An invitation from Awadagin Pratt, founder of the Art of the Piano Festival …

Back in the 1800’s, legendary pianist Franz Liszt invited talented pianists to join him wherever he happened to be in the world at that time – for masterclasses. Sometimes people showed up uninvited and were welcomed. All teaching was done publicly so everyone could learn from their peers. 

Many admire LIszt for his virtuosity, revolutionary technique etc. But his greatest gift to the world was probably his generosity. Any piece he liked, by any composer, he would transcribe for the piano: opera, symphony, song cycle… Not simply, as many think, to show off his skills, but more to show off – and share – the composer. 

In 2011, during the year’s long celebration of Liszt’s 200th birthday, I took inspiration from him to start the Art of the Piano Festival. We have become one of the most highly regarded and prestigious festivals for young pianists. They come from all over the world: China, Korea, Italy, Germany, France and Poland to South Africa, Vietnam, New Zealand, and Australia. From Curtis, CCM and Juilliard to Indiana Wesleyan, we find the best. 

We follow the model of Liszt in that all teaching is done in masterclasses, so all students can learn all the time. And we also follow Liszt in that EVERYTHING is free for our young artists. We house them, and there’s no tuition. 

You, the listening public, receive not only the benefit of experiencing the classes, you also get to hear recitals performed by the first rank of pianists in the world: Russell Sherman, Barry Douglas, Olga Kern, Vladimir Feltsman, Sergei Babayan, Leon Fleisher, Garrick Ohlsson, Jeffrey Kahane, and other faculty worldwide. However, our lasting legacy will be the gift of hearing our young artists, who will be the superstars of the coming decades. 

We had planned a live 10th anniversary for 2020 that included illustrious artists, a new collaboration with the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, and many other cool opportunities. However, we quickly took stock of and recognized the situation, and chose to present the “first” 10th anniversary of the Art of the Piano OnLive! (We will have our second 10th anniversary next year, truly live!)

Our series of free concerts is streamed at We continue until July 26.

The artists are appearing live for discussion of their pre-recorded performances. There are also Q&As for our young artists, and for those who make donations to help offset the cost of paying these artists (and for the behind-the-scenes bits and bytes making it possible!) 🙂

Our young artists play every Friday; please put these on your calendar as well. You will be able to say, “I heard him/her when…” 

We have already enjoyed Garrick Ohlsson, with Chopin, Prokofiev and Brahms; Alexander Korsantia with his riveting arrangement of the “Rite of Spring” for solo piano (and drums!!!!); Simone Dinnerstein in a preview of her upcoming album of Schubert and Phillip Glass; and Victor Rosenbaum with an enlightening conversation about the art of interpretation. We will continue with William Naboré (who has taught a number of competition winners all over the world: Van Cliburn and Chopin competitions, etc.) discussing the best ways to practice artistry; Vladimir Feltsman, a favorite over the years for his illuminating performances and teaching; and we will close with our first visit with Jeffrey Kahane, and our third visit with the ever-popular Olga Kern.  

Don’t miss the rest of the Art of the Piano OnLive.

A full schedule and donation details are on the website, but please mark your calendars for …

  • Saturday, July 18, 2 p.m. EDT | A VISIT WITH WILLIAM NABORÉ

“Efficient Practice with an Ear Towards Artistry and Spirituality”: lecture and discussion

  • Sunday, July 19, 4 p.m. EDT | A VISIT WITH VLADIMIR FELTSMAN

“Improvisation and Fantasie, Haydn and Schumann”: performance and discussion

  • Saturday, July 25, 8 p.m. EDT | A VISIT WITH JEFFREY KAHANE

Schubert: Sonata in B-flat Major, D. 960

  • Sunday, July 26, time TBA | A VISIT WITH OLGA KERN

Our in-person audience had grown from under 10 to 200 through 2019, including people who travel to Cincinnati for the event. Now, with OnLive, we are reaching a worldwide audience – more than could possibly fit in a concert hall. It’s amazing. 

The festival has also developed some fantastic key partnerships.  Each year an Enlight Prize – together with a recital on the local Salon 21 Series – goes to the Young Artist who most embodies the spirit of the festival in terms of the beauty and brilliance of their playing, as well as their generosity of spirit. A runner up is also selected. Next year we hope to build, as well, on a promising collaboration with Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. 

Please join us OnLive for the rest of 2020, and look for us LIVE for our second 10th anniversary in 2021.


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