NACOGDOCHES, TEXAS - East Texas piano enthusiasts can take in a weekend of outstanding piano performances as international pianists compete for almost $13,000 in prize money during the George and Peggy Schmidbauer Young Artist Competition to be held on Saturday, Jan. 23, and Sunday, Jan. 24, in Cole Concert Hall on the Stephen F. Austin State University.
The competition, presented by the SFA College of Fine Arts and School of Music, alternates each year between piano and string players, explained Dr. John Noel Roberts, director of the SFA School of Music. "We are extremely grateful for the Schmidbauers' continued generosity that enables us to bring these accomplished 18- to 27-year-olds to East Texas."
The 10 semi-finalists-chosen from the entire pool of applicants and representing six countries-will each play a 30-minute program between either 9 a.m. and noon or 1:30 and 4 p.m., with five-minute intervals between performances. The public is welcome to come and go during those breaks. Admission is free.
The judges will choose three of the contestants for the finals round that will begin at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. The first place winner will receive $5,000 and a $2,500 concert engagement with SFA's Orchestra of the Pines. Second place will receive $3,000, and third place, $2,000.
Tickets to the finals round are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $5 for students. These can be purchased at the door or in advance by calling (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS.
In conjunction with the competition, internationally recognized pianist Richard Dowling will give a guest artist recital featuring music by Frèdèric Chopin and George Gershwin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Cole Concert Hall.
"We are pleased to add Mr. Dowling's performance to the competition weekend," said Dr. Andrew Parr, SFA professor of piano and the competition's director. "Our patrons will remember him both as a soloist and for his recitals with cellist Evan Drachman, given under the auspices of the Piatagorsky Foundation."
Admission to Dowling's recital is free.
Cole Concert Hall is located within the Tom and Peggy Wright Music Building, 2210 Alumni Dr.