The Catholic University of America

July 7, 2014

Music School to Host Washington International Piano Festival

Piano students and teachers from around the world will gather for a week of classical music during the 6th Annual Washington International Piano Festival (WIPF), to be held later this month on the campus of The Catholic University of America and at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

The festival will take place from July 27 to Aug. 3 and feature performances, master classes, and lectures by guest artists and young musicians, and two performances at the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center. All events will be open to the public.

The festival will also include the first annual Catholic University International Piano Competition in which participants will compete for the chance to perform as part of CUA’s International Piano Series next year.

WIPF was founded in 2009 by CUA piano faculty members Nikita Fitenko and Ivo Kaltchev as a way to raise awareness of the University’s piano program.

“We want to make the University more visible around the world so we offer this week of training, master classes, lectures, lessons, and recitals every day for one week,” said Fitenko, associate professor of piano. “People enter the program, they see the University, they see the quality of instruction that we provide, they see the campus and the city, and they decide to apply for one of the programs.”

A particular highlight of the festival is the partnership with the Kennedy Center. Every year, a few festival participants are selected to perform on the center’s Millennium Stage. The concerts are broadcast live online and remain in the Kennedy Center’s online archives for years to come.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for young adults to perform at a prestigious institution,” said Kaltchev, associate professor and head of the music school’s piano division. “That’s a big deal for any musician to be featured there and in their archives, something not every festival can offer.”

CUA sophomore Mingke Zhu, a piano major from China, attended the Washington International Piano Festival as a high school student in 2011. She enjoyed the experience so much that she decided to enroll at the University.

“During the festival, you can obtain a number of high-quality master classes from different musicians, and enjoy professional piano concerts every beautiful night,” Zhu said. “After this piano festival, I [couldn’t] wait to study here, because the professional piano skills of professors and the teaching conceptions of the school attracted me. I recommend this Washington International Piano Festival to young piano players, because it is a good opportunity for them to improve their music accomplishments.”

This year, Kaltchev said more than 35 musicians are expected to participate in WIPF, coming from as far away as Korea, Japan, and China. Many of those students are college or high school students, but all ages and skill levels are welcome.

“Every summer, we have a wonderful group and it’s always a great week of music-making together,” Fitenko said. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s something that pays off. It’s a fantastic international project.”

This year’s festival will include:
John O’Conor, Sunday, July 27, 7:30 p.m., Ward Recital Hall
Chongxiao Liu and Wei Gong Piano Duo, Monday, July 28, 7:30 p.m., Ward Recital Hall
Ralitza Patcheva, Wednesday, July 30, 7:30 p.m., Ward Recital Hall
Yoshio Hamano, Thursday, July 31, 7:30 p.m., Ward Recital Hall
Santiago Rodriguez, Sunday, Aug. 3, 7:30 p.m., Ward Recital Hall

John O’Conor, Monday, July 28, 10 a.m. to noon, Ward Recital Hall
Round table discussion, “Getting a Piano Degree in the United States,” Wednesday, July 30, 11 a.m. to noon, John Paul Hall
Douglas Humpherys, Friday, Aug. 1, 10 a.m. to noon, Ward Recital Hall
Santiago Rodriguez, Saturday, Aug. 2, 10 a.m. to noon, Ward Recital Hall

Young pianist showcase concerts, featuring prizewinners of international, national, regional, and local competitions, Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday, July 27 to 30, 6:45 p.m., Ward Recital Hall
Auditions for The Catholic University of America First Annual Piano Competition, Tuesday, July 29, 7 to 10 p.m., Ward Recital Hall
Adult pianist showcase concert, featuring adult pianists participating in the festival, Thursday, July 31, 6:45 p.m.
Concerts of selected 2014 WIPF participants, including both solo and piano ensemble music from WIPF participants, Friday, Aug. 1, and Saturday, Aug. 2, 6 p.m., John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Millennium Stage. Admission is free and concerts will be webcast online at
Award ceremony and concert, featuring The Catholic University of America Piano Competition winners, Sunday, Aug. 3, 3:15 p.m., Ward Recital Hall
Closing concert of the 2014 WIPF participants, Sunday, Aug. 3, 11 a.m., Ward Recital Hall.

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




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