January 15, 2020
The Gilmore Presents 15th Biennial Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, April 22 – May 10, 2020

Festival highlights include:

Piano recitals and concerto performances by most recently named Gilmore Artist Igor Levit, Sergei Babayan, Kristian Bezuidenhout, Jonathan Biss, Yefim Bronfman, Michael Brown, Angela Hewitt, Evgeny Kissin, Maria João Pires, Beatrice Rana, Orli Shaham, Lori Sims, Alexandre Tharaud, Alexander Ullman, and 2020 Gilmore Young Artists Misha Galant and Maxim Lando, among others

Maria João Pires’s first Partitura Residency in the U.S., comprising nine days of workshops and concerts promoting cooperation and social engagement among pianists 

Performances featuring ensembles Apollo’s Fire Baroque Orchestra; Trio Solisti; piano duo ZOFO; the Battle Creek, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lansing, and Grand Rapids Symphonies; and the Gilmore Festival Chamber Orchestra

Chamber jazz from groups led by pianists Jon Batiste, Emmet Cohen, Aaron Diehl, Sullivan Fortner, Fred Hersch, and Pablo Ziegler, as well as 3Divas, Fox Wolf Duo, Svetlana & The Delancey Five, and TRI-FI piano trio

Additional artists including Renée Fleming, Igudesman & Joo,  Pink Martini, and thereminist-pianist Rob Schwimmer

KALAMAZOO, MICHIGAN (January 15, 2020) — The Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, which is presented biennially in Kalamazoo, is the largest gathering of keyboard artists in North America, this year including nearly 40 pianists in more than 100 concerts and events from Wednesday, April 22 to Sunday, May 10. Staging the festival for the 15th time, The Gilmore continues its commitment to showcasing the keyboard through a wide variety of programming—from solo and concerto performances by most recently named Gilmore Artist Igor Levit; to chamber jazz by Late Show bandleader Jon Batiste; to the inspiring educational work of pianist Maria João Pires, which she brings to the U.S. for the first time. The festival’s diverse performance schedule is complemented by an extensive series of master classes, pre-concert talks, film screenings, and lectures, as well as an interactive, public art installation. Among those leading master classes are Igor Levit, Yefim Bronfman, and Beatrice Rana. The festival experience is further enriched by its unique setting in West Michigan, characterized by rolling countryside filled with orchards, wineries, art galleries and farmers markets, as well as the natural beauty of nearby Lake Michigan.

Gilmore Director Pierre van der Westhuizen said:

“This year’s festival was designed to demonstrate how incredibly flexible a piano can be, and how well it has adapted to the evolution of music over the centuries. To that end, we have a wide range of artists and ensembles using a keyboard in different ways, from Mozart’s works played on a pianoforte, to thoroughly contemporary compositions performed by a jazz trio. We’re also marking the 250th birthday of Beethoven, so you’ll see his works woven through a great deal of the classical programming.”

Tickets may be purchased online at thegilmore.org, by phone at (269) 359-7311, or in person at the Gilmore box office, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall.

Click here for a full list of festival concerts and performances.


In the week leading up to Opening Night, The Gilmore presents two pre-festival performances. Pianist Evgeny Kissin gives a recital with soprano Renée Fleming on Wednesday, April 15 at Chenery Auditorium, one of only a few U.S. appearances by the duo. The program features Mr. Kissin performing solo repertoire and with Ms. Fleming in works by Schubert, Liszt, Debussy, and Duparc. On Sunday, April 19, pianist Orli Shaham, a 1995 Gilmore Young Artist, appears in a pre-festival performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor and Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor with the Grand Rapids Symphony, led by Music Director Marcelo Lehningerat DeVos Performance Hall in Grand Rapids, MI. The program also features Ms. Shaham performing a work for solo piano— Beethoven’s 32 Variations in C minor.

The festival opens on Wednesday, April 22 at the Parish Theatre with a performance by Grammy Award-winning tango jazz pianist Pablo Ziegler.



