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Sunday, March 24, 2019

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Famous pianists to perform, teach at International Piano Festival


Beginning this Thursday, the Moores School of Music will hold the 34th annual International Piano Festival, presenting four prominent pianists from around the world.

Undergraduate students, pre-college students and graduates will have the chance to attend recitals and master classes from the performers. Some will perform in the master classes with the performers and receive advice on their playing.

Abbey Simon, the founder of the festival, has been a professor at the Moores School of Music for several years. In addition, he will be one of the four pianists performing a recital and master class at the festival.

“We are very honored that he has been a member of our faculty for years and he is one of the most beloved pianists in the world,” said the chair of the piano area at Moores School of Music and professor of music, Nancy Weems.

The other three guest performers are Danny Driver from the United Kingdom, Lucas Debargue from France and American pianist Ann Schein.

Moores alumna Phuong Nguyen, who graduated last May with a master’s in piano performance and pedagogy, will participate in the first master class with Debargue on Thursday. She is currently receiving her certificate in piano performance.

“We will be able to go see all the pianist’s recitals, and then we will have a chance to perform for them some pieces, and then they will give us advice or technique tips to help us play better,” Nguyen said. “This is a very good chance for everyone, especially for all of us music students to come and learn more about piano and to have more ideas in music and have better technique.”

A freshman student majoring in piano performance, Rhiannon Bishop, will also perform. Bishop said she will be play a movement of a Beethoven sonata, and Schein will critique her in front of an audience.

“I am really, really thankful for this opportunity,” she said. “I’m really excited, and I’m really happy that I was selected for this. It’s a great opportunity.”

There will also be an artist’s conversation luncheon, where the performers will answer questions from an audience and talk about their careers. However, according to the Moore’s School of Music website, the lunch requires a reservation.

“I love to attend this piano festival and I always look forward to it every spring semester,” Nguyen said.

The International Piano Festival will begin Thursday at 3 p.m. with a master class from Debargue, and will run until next Sunday. Students and senior citizens will receive a discount on tickets for the recitals, master classes and luncheon.

“I think it’s a wonderful time for the city of Houston to come to the Moores School of Music to experience this festival of world-class playing by international artists,” Weems said.

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