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Arts in Milwaukee

A Public Service Of Milwaukee Artist Resource Network

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PianoArts North American Piano Competition

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PianoArts presented its first competition in 1999 to identify, showcase and guide young pianists at a turning point in their artistic lives. But the seeds for PianoArts were planted in 1994, when a group of professional musicians met to discuss changing audiences for classical music and the preparation of young musicians for these audiences. They believed that the coming generation of performers needed to be able to both speak about and play their music convincingly. They were concerned about the lack of collaboration between pianists and orchestral musicians and believed that it is the responsibility of performing professionals to help young musicians prepare for careers in music.

During the competition week, semifinalists:
• Rehearse with professional musicians, including violinists and cellists from the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
• Collaborate with professional pianists from the MSO, Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, and University of Wisconsin-Madison
• Work with specialists in stage direction and speaking about music
• Devote a full day on the collaborative nature of performing concertos with an MSO chamber ensemble and PianoArts Music Director Andrews Sill
• Perform a variety of public concerts, competition recitals, outreach concerts, and "Piano Promenades"
• Participate in concerto performance seminars and panel discussions on subjects such as "Working with Managers"

Finalists perform a complete concerto with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra

All contestants have private sessions with the judges following the competition

Winners selected as PianoArts Fellows return to Milwaukee (all expenses paid) for training and performance opportunities that include a wide range of audiences of diverse ages, ethnic, and economic backgrounds.

PianoArts Fellows:
• Perform recitals with commentaries in classical concert series at performing arts centers
• Perform in secondary schools, churches, universities, and other community centers
• Develop music curricula for classrooms
• Teach
• Work with professionals and leaders in the field of arts education
• Develop innovative and creative programs
• Become advocates and effective leaders in the field of classical music


The mission of PianoArts is to develop innovative ways to foster appreciation and performance of classical music by identifying and training a new generation of pianists with exceptional musical and verbal communication skills and by presenting them to diverse audiences.