The 2020 festival features solo recitals by nine of today’s leading pianists, including 2018 Gilmore Artist Igor Levit. Additionally, three recitals each will be given by 2020 Gilmore Young Artists Misha Galant and Maxim Lando.

In celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday, The Gilmore presents three recitals of the composer’s piano sonatas performed by three leading interpreters of his music. Yefim Bronfman, who has recorded Beethoven’s complete piano concertos, gives the first recital on Saturday, April 25 at Chenery Auditorium. The program comprises the three Op. 10 sonatas and the Sonata in F minor, Op. 57 (“Appassionata”).

On Sunday, May 3 at West Michigan University’s Dalton Center Recital Hall, Jonathan Biss, a 2002 Gilmore Young Artist, continues his decade-long Beethoven immersion with a recital comprising the Sonatas Op. 2, No. 2 in A major; Op. 31, No. 1 in G major; Op. 90 in E minor; and Op. 110 in A-flat major. Mr. Biss has devoted virtually his entire season to recitals of the Beethoven piano sonatas, a recording cycle of which he recently completed. This month, he also released the final lectures in his Coursera lecture survey of these works, titled Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas. Mr. Biss’s recital is preceded by a Beethoven lecture at Dalton Hall on Saturday, May 2.

Beethoven’s longest—and arguably most difficult—sonata, the “Hammerklavier,” is among those featured on the Friday, May 8 recital program by Igor Levit, whose 2019 box set of the complete Beethoven piano sonatas was hailed as “probing, elegant and exciting” by The New York Times and named “Classical Album of the Year” by the London Times. In addition to achieving recognition as one of the world’s premier Beethoven interpreters, Mr. Levit is the 2019 recipient of the International Beethoven Prize, bestowed annually by the Beethoven Academy in Bonn to one who champions equality, freedom, peace, and human rights—values embodied in the music and life of Beethoven. Beyond the “Hammerklavier” Sonata (Op. 106 in B-flat major), the upcoming program at Kalamazoo College’s Stetson Chapel also includes the Sonatas Op. 14, No. 2 in G major and Op. 22 in B-flat major.

Igor Levit: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

Beethoven: "Piano Sonata No. 14 'Moonlight,' I. Adagio sostenuto"
Beethoven: "Piano Sonata No. 10, II. Andante"
Beethoven: "Bagatelle in A minor, 'Fur Elise'"

On Sunday, April 26, attendees will hear the music of Beethoven’s predecessors as listeners in the 18th century would have heard it—on the fortepiano—as played by Kristian Bezuidenhout, one of the world’s leading artists in the field of historical keyboard performance. In a program at Stetson Chapel, he performs Haydn’s Variations in F minor, Hob. XVII:6 and Mozart’s Sonata No. 7 in C major, K. 309/284b; Sonata No. 14 in C minor, K. 457; Rondo in A minor, K. 511; and Fantasia in C minor, K. 475. Mr. Bezuidenhout is a regular guest of such leading period-performance ensembles as Les Arts Florissants and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and has collaborated with John Eliot Gardiner, Philippe Herreweghe, Trevor Pinnock, Anne Sofie von Otter, and Mark Padmore, among others. He is Artistic Director of the Freiburger Barockorchester and Principal Guest Conductor of the English Concert.

Pianist Alexander Ullman, winner of the 2017 International Franz Liszt Piano Competition, pairs the music of Haydn with his student Beethoven, including the latter’s Sonata Op. 53 (“Waldstein”), at the Wellspring Theater on Monday, April 27. In his young career, he has already given recitals at some of the world’s leading concert halls, including London’s Wigmore Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Leipzig’s Gewandhaus, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, and Washington DC’s Kennedy Center. He arrives in Kalamazoo after having just performed a chamber recital at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall.

