LES Amateurs ! in Budapest

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    LES Amateurs ! in Budapest

    International piano festival

    7th EDITION

    2011 : A tribute to Liszt

    Honorific President

    Jean-Luc Choplin General Director of the Thtre du Chtelet, Paris.

    Dates

    October 31st November 5th,

    2011

    13 concerts : FREE ADMISSION

    Masterclasses : FREE ADMISSION

    25 musicians from all around the world

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    A few words from the founders

    When flying to Boston in 2007 as contestants to the Boston International Piano Competition for Oustanding Amateurs, we were far from even imagining the major changes this trip would involve in our lives. It is indeed in Boston that we met and came up with the idea to found a very special festival dedicated to exceptional amateur pianists. Competitions had blossomed all over the world in the past 20 years but quite strangely, nobody had thought of organizing a big event that would allow those top-level pianists, selected amongst finalists of international piano competitions, to just perform concerts without having to worry about getting to the next round. This is how Pianestival was born. Back to Paris, we immediately created the association that holds the festival and started networking in the piano amateur community throughout the world. Today, Pianestival has become Les Amateurs! piano festival, a major event world-known in the amateur pianists community and even beyond. It has grown and become an event given twice a year that is travelling the world: Brazil, China, Hungary, Russia and many other exciting destinations for future years. For its annuel French edition, from 2011 on, the festival is hosted at the prestigious Thtre du Chtelet in Paris. As Les Amateurs! is becoming exceptionally dynamic, we can now tell that it is turning into an inescapable event which the public, no matter if they are musicians or not, knows about and is eager to discover year after year. These pianists are the very best in the world, amongst those who do not make a living with piano. The last festivals have brought up to 3000 people and we are aiming at increasing this number by ten within the next 5 years. Meanwhile, we will keep working hard and with devotion for these passionate music-lovers who manage to offer wonderful recitals while having another professional activity.

    Julien Kurtz, Artistic Director Dominique Xardel, President Julien Kurtz came to piano early. He is the only musician in his family and has had a close relationship to piano ever since he was a kid, grown up in a village of the South of France. While piano is a very important part of his life, he also pursued other studies that led him to become a teacher of Economics and Social Sciences, after passing the prestigious Agrgation competitive exam in 2004. Yet he soon decided to give up teaching and to create Les Amateurs ! piano festival along with his associate Dominique Xardel. In addition to his new professional life as Artistic Director of the festival, Julien Kurtz keeps practicing piano regularly and gives several concerts every year, in France and overseas.

    Dominique Xardel was the Director of the ESSEC Business School in Paris for 10 years and is still teaching management there and on the Singapore campus. He also teaches at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Mtiers and in several foreign universities throughout the world. He has written many books about business management. Dominique Xardel has always been a piano lover and plays the piano each time his schedule allows him to. He wrote two books about piano: one is a biography of Turkish pianist Idil Biret, the other is a collection of interviews with 37 amongst the best known pianists in France and in the world. Born in Aix-en-Provence, he met many composers and interprets (Francis Poulenc, Arthur Honegger, Olivier Messiaen, Marguerite Long etc.) each summer since the foundation of the music festival. These extraordinary encounters have been an inspiration for him to make interviews and books.

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    Les Amateurs ! , sharing a passion together Les Amateurs! is a one-of-its kind piano festival that is organized twice a year, and that is dedicated to allowing top-level amateur pianists from all around the world to regularly perform full recitals in France and overseas in truly professional conditions. All participants have been laureates in one or several international piano competitions for amateur pianists. These concerts are aiming at two main goals: getting a large audience to listen to extraordinary but unknown artists and allowing for stimulating encounters of all kinds, between amateur and professional pianists, and between pianists and other musicians. All invited musicians, whether professionals or not, are true Amateurs , in the etymological meaning, derived from the Latin Amare, to love.

