the guest faculty performing with the Sinfonia da Camera. Hobson himself will conduct the ensemble from the piano, as he performs Carl Maria von Weber’s Koncertstuck (or “Concert Work”) in F-Minor (Op. 79).

“When you think that just in terms of pianistic attributes, you have three octave glissandos in the right hand in the midst of this piece, which is an extremely exuberant gesture”, said Hobson, who last performed the Konzertstuck with the Sinfonia in 1990, including at a concert that marked the orchestra’s New York City debut. “It’s not something that one takes likely. For example, in the “Waldstein” Sonata, Beethoven does octave glissandos pianissimo, softly, coming down on the keyboard. In this, Weber just rips the whole piano apart, all the way up. It’s quite a shock for the audience to see that.”

Hobson will also be featured in the 2nd Faculty  Recital on Wednesday, July 18. He will perform a Beethoven Sonata (Opus 31 #3). And Hobson will team up with a former student, Samuel Galesko, to perform a piece based on music from that sonata, the Variations on a Theme of Beethoven (Op. 35) for Two Pianos by Camille Saint Saens.

Summer Piano Institute Performance Schedule (all performances at the  Foellinger Great Hall of the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts)

Tuesday, July 17, 7:30 p.m. – Faculty Recital 1

(Boaz Sharon plays the Arabeske in C-Major, Op. 18 of Robert Schumann; Read Gainsford plays the Debussy etudes and the “Dante” Sonata of Liszt)

Wednesday, July 18, 7:30 p.m. – Faculty Recital 2

(John Hwa Park plays the 1st & 4th Ballades of Chopin; Victor Rosenbaum plays the last set of the Clavierstuck of Brahms; Ian Hobson plays the Beethoven Sonanta Op. 31 #3 & the Saint Saens Variations on a Theme of Beethoven, with Samuel Galesko)

Thursday, July 19, 7:30 p.m. – Student Gala Concert 1

Saturday, July 21, 1:30 p.m. – Student Gala Concert 2

Saturday, July 21, 4 p.m. – Student Concerto Winners w/ Sinfonia da Camera

Saturday, July 21, 7:30 p.m. – SPI Faculty Showcase with Sinfonia da Camera, Ian Hobson, conductor.

(Ovt. to The Marriage of Figaro- Mozart; Piano Concerto #1 by Shostakovich, with Jong Hwa Park, piano & Amy Gilreath, trumpet; Mozart; Concerto #22 by Mozart, featuring Victor Rosenbaum; Koncertstuck by Weber with Hobson conducting from the piano)

Story source: WILL