close up of hands playing a piano

After a three-year break due to COVID-19, the Southern Illinois Piano Festival, returns to the SIU campus next month with accomplished pianists, lectures and master classes. The 2019 festival included a piano duo/duet recital in Shryock Auditorium. (Shutterstock)

September 22, 2022

Southern Illinois Piano Festival returns to SIU next month

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. — After a lapsed year due to COVID-19 restrictions, Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Southern Illinois Piano Festival returns for a third run next month. The biennial classical music festival once again features the artistry and works of renowned pianists, master classes and clinics open to the community.

The festival runs Oct. 2, 4-5, Nov. 2 and Dec. 2 at various locations on campus. All of the concerts and master classes are free and open to the public, thanks to support from the SIU Fine Arts Activity Fee.

This year’s guest pianists are:

  • Matthew Bengtson, associate professor of piano literature at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance, where he teaches piano, fortepiano, and courses and seminars in piano repertoire, history and culture.
  • Marina Lomazov, professor of piano at the Eastman School of Music and co-founder and co-artistic director of the Southeastern Piano Festival in Columbia, South Carolina.
  • Péter Tóth, an adjunct professor in Fairleigh Dickinson’s School of the Arts. 

They will join SIU piano faculty Junghwa Lee and Yuko Kato for the festival. 

A long wait

Lee, a professor of piano in the School of Music, said the success of the 2017 and 2019 biennial festivals brought excitement as community music students and their parents eagerly awaited word on last fall’s scheduled 2021 festival. But safety measures associated with the pandemic prompted the wait, she said.

“We are excited that we can bring guest artists back to campus as well as the community music students for the master classes to be conducted by SIU's own piano faculty,” she said.

Lee and Kato, an associate professor and keyboard area coordinator at SIU, will also be hosting master classes and recitals.

Concert/workshop/master class schedule

The lectures, recitals and workshops will be at Old Baptist Foundation Recital Hall, except where noted.

Oct. 2

  • 2 p.m. — Matthew Bengtson lecture.
  • 3 p.m. — Bengtson guest recital.

Oct. 4

  • 4:15 p.m. —Marina Lomazov workshop.

Oct. 5

  • 5 p.m. — Lomazov guest recital.

Nov. 2

  • 6 p.m. — Péter Tóth lecture.
  • 7 p.m. — Tóth guest recital.

Dec. 2

  • 4:30 p.m. — Altgeld Hall, Room 110, Yuko Kato master class.
  • 7 p.m. — Old Baptist Foundation Recital Hall, Junghwa Lee recital.
  • 8:30 p.m. — Altgeld Hall, Room 110, Lee master class.

The deadline for students who are interested in participating in Dec. 2 master class sessions to notify the School of Music is Sept. 30.  Registration information and the complete festival schedule is available on the festival website. For additional information on the festival, contact Lee at