Oxford Philomusica Piano Festival and Summer Academy
27 July - 4 August 2014
The remarkable success of Oxford Philomusica over the past fifteen years is mirrored in that of its annual Piano Festival and Summer Academy. The growth in stature and reputation of this Festival is clear from the calibre of musicians taking part, the clamour for places and keenness of students to return each year, and its profile in the international music community, media and beyond.
With Alfred Brendel as the Festival’s Patron, András Schiff as President, Professor Malcolm Troup as Vice President and renowned pianist Marios Papadopoulos as Artistic Director, the bar is set very high in terms of quality and creative integrity.
Its objective is simple: to inspire, support and encourage piano music-making of the highest quality. The Festival provides gifted young players with a rare opportunity to work alongside some of the world’s finest pianists and teachers, allowing them to concentrate exclusively on their music. They may perform and learn new repertoire, whilst feeling part of a distinct and dedicated community of artists that encourages exchange and discourages competition.
The concept of the pianist as musician lies at the heart of the Festival. The various roles of the pianist as virtuoso, chamber musician, accompanist, conductor, academic or teacher – are all closely examined. And, as part of this holistic approach, the various schools of piano playing are considered, too: Russian, American, European and British.
The Festival combines the superb venue of St Hilda’s College, concerts and recitals by the foremost pianists of our time held in glorious historic buildings, and a lively social programme. This, together with the inclusion of enthusiastic observers, is undoubtedly a winning formula, as previous students have testified:
“ The quality of the masterclasses was high, and there were many to choose from. The recitals every night were wonderful and inspiring.”
“ I have forged many strong friendships and have learnt SO much about playing music and appreciating music.”
“ (I liked) the opportunity to play for pianists who are active and successful in the profession. Some of the professors are simply inspiring and the lessons ring on for a long time after the course has finished.”
Over the years many of the legendary names of the 20th century, such as Rosalyn Tureck and Maria Curcio, have made their way to Oxford to take part in the Festival, alongside virtually every significant contemporary pianist – from Pierre-Laurent Aimard to Roger Vignoles. This year will be no exception, with distinguished musicians attending including the great Menahem Pressler, András Schiff, Stephen Kovacevich, Mahan Esfahani, Dame Fanny Waterman, Peter Frankl and Yoheved Kaplinsky.
In the words of a recent independent report on Oxford Philomusica’s Piano Festival and Summer Academy: ‘Feedback from the Festival is extremely positive. The Festival exceeded participants’ expectations and provided clear benefits in terms of artistic practice. It was seen as well organized and well conceived.’ * We are delighted by such praise, but continue to strive to improve the Festival and hope that this, our 16th year, will be our best yet.
*Quoted from the conclusion to an Evaluation of Oxford Philomusica International Piano Festival and Summer Academy by Annabel Jackson Associates commissioned by the Association of British Orchestras, August 2009