October 05, 2017

School of Music presents inaugural Southern Illinois Piano Festival

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. – The School of Music at Southern Illinois University Carbondale presents a new music festival this month, and it’s all about the keys. 

The inaugural Southern Illinois Piano Festival is Oct. 14-18, and includes guest musicians, SIU piano faculty, recitals, master classes and clinics. The festival is open to piano students from SIU and to younger students. 

Junghwa Lee, associate professor of piano and an accomplished performance musician, said interest in piano is fairly high in the Carbondale area, with many piano teachers maintaining waiting lists for future students.

This is encouraging for music educators and piano teachers,” she said. “The idea for the Southern Illinois Piano Festival came to fruition this October partly because we had two guest artists who wanted to visit SIU and were available at the same time. And that’s part of the idea of the festival, to present various performers to students and the community, and to provide a higher level of piano education.” 

Lee, with Yuko Kato, associate professor of piano and coordinator of keyboard at SIU, will both present piano clinics and master classes during the festival. The guest artists are Nina Ferrigno and Sancro Russo. 

Ferrigno is a teacher of applied music at Washington University in St. Louis. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch described her as a “magnificent pianist.” She is a founding member of the Boston-based Calyx Piano Trio performing ensemble. She presents a concert for two pianos with Cato at 5:30 p.m., Oct. 16, at Shryock Auditorium. 

Russo, a native of San Giovanni Gemini, Italy, is a veteran of some of the most highly regarded music venues in Europe and the United States. His appearances this fall include Steinway Hall in London, England; Highland Hall and Gardens in Massachusetts and Prälatensaal im Schottenstift in Vienna, Austria. He will perform a solo recital at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 18, in the Old Baptist Foundation Recital Hall. 

A festival student recital begins at 5 p.m., Oct. 18 in the Old Baptist Foundation Recital Hall. 

A complete schedule, and registration information, is available at cola.siu.edu/music/camps-festivals-outreach/festivals/piano-festival.php.  Attendance at recitals and master classes is free. Fees apply to clinics.