During the winter months, when tourists and snow birds flock to South Florida, the arts calendar is filled with theater, music and dance performances; but once Passover and Easter pass, a little culture can be scarce. Fortunately, for classical music lovers, spring and early summer offer several opportunities for musical edification:
Dranoff 2 Piano Competition
This week, the Dranoff 2 Piano Competition offers audiences a rarely heard opportunity to enjoy the best piano duos from around the world. The four-day semi-final round — the culmination of an 18-month competition cycle — will take place May 11 – 14 at Gusman Hall at the University of Miami, 1314 Miller Drive, Coral Gables, Florida. The finals will be held on May 16.
Competing for more than $50,000 in prize money will be eight piano duos from Russia, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Romania and Germany. The semi-finalists were all selected in preliminary auditions held last December in Hannover, Germany; Beijing, China; and Chicago, Ill.
Artists must prepare four hours of repertoire for four rounds of competition, as well as a newly commissioned composition, this year by Berkeley, Calif. Composer Gabriela Lena Frank. In the past, the Dranoff has commissioned works from notable composers including John Corigliano, Morton Gould and Lowell Lieberman.
Reflecting on her work, Seis Cantos de los Campos (Songs from the Countryside), Frank said, “It has given me the opportunity to explore the relationship of duo pianos, integrating their individual expression into a single piece. At the same time, I have considered the unique musicality of each of the competitors.”
Formerly known as the Murray Dranoff Foundation, the Dranoff International 2 Piano Foundation was established in 1987 by the late pianist and educator Loretta Dranoff, in memory of her husband and performance partner. Loretta and Murray were a highly sought-after piano team from 1946 to 1973. In forming the Foundation, Loretta sought to invigorate international interest in two-piano repertoire and artists, assist with young artist career development, and contribute to the community through innovative outreach programs.
Tickets and competition schedule are available at Dranoff2Piano.org.
Mainly Mozart Festival
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was arguably one of the greatest composers and the Mainly Mozart Festival in Coral Gables celebrates the works of the musical genius, May 12 – June 16. In its 20th year, the festival features a series of chamber music performances at the Coral Gables Museum, 285 Aragon Ave., by leading regional ensembles, including the Delray Quartet.
This year, the festival concludes with a concert at the University of Miami’s Gusman Concert Hall, 1314 Miller Dr. in Coral Gables, and featuring the piano trio of Marina Radiushina, Eli Matthews, and Joshua Roman in a varied program which runs the gamut of musical expression. They will tackle works by Janacek, Piazzolla, Schnittke and de Falla, in addition to Mozart. Musicologist Frank Cooper provides commentary on some of the most expressive and evocative music.
Series tickets (five concerts) are $100 and individual concerts are $20 at MainlyMozart.com.
Symphony of the Americas Summerfest
The Symphony of the Americas, Broward County’s resident professional orchestra, hosts Summerfest each year in July, along with a visiting guest orchestra. This year, Musici Estensi Chamber Orchestra will present concerts in Broward and Palm Beach Counties, July 13 – Aug. 3, under the batons of founding artistic director Carlo Taffuri and Symphony of the Americas’ Maestro James Brooks-Bruzzese.
Symphony of the Americas musicians, including soloists flutist Marilyn Maingart and pianist Renee LaBonte, left for Italy this week for performances at Palazzo Barolo Barolo and Turin, May 21-29, before returning with their Italian counterparts for the South Florida festival, which is sponsored by American Airlines, and includes 10 concerts.
“Summerfest has become a major program for the Symphony (of the Americas),” said Brooks-Bruzzese. “Each year, we participate in a wonderful musical exchange with some of the most talented musicians in the world and bring them right here to South Florida.”
In addition to the busy Summerfest schedule, the Symphony will travel to Brooks-Bruzzese’s birthplace, Panama, as the featured orchestra at the Alba Music Festival, July 21 – 28.
For a complete schedule of Summerfest concerts and tickets, go to SymphonyOfTheAmericas.org. JW Arnold