The Catholic University of America

June 26, 2013

Washington International Piano Festival Offers Summer Concerts

The 5th Annual Washington International Piano Festival (WIPF) will offer a week of classical piano music concerts this summer on the campus of The Catholic University of America and at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts from Sunday, July 28, to Saturday, Aug. 3.

More than 60 faculty, guest-artists, and participants from around the world are expected at this year’s festival. All recitals, concerts, lectures, workshops, auditions, and master classes — which are open to the public — are held at the University’s Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, Ward Recital Hall, except on Aug. 1 and 2, when two performances are set for the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage.

The Washington International Piano Festival is the first and only such festival in Washington, D.C. It was founded in 2009 by CUA’s piano faculty members Nikita Fitenko and Ivo Kaltchev. During the festival, an intensive educational program for piano students, piano teachers, and piano amateurs is combined with a concert series presented by world-class classical pianists. All participants will have use of three new concert grand pianos at CUA’s Ward Hall — a 9-foot Steinway, a 9-foot Blüthner, and a 9-foot handcrafted CFX Yamaha.

“We’re proud to bring such a successful international event to the University,” said Ivo Kaltchev, associate professor and head of the music school’s piano division. Although the festival includes concerts by professional pianists, education is its primary goal.

“We want to inspire participants to careers in music and piano,” said Kaltchev. “They meet professionals, learn from great teachers, and hear world-class performances.”

Planning for such an event takes months, said Nikita Fitenko, associate professor of piano. “It is a lot of work, but it is part of what we do at the University. Every year, on the last day of the festival, I want to cry, but these are tears of happiness. I’m so tired, and so proud.”

Participants may work one-on-one in private lessons and may perform in and attend recitals, educational workshops, lectures, and master classes that focus on both piano solo and piano ensemble repertoire. Auditions — free and open to the public — to perform in two concerts at the Millennium Stage will be held Tuesday, July 30, from 1 to 6 p.m., in Ward Recital Hall on CUA's campus.

The participants come from around the world and are of all different ages and skill levels. “Teaching piano is a unique type of teaching,” Fitenko said. “Each person has different needs and the teacher must respond to those needs. I am challenged to give the best I can give to that person.” Kaltchev added, “We can teach without speaking the students’ native language. We use the language of music to demonstrate what we’re looking for.”

Other performance opportunities are the Young Pianist Showcase concerts, featuring young pianists living and studying in the Washington, D.C., area who are prizewinners of local, national, and international piano competitions. The festival is cosponsored by Yamaha Co., Jordan Kitts Music Co., the Steinway Piano Gallery of Washington, and Catholic University.

The Young Pianist Showcase concerts are unique to this festival, said Kaltchev, who added that the chance to also perform at the Kennedy Center is a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” “We want to attract and motivate teachers and students who may have never been to other festivals,” he added. The Kennedy Center will include both solo and piano ensemble music. These performances will be webcast live at

Ticket prices to each day (except free admission as noted) are $20 for adults; $10 for seniors and students; and free admission for CUA students with valid student ID. Tickets for any of the Young Pianist Showcase Concerts also give admission to the evening piano recital on the same day.

Tickets to all events can be purchased at the door or reserved by emailing For more information, see

The festival schedule is as follows:

Recitals/Concerts: Sunday, July 28: • Young Pianist Showcase: Students of Elena Arseniev, 6:45 p.m.
                                                      • Alessio Bax, first prize winner at Leeds and Hamamatsu
                                                        International piano competition, recipient of Avery Fisher
                                                        Career Grant, 7:30 p.m.

                             Monday, July 29: • Young Pianist Showcase: Students of Bok Hwa Kim, 6:45 p.m.
                                                       • WIPF Faculty Recital, 7:30 p.m.

                             Tuesday, July 30: • Young Pianist Showcase: prizewinners of the 2013
                                                          International Young Artist Piano Competition, 6:45 p.m.
                                                        • Brian Ganz, 7:30 p.m.

                            Wednesday, July 31: • Adult Pianist Showcase Concert, 6:45 p.m.
                                                           • Tanya Gabrielian, winner at the Scottish International,
                                                             Sydney International, Aram Khachaturyan International,
                                                             and Bosendorfer International Piano competitions, 7:30

                           Thursday and Friday, Aug. 1 and 2: Concerts of selected WIPF participants at
                                                     John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Millennium
                                                     Stage, 6 p.m. (Free admission each day.) Auditions (free and open
                                                     to the public) will be held on Tuesday, July 30, in Ward Recital Hall.

                           Saturday, Aug. 3: • Closing concert of WIPF participants, 11 a.m. (Free
                                                      • Yekwon Sunwoo, first prize winner of the 2012 William
                                                         Kapell International Piano Competition, 4 p.m.

Lectures/Master classes: Monday, July 29: 10 a.m.., Alessio Bax, piano master class
                                       Tuesday, July 30: 10 a.m., Ingbert Blüthner-Haessler,“The development of
                                             the German piano industry in the 19th century”
                                       Wednesday, July 31: Scott McBride Smith, two piano pedagogy
                                             workshops: 10 a.m. “Musical Punctuation and the Art of Interpretation”;
                                             11 a.m. “Fingering: An Underappreciated Art.”
                                       Thursday, Aug. 1: 10 a.m., Scott McBride Smith, piano master class
                                        Friday, Aug. 4: 10 a.m., Brian Ganza, piano master class


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