    They say so My piano is no business. I am an Amateur Samson Franois

    Practice hard, but always keep the mentality of an amateur while playing before an audience Alfred Cortot

    A travelling festival

    Les Amateurs ! international piano festival is organized in two distinct events every year : one edition is held in Paris Thtre du Chtelet, while the second edition is travelling from a city to another. In 2009, the festival took place in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), in 2010 in Shanghai (China), and in 2011 it is held in Budapest as a special tribute to Franz Liszt on his bicentenary. Our 2012 edition will be held in Saint Petersburg (Russia).

    2011 program The invited musicians have a complete freedom of choice for the repertoire they want to perform in the festival, which allows for a very diverse and rich program. The only requirement for this 2011 edition is that they include at least one piece by Liszt in their concert program. Most major works of Liszt will be performed during the festival : works inspired by Hungarian popular music, by literature, travels, religion, virtuoso etudes and so on. The festival features not only solo piano recitals, but also chamber music and 2-piano concerts.

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    The artists

    Les Amateurs ! is a unique opportunity to discover talented musicians who rarely appear on stage, obviously not because they dont perform well, but because they made the choice to make a living out of a professional activity that has nothing to do with piano. The festivals artists come from very different backgrounds, have various musical training and this allows for a wide variety of styles and repertoire. The festival also aims at promoting encounters between amateur and professional pianists, through masterclasses and one final concert given by a professional pianist. The planning of the Budapest festival will be as follows :

    25 musicians from all around the world will gather to perform the music they love. Most

    of them are amateur musicians and do not make a living out of piano. They talent has been acclaimed in international piano competitions for outstanding amateurs, where they have all been laureates.

    o From Monday, October 31st to Friday, November 4th, there will be 2 concerts a day : 6 pm, 8 pm.

    o On Saturday, November 5th, there will be 3 concerts : 5 pm, 6 pm, and 8 pm. 2 masterclasses will be given by Brazilian pianist Luiz de Moura Castro on Nov. 4th and

    5th. This will be an opportunity for the audience to discover the backgrounds of a recital: one will hear how music interpretation can be improved while already performed at a very high level. One will also be given tips to understand the pieces and the composers that will be performed.

    o Friday, November 4th, and Saturday, November 5th, at 2 pm.

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    Musicians of Les Amateurs ! Budapest festival (by alphabetical order)

    Michael Cheung (Canada) Louis Dalaveris (USA) Luiz de Moura Castro (Brazil) Robert Finley (USA) Matthias Fischer (Allemagne) Thierry Goldwaser (France) Pierre Hamel (France) Gil Jetley (New Zealand / United Kingdom) Katalin Karolyi (Hungary) Jean-Marc Krisit (France) Julien Kurtz (France) Cathryn Lai (USA) Grace Lee (USA)

    Lana Levin (Russie / USA) Slava Levin (Russie /USA) Brice Martin (France) Bruno Ory-Lavolle (France) Dominique Piers-Smith (United Kingdom) Cyril Porra (France) Paul Romero (USA) Abel Sanchez-Aguilera (Spain) Ariel Sirat (France) Christophe Strassel (France) Brock Summers (USA) Geoffroy Vauthier (France)

    The amateur pianists community Les Amateurs ! piano festival : an opportunity to approach top-level amateur pianists, whose life is shared between their profession activity and their passion for piano. Some wake up every morning at 5 a.m to practice before going to work. Others manage to bring an electronic keyboard to their office in order to play between two meetings or during their lunch break. All must deal with tight professional and personal schedule in order to keep up with piano and get ready for regular public performances. The international community of outstanding amateur pianists is growing year after year. New talents are discovered every year in international competitions and Les Amateurs! piano festival is dedicated to offering them regular opportunities to perform. Every year, new events for amateur pianists are founded all over the world: in 2011, at least three new international competitions are born (in Russia and in the USA).