The festival presents two recitals devoted to the Baroque repertoire—each reflecting different aspects of the era. Pianist and renowned Bach interpreter Angela Hewitt brings to Kalamazoo her recital series “A Bach Odyssey,” which launched in 2016 and encompasses Bach’s complete keyboard works. At Dalton Hall on Tuesday, April 28, she performs Bach’s Four Duets, BWV 802–805; Eighteen Little Preludes; Fantasia and Fugue in A minor, BWV 944; French Overture in B minor, BWV 831; and Italian Concerto in F major, BWV 971. “A Bach Odyssey” builds on Ms. Hewitt’s decades-long engagement with this repertoire, including a cycle of Bach recordings covering all of the composer’s major works for keyboard.

On Friday, May 1, pianist Alexandre Tharaud performs his recital program “Music From the Grand Court of Versailles,” which focuses on the French Baroque tradition. Mr. Tharaud also champions this repertoire on his November 2019 album Versailles, having previously won wide acclaim—including ECHO Klassik and Diapason d’Or awards—for his disc devoted to the works of Baroque composer Domenico Scarlatti. His program at Dalton Hall features works by Lully, Couperin, Royer, Rameau, Balbastre, and Duphly.

The festival’s solo recital series takes a Romantic turn with pianist Sergei Babayan’s all-Chopin program on Thursday, April 30. Recently praised by The New York Times for the “full-blown dual virtuosity” of his Carnegie Hall performance with former student Daniil Trifonov, Mr. Babayan takes the stage at Dalton Hall to explore Chopin’s reinvention of the traditional Polish mazurka. He performs 18 of the composer’s 58 published works in this genre, as well as a further selection of contrasting Chopin miniatures.

Recognized as “a compelling storyteller” (The Guardian) with a “commanding, innate musicality” (Los Angeles Times), pianist Beatrice Rana explores a selection of works spanning centuries on Wednesday, May 6 at Stetson Chapel. Ms. Rana, who was a 2015 BBC Next Generation Artist and Gramophone’s 2017 “Young Artist of the Year,” performs Bach’s Italian Concerto in F major, BWV 971; Schumann’s Grand Sonata No. 3 in F minor (Concerto without Orchestra), Op. 14; Albéniz’s Iberia; and Stravinsky’s Trois mouvements de Pétrouchka, which appears on her latest album.

Master classes are given by Yefim Bronfman, Kristian Bezuidenhout, and Alexandre Tharaud at Dalton Hall, and by Beatrice Rana and Igor Levit at the Wellspring Theater the day following each of their recitals. Each is free and open to the public.

2020 Gilmore Young Artists Misha Galant (left) and Maxim Lando (right)

There will also be several opportunities to hear 2020 Gilmore Young Artists Misha Galant and Maxim Lando performing recitals in Kalamazoo and neighboring communities in West Michigan. Misha Galant, multiple prize-winner at the first Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition and the Eastman Young Artists International Competition, performs Chopin’s Preludes Op. 28 and Rachmaninoff’s Études-tableaux, Op. 39 at Stetson Chapel on Thursday, April 23; Bach’s Toccata in C minor, BWV 911, Rachmaninoff’s Études-tableaux, Op. 39, and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition at First United Methodist Church (South Haven, MI) on Friday, April 24; and a reprise of the latter program at First Congregational Church (Battle Creek, MI) on Sunday, April 26.

Maxim Lando, who made his orchestral debut at age 14 with Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra and has since won the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, performs Liszt’s Transcendental Études, S. 139 at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts (Saugatuck, MI) on Sunday, April 26; the Franke Center for the Arts (Marshall, MI) on Friday, May 1; and Stetson Chapel on Monday, May 4. This past November, Mr. Lando was praised by The New York Times for the “stamina and brilliance” with which he performed these etudes in his New York recital debut at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall.



