CLEVELAND, Ohio – Piano Days is coming to Cleveland.
The festival is courtesy of the folks behind the quadrennial Cleveland International Piano Competition.
“We really try to put on off-year events that support our mission to share music in all its forms, to make music accessible in the Cleveland area,” said Nicole Mieske Knab, who works in marketing and communications for the non-profit organization. Piano Cleveland.
The Piano Days will take place in various locations from Sunday July 24 to Sunday August 14.
During its three weeks, pop-up concerts via a concert truck are organized and multiple performances (two-handed and four-handed pieces) are scheduled throughout the region. Many events are free, while featured performances cost between $25 and $50.
The 16-foot Van Truck is a mobile room that spawns with a piano that allows organizers to travel to various areas for community performances. It’s complete with sound, lighting and “all the bells and whistles,” she said.
Locations for the truck include Public Square, Cleveland Metroparks, Edgewater Beach, Cleveland Public Library, Asian Lantern Festival and others.
The musical highlights of the festival come in an assortment of styles and approaches.
For example, Israeli-Palestinian piano duo Duo Amal will kick off the festival with a headline performance at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 24 at the Gartner Auditorium at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Also on the program: The free Rock the Classics program will offer rock music transcriptions at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 29, at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame plaza.
“The idea is to present the piano in other forms than just classical music”, said Mieske Knab. “That’s also what the festival is trying to highlight.”
Director Marissa Moore emphasized the importance of the piano’s ability to work with a multitude of styles. After all, it’s the same instrument that gave us everything from Mozart’s spellbinding Requiem in D minor, K. 626, to Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Great Balls of Fire.”
“We really try to present the piano as very diverse,” said Moore, a Cleveland native who played flute in the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra. She said the performances will include social events themed around quiz nights and musicals.
“I think that’s one of the great things about this instrument, which few other classical instruments have, is that it really speaks to a lot of different genres and speaks to a lot of people that way,” said she declared. .
Classical, rock and jazz pianists will be part of the program, which fits perfectly with Yaron Kohlberg’s musical interests.
Kohlberg is one half of Duo Amal and also the president of Piano Cleveland. Kohlberg, who won a silver medal at the Cleveland International Piano Competition in 2007, has lived in Cleveland for four years.
The program brings together “some of the things that we love and believe in. We like to listen to different types of music. In particular, I’m a big rock fan, I’m a big Radiohead fan.
The festival also serves as a way to spread the word during a slow year for the competition, one of the most renowned musical competitions in the world.
The last competition was supposed to take place in 2020, but a virtual event was held due to the coronavirus pandemic. The next one is planned for 2024. A competition for young artists in collaboration with the Cleveland Institute of Music is planned for 2023.
“It’s really about celebrating the piano in all its forms and making it accessible,” Mieske Knab said of the festival. “We talk about the piano as being the only instrument that everyone can play. However, due to its size, it is so big to get your hands on. So a lot of our programs are piano-based donation programs or (go to) communities. The festival really celebrates this, in terms of setting up the piano in various areas of Cleveland that are free and open to the public.
I am on cleveland.comfrom the Life and Culture team and covers topics related to food, beer, wine and sport. If you want to see my stories, here is a directory on cleveland.com. Bill Wills of WTAM-1100 and I usually talk food and drink at 8:20 a.m. Thursday morning. Twitter: @mbona30.
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