ON-Lion Letter
In June, PianoArts of Milwaukee held its 2016 North American Competition and Music Festival.  The competition allows 10 gifted pianists between the ages of 16 and 20 to rehearse, perform, and have conversations with members of the international jury and musicians from the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO).

The mission of PianoArts is to develop innovative ways to foster appreciation and performance of music.  This is accomplished by identifying and training new generations of pianists with exceptional musical and verbal communication skills, preparing them for performance, and presenting them to diverse audiences.  The highest-profile event that fulfills this mission is the biennial North American Piano Competition and Music Festival.

PianoArts presented its first competition in 1999 to identify, showcase, and guide young pianists at a turning point in their artistic lives.  This year’s events included solo and ensemble recitals, master classes, and a concert in which the members of the jury -- Joseph Kalichstein, Ursula Oppens, and Peter Takács -- performed with titled musicians from MSO, including Benjamin Adler, Susan Babini, Ilana Setapen, and Scott Tisdel.  During the grand finale of the competition, the three finalists performed with MSO under the baton of the music director of PianoArts, Andrews Sill.

For the winners, PianoArts is a source of support well after the contest is over.  The organization stays in touch with the young musicians, providing contacts and opportunities to perform, give master classes, or present talks about music.  The winners return to Milwaukee the following season for a residency that consists of intense preparation of a program with high-level coaches and teachers, and interacting with youthful audiences:  playing for them, talking with them, and explaining the meaning and value of the music. The residency is an opportunity for growth for the performers and a source of inspiration for their young audiences.  In keeping with the PianoArts philosophy of the importance of staying in touch with present day audiences and future professionals, many PianoArts winners continue to serve as advisers to the organization even as their training advances and careers grow.

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee supports PianoArts and MSO.

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