The 2020 festival brings an international cast of pianists together with six orchestras from across the state of Michigan. A major highlight is Igor Levit’s performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra on Sunday, May 10. This all-Beethoven concert at Chenery Auditorium takes place a couple days after Mr. Levit’s Beethoven sonata recital at Stetson Chapel (see above), and together the two programs demonstrate the breadth of his abilities as an interpreter of the composer’s music—from its most intimate to its most grandiose. One of Mr. Levit’s recent performances of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3—with Michael Tilson Thomas and the Vienna Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall—was described by The New York Times as “ruminative yet purposeful, unsettling yet assured.” The May 10 program, conducted by KSO Music Director Julian Kuerti, also includes the Overture to Egmont and Symphony No. 7 and is part of The Gilmore’s Beethoven 250 celebration.

Igor Levit / Mannheimer Philharmoniker
Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3, 3rd mvt.

A different tribute to Beethoven takes place on Wednesday, May 6 at Dalton Hall, where pianist-composer Michael Brown joins the Gilmore Festival Chamber Orchestra in the world premiere of his Beethoven-inspired Concerto for Piano and Strings, co-commissioned by The Gilmore. He also performs Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 1. Winner of the 2018 Emerging Artist Award from Lincoln Center and a 2015 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Mr. Brown has composed on commission from a variety of artists and institutions, including conductor Osmo Vänskä, Concert Artists Guild, and the New Haven Symphony, where he was Artist-in-Residence from 2017 to 2019. On the same program, Western Michigan University piano professor Lori Sims performs Schnittke’s Concerto for Piano and Strings. The orchestra is made up of musicians from the Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo Symphonies, whose music directors conduct the program. The KSO’s Julian Kuerti conducts the world premiere by Michael Brown and the Schnittke concerto, while the GRSO’s Marcelo Lehninger conducts the Shostakovich concerto.

On Tuesday, May 5 at Stetson Chapel, harpsichordist Jeanette Sorrell leads her Grammy Award-winning Baroque orchestra, Apollo’s Fire, from the keyboard in a program inspired by the raucous coffeehouse concerts led by Bach in 18th-century Leipzig. The ensemble performs Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos No. 4 & 5, Telemann’s Burlesque de Quixotte (selections), Handel’s Chaconne from Terpsichore, and Vivaldi’s La Folia in an arrangement by Ms. Sorrell. She gives a free master class the next day at Dalton Hall.

Additionally, there are three concerto performances by recent Gilmore Young Artists. First, at Potter Center in Jackson, MI, 2018 Gilmore Young Artist Elliot Wuu performs Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Jackson Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, April 25. The orchestra’s Music Director, Matthew Aubin, leads the performance.

The following week, on Saturday, May 2, recently named Gilmore Young Artist Misha Galant appears in Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with the Battle Creek Symphony, conducted by Artistic / Music Director Anne Harrigan, at W. K. Kellogg Auditorium in Battle Creek, MI. He has also performed this concerto with the Fort Worth Symphony and California Youth Symphony.

Fellow 2020 Gilmore Young Artist Maxim Lando performs Saint-Saëns’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Lansing Symphony Orchestra on Thursday, May 7. The concert takes place at East Lansing’s Wharton Center for Performing Arts, and LSO Music Director Timothy Muffitt conducts.



The 2020 festival includes three contrasting chamber music experiences, starting with a recital by Trio Solisti at Dalton Hall on Monday, April 27. Hailed as the “most exciting piano trio in America” by The New Yorker, the ensemble—comprising pianist Fabio Bidini, violinist Maria Bachmann, and cellist Alexis Pia Gerlach—traces the early development of the piano trio from Haydn’s Trio in E-flat major, Hob.XV:29, to Beethoven’s Trio in D major, Op. 70, No. 1 (“Ghost”), to Schumann’s Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 63.

Subsequently, on Tuesday, April 28, violinist Jinjoo Cho and pianist Lori Sims perform a recital at Kalamazoo’s Wellspring Theater comprising Clara Schumann’s Three Romances, Op. 22, Janáček’s Sonata 1.X.1905, and Beethoven’s Sonata No. 9 in A Major, Op. 47 (“Kreutzer”). Ms. Cho has won numerous competitions around the globe—from the U.S. to Canada to Argentina to China—and performed at top venues worldwide, including in orchestral and recital debuts at Carnegie Hall.

Pianists Eva-Maria Zimmerman and Keisuke Nakagoshi, who perform as the piano duo ZOFO, bring together music and dance with their concert at the Wellspring Theater on Thursday, April 30. Throughout the program, the duo alternates movements from Urmas Sisask’s The Spiral Symphony and a piano duet arrangement of Holst’s The Planets, along with David Lang’s gravity and selections from George Crumb’s Celestial Mechanics. The musical performance is complemented by the choreography of Kalamazoo-based dance company Wellspring/Cori Terry & Dancers.

Master classes are given by Fabio Bidini, Lori Sims, and ZOFO at Dalton Hall the day following each of their recitals. Each is free and open to the public.



Partitura Residency creator Maria João Pires with project collaborator Julien Brocal

For the 2020 festival, The Gilmore partners with pianist Maria João Pires to present her collaborative, interdisciplinary Partitura Residencyfor the first time in the U.S., from Friday, May 1 to Saturday, May 9, 2020.

In reaction to the hyper-competitiveness of today’s classical music world, Ms. Pires launched the Partiturainitiative in 2014 to promote cooperation and social engagement among pianists, principally through daily group sessions, public recitals, and concerts in the community. These activities—grouped together into a multi-day workshop—not only encompass in-depth musical work, but are also designed to encourage interaction between participants and with the public, offering an alternative to the traditional master class experience. Workshops have been held in countries across Europe—including Portugal, Belgium, France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and Croatia—as well as in Japan.

The nine-day workshop brings together Ms. Pires; project member and pianist Miloš Popović; Western Michigan University dance professor David Curwen, who provides an interdisciplinary perspective; and six participants chosen by application. Six days are dedicated to private group workshop activities, including a coaching and discussion session each morning. Ancillary activities are scheduled each evening and have in the past included lectures and film screenings. All workshop repertoire and activities are oriented around a unique theme, to be determined in advance of the workshop.

Following these six days, Ms. Pires and participants present a special concert that reaches those in the greater Kalamazoo community with little exposure to classical music. Previous Partituracommunity concerts have taken place at locations including hospitals, psychiatric facilities, and prisons. After an off-day for rehearsal, the workshop concludes in the concert hall with a public recital at Stetson Chapel on Saturday, May 9. The program features Ms. Pires and all workshop participants performing solo and duo repertoire.



The 2020 festival offers four distinctive jazz programs: Jazz Legend, which showcases some of today’s leading jazz artists; Jazz at Bell’s, a series of concerts held at Bell’s Eccentric Café in Kalamazoo; Jazz Club, where table seating in the “black box” space of Western Michigan University’s Williams Theatre creates an intimate, club-like setting; and Jazz at Noon, afternoon concerts that take place in Kalamazoo and Battle Creek.

In addition to kicking off the festival on Wednesday, April 22 at the Parish Theatre (see above), world-renowned tango jazz pianist Pablo Ziegler leads his trio—featuring Hector del Curto on the bandoneon and Claudio Ragazzi on the guitar—at Williams Theatre on Friday, April 24. Mr. Ziegler is recognized as a master of the nuevo tango style, having been a longtime collaborator of the artist who invented it, Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla. The Pablo Ziegler Trio’s 2017 album Jazz Tango won the Grammy Award for “Best Latin Jazz Album.”

Svetlana and the Delancey Five chart a different course, taking listeners back to the Prohibition era with a night of early jazz and swing music at Bell’s Eccentric Café on Thursday, April 23. The group was founded by New York-based jazz singer Svetlana amidst the swing culture revival and started out performing at the only remaining authentic speakeasy in New York, The Back Room. This “outstanding band” and its “exceptional vocalist and songwriter” (The Wall Street Journal) has since brought their vintage brand of jazz to audiences worldwide.

Early jazz remains the focus when pianist and 2011 Cole Porter Fellow Aaron Diehl leads his trio at Williams Theatre on Wednesday, April 29. Originally trained in the classical tradition, Mr. Diehl has become known as a leading interpreter of the Great American Songbook, and during the 2014–15 season he was Music Director for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s New Orleans Songbook series. He is equally adept performing in a jazz club as he is in a more traditional, concert hall setting—having gotten his start touring Europe with Wynton Marsalis’s septet, and having since performed the music of Gershwin with orchestras including the Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and New York Philharmonic.

Multi-instrumentalist, singer, composer, and Late Show with Stephen Colbert bandleader Jon Batiste takes the stage at Chenery Auditorium on Sunday, May 3. Named to Forbes’ “30 Under 30” musicians list in 2016, he has worked with a variety of artists—from Willie Nelson to Prince—and has performed on many of the world’s most prestigious stages, including Carnegie Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, and at the Grammy Awards. He is a recipient of the American Jazz Museum Lifetime Achievement Award and also serves as Music Director of The Atlantic and Creative Director of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem.

Jon Batiste performs “What A Wonderful World” on
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

For the remainder of the week, the festival’s jazz series is devoted almost exclusively to trio performances, starting with the Sullivan Fortner Trio on the afternoons of Monday, May 4 at Civic Auditorium in Kalamazoo and Tuesday, May 5 at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek. Grammy Award-winning pianist Sullivan Fortner has collaborated with artists ranging from Wynton Marsalis to Paul Simon and has appeared on the stages of Jazz at Lincoln Center and the Newport and Monterey Jazz Festivals, among others. The venues are reversed for Kalamazoo-based jazz ensemble TRI-FI, which performs at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation on Monday, May 4 and at Civic Auditorium on Wednesday, May 6. Praised by DownBeat for their “intimate group interplay” and “flawless intercommunication,” TRI-FI was formed in 2003 by pianist and winner of the Great American Jazz Piano Competition Matthew Fries, Grammy Award-winning bassist Phil Palombi, and drummer Keith Hall, who is on the jazz faculty of Western Michigan University.

On the evening of Monday, May 4, pianist, organist, composer, and educator Emmet Cohen leads his trio at Bell’s Eccentric Café. The most recent winner of the prestigious Cole Porter Fellowship, Mr. Cohen has performed at major jazz festivals around the world, as well as at such venues as the Village Vanguard, the Blue Note, Birdland, Jazz Standard, London's Ronnie Scott's, Jazzhaus Montmartre in Copenhagen, Lincoln Center's Rose Hall, the Cotton Club in Tokyo, and Washington DC's Kennedy Center.

Having come to jazz by way of classical music, pianist-composer Dan Tepfer brings his unique style to the festival with trio performances on Tuesday, May 5 at Civic Auditorium and Wednesday, May 6 at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. He has continued to blur the lines between jazz and classical throughout his career, as in his 2011 album Goldberg Variations / Variations, hailed by New York magazine as “elegant, thoughtful and thrilling.” His accolades, too, reflect the recognition he has achieved in both worlds; in addition to being named JazzTimes’ “Best New Artist” and DownBeat’s “Rising Star Pianist,” he has also received a Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a MacDowell Fellowship and residency at the MacDowell Colony.

Described by Vanity Fair as “the most arrestingly innovative pianist in jazz over the last decade,” Fred Hersch is joined by his trio, including bassist John Hébert and drummer Eric McPherson, for an evening performance at Stetson Chapel on Thursday, May 7. A 15-time Grammy nominee, Mr. Hersch has regularly garnered jazz’s most prestigious awards, including recent distinctions as a 2016 Doris Duke Artist, 2016 and 2018 Jazz Pianist of the Year from the Jazz Journalists Association, and the 2017 Prix Honorem de Jazz from L’Acádemie Charles Cros for the totality of his career.

The festival concludes its afternoon jazz concerts with a pair of performances each by 3Divas and the Fox Wolf Duo. Praised by The New Yorker for “swing[ing] standards with enviable panache,” 3Divas performs at Civic Auditorium on Thursday, May 7 and at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation on Friday, May 8. Formed by drummer Sherrie Maricle, bassist Amy Shook, and pianist Jackie Warren in 2014, the group has since toured widely around the U.S. In summer 2020, the members of 3Divas will be artists-in-residence at Maryland Summer Jazz.

The Fox Wolf Duo, meanwhile, gives performances blending jazz and classical repertoire on Thursday, May 7 at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Friday, May 8 at Civic Auditorium. The duo comprises longtime collaborators Donal Fox—a pianist, composer, arranger, Guggenheim Fellow, and the first African-American composer-in-residence with the St. Louis Symphony—and Warren Wolf, a percussionist and multi-instrumentalist who has studied classical music with members of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, studied jazz at the Berklee College of Music, and has since collaborated with such artists as Esperanza Spalding, Kevin Eubanks, and Wynton Marsalis and The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, among others.

Master classes are given by Aaron Diehl on Thursday, April 30 and TRI-FI’s Matthew Fries on Tuesday, May 5 at Dalton Hall. Each is free and open to the public.



Beyond the Partitura Residencyand the festival’s core lineup of performances, The Gilmore presents a variety of additional programming designed to further enhance attendees’ appreciation for the keyboard and all of the ways it can be used to enrich our lives.

New to the festival this season is the inclusion of a public art installation that will be on display at the Jolliffe Theatre from Monday, May 4 to Wednesday, May 6. Titled Oscillators, the installation features pendulums created from the keys of a de-constructed piano. Visitors are encouraged to set the pendulums in motion, which will create musical chords and a dramatic effect of light and dark within the space. Oscillators is an original work created for the Festival by Intermedio, a group of artists, designers, and musicians who specialize in immersive environments, performances, and interactive installations. Oscillators is free and open to the public.

Oscillators by Intermedio

Another one-of-a-kind experience is offered by Rob Schwimmer, who pairs the piano with the theremin and a more recently invented instrument, the Haken Continuum, in recital at the Wellspring Theater on Saturday, May 2. The Haken Continuum is an electronic keyboard instrument whose flat surface allows a performer to play along a continuous pitch spectrum, ‘in between the keys,’ and Mr. Schwimmer has recorded on the instrument in sessions with Esperanza Spalding and Paul Simon. Also one of the world’s top theremin virtuosos, he has worked with Laurie Anderson, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Bette Midler, Wayne Shorter, and Stevie Wonder, among many other leading artists.

Rob Schwimmer performs Scriabin’s Feuillet d'Album on Haken Continuum

Founded and led by keyboardist Thomas Lauderdale, genre-bending supergroup Pink Martini has been a regular at the festival since 2012. The band, featuring vocalist China Forbes, returns on Friday, May 8, performing its characteristic blend of classical, jazz, and pop at Chenery Auditorium. Pink Martini’s season also includes concerts at Washington DC’s Kennedy Center and London’s Royal Albert Hall.

The festival offers ‘comedic relief’ in the form of Igudesman & Joo—violinist Aleksey Igudesman and pianist Hyung-ki Joo—whose shows have entertained millions around the world. In addition to performing their unique brand of musical comedy at venues from Carnegie Hall to Vienna’s Musikverein, and with orchestras including the Los Angeles and New York Philharmonics, the duo is also an internet sensation, their videos having garnered more than 45 million views on YouTube. Igudesman & Joo perform their program “Play It Again” on Saturday, May 9 at the Kalamazoo State Theatre.

Musical theater and film presentations add further variety to the festival’s programming. This year, The Gilmore partners with Farmers Alley Theatre to present the Tony Award-winning play Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill throughout the festival—April 24–26, April 30, May 1–3, and May 7–10. Featuring music by Lanie Robertson, the production is directed by Shanesia Davis and stars Alexis J Roston as Billie Holiday.

The festival’s five film screenings take place at Stryker Theatre and comprise Twelve Pianos, about artist/musician Mauro ffortissimo’s pianos on the beach; Les Temps Dérobé, a documentary on pianist Alexandre Tharaud, who performs at the festival; The Magic Piano, a family-friendly animated film about Anna, Chip-Chip, and their magical, flying piano; Living the Classical Life, an interview series by Zsolt Bognar, who will be present for a post-event discussion; and Alicia’s Hands, a documentary on pianist Alicia de Larrocha, whose daughter, Alicia Torra, will give an audience Q&A after the screening.

Family-friendly performances ensure that people of all ages are able to appreciate and enjoy the magic of the keyboard. Pianist / educator Alpin Hong returns to the festival with “Alpin vs. The Machine,” a high-energy journey into classical masterworks and the music of pop culture, film, and video games. These events take place on Sunday, April 26 at Kalamazoo College’s Dalton Theater; Wednesday, April 29 at the Binda Performing Arts Center (Battle Creek, MI); and Friday, May 1 at the Plainwell Performing Arts Center (Plainwell, MI). Mr. Hong also performs Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with the Vicksburg High School Concert Band at the Vicksburg Performing Arts Center (Vicksburg, MI) on Sunday, May 3. For younger children, The Gilmore continues to present Baby Grands, the festival’s popular no-stage concerts where kids are free to crawl, walk, and play throughout the performance.


Two new ways to share the festival experience have been added for 2020. The Gilmore Lounge—open with drinks and music before, after, and during intermission of all concerts at the Dalton Center Recital Hall in Kalamazoo—is the latest venue at the festival to offer a social setting for concert patrons. In addition, several pre-concert talks are held in the Epic Center Atrium during the lunch hour. Attendees are encouraged to bring a lunch, relax, and gain insights into the evening performance. These events are free and open to the public.

A full list of festival concerts and performances may be accessed by clicking here. For more information, visit The Gilmore’s website at thegilmore.org.



Created in 1989 to honor the legacy of Irving S. Gilmore, the organization is known for its biennial Gilmore Keyboard Festival, a three-week celebration of keyboard music; the Gilmore Artist and Young Artist Awards, a regular series of awards presented every four and two years, respectively, to deserving pianists based on a non-competitive process; and commissioning of composers to create new works for the keyboard. Since 1989, 14 biennial Festivals have been enjoyed by thousands of visitors to West Michigan. Eight Gilmore Artists and 36 Gilmore Young Artists have been recognized, and 34 new works have been created for the piano.

In recent years, the organization has grown considerably. Two distinctive concert series—Piano Masters and Rising Stars—ensure that world-class keyboard music is presented continually. In addition, a major program dedicated to community engagement and music education touches the lives of thousands of area children and adults by offering neighborhood concerts, piano lessons in elementary schools, music therapy, group lessons for adults, toddler-friendly concert experiences, summer piano camp, master classes, and much more.

Steinway & Sons is the official piano of The Gilmore.

# # #

Press contacts:

John Hamby | Shuman Associates
jhamby@shumanassociates.net | (212) 315-1300

Mindy MacInnis, Director of Marketing | The Gilmore
mmacinnis@thegilmore.org | (269) 342-1166

Photo credits:

Robbie Lawrence (portrait of Igor Levit)
Parlophone Records (portrait of Beatrice Rana)
Felix Broede (portrait of Maria João Pires)
Abby Ross (portrait of Jon Batiste)
Courtesy of the Partitura Project (photo of Maria João Pires and Julien Brocal)
See Related:
Back to List
Back to Top