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    Thierry Goldwaser, Les Amateurs ! 2010 Victoria Bragin, Les Amateurs ! 2010

    A few testimonies from amateur musicians invited in the festival

    Victoria Bragin, Philippines Before Victoria Bragins parents could afford a piano, she walked miles to practice at the home of an aunt everyday, and let her fingers run over an imaginary keyboard on the edge of their kitchen table when she returned home. Even now, one can often see her fingers working away on a mental image of the keyboard when she is away from a piano. In college she would study with her notes propped up on the piano, and continued to study piano as a graduate student in chemistry. The piano was always a major focus of her life Jean Marc Krisit, France My father owned a few classical discs when I was a kid, which I listened to very carefully. I was fascinated and this feeling never faded. My parents offered me flutes, a harmonica, a guitar, and at 6 I started the violin. I loved Beethoven above all. I then discovered Franck, Faur, Debussy. And Chopin. I spent all my savings to buy discs. I always took every opportunity to play with other musicians : orchestra, quartet, duet. Today, I spend all my spare time doing or listening to music : violin, viola and piano, which I started playing when I turned 20. Slava Levin, USA The feel, the touch, the sound of the piano is irresistible. It becomes part of your metabolism, essential enzyme that is balancing your emotional equilibrium. Piano practice allows me to enter the vast musical library and get lost in the masterpieces. I like the term "piano literature" it makes me think of all treasured stories told without a single word... And, of course, performance - the ultimate privilege to make music alive, in real time, to hold and shape it with your hands and share your admiration with the audience. Michael Cheung, Canada Piano was first suggested to my parents by a surgeon as a therapy for a left hand condition I was born with. This handicap turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as it opened so many doors I would never have imagined possible - one highlight of my life occured between the ages of 13-15, during which I was

    regularly invited by the ex-President of Singapore to perform in a series of fund-raising recitals to benefit those in need of medical aid. Growing up, I accepted the limits of my disadvantage and the impossibility of a professional career despite my love for the music. Nevertheless, the often extreme conscientiousness and dedication required in my musical education, in parallel with my full-time academic studies, has led me on a fruitful journey of life lessons from an early age. Humility, perseverance, excellence, believing in and loving what you do... these are some virtues that I try to apply to my life on a daily basis. Today, I feel extremely fortunate for this "hasard heureux" - and am extremely privileged to be able to share this "miracle" with all music lovers, be they professionals or amateurs. Matthias Fischer, Allemagne Matthias Fischer got his first piano-lessons from his parents at the age of 5. After the decision not to pursue a professional career he studied medicine in Wrzburg/Germany. The very special amateur feeling came when he first participated in the students amateur piano-competition in Utrecht/Netherlands in 1996, where he met people from different countries who loved piano-playing but wanted to become doctors or school-teachers for example. An international group of young amateur pianists, who had met in Utrecht, privately organized concerts in different countries. Matthias Fischer tries to practice the piano for about 1-2 hours a day, having to concentrate on a rather small repertoire. Paul Romero, USA I taught myself to play the piano at a very early age (3) and I immediately realized the power and pleasure that music has on a willing audience. I was always asked as a child to the piano for guests and relatives when they would come to visit my family. The sense of unity between me, the audience, the piano and the music was (and is) such a great feeling for me. It feels almost as if time has stopped for a moment! I have pursued the opportunity to create this musical communication with willing listeners my whole life because of the immense pleasure it gives me (and hopefully to the listener!).

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    A unique event

    - A free event : all concerts and masterclasses are free admission for everybody. - International pianists, both amateur and professional, gathered in a one-of-its kind festival. - An event hosted in prestigious venues. - Musicians who stay close to the public. - Masterclasses that allow for another vision of music and a deep understanding of some

    major piano works. - A unique event that travels the world through its travelling edition : Brazil in 2009, China in

    2010, Hungary in 2011, Russia in 2012.

    Useful information WHERE ? French Institute 17 F street Budapest WHEN ? From Monday, October 31st to Saturday, November 5th PROGRAM ?

    - Masterclasses : On November 4th and 5th at 2 pm. - Concerts : Everyday at 6 pm and 8 pm (one extra concert at 5 pm on Nov. 5th).

    ADMITTANCE ? All concerts and masterclasses are free. More details and online recordings of previous festivals on our website www.les-amateurs.org

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    Contacts

    Organization Board : Julien Kurtz, Director : email : infos@les-amateurs.org / Mobile phone : +33 6 86 95 81 09 Dominique Xardel, President : email : xardel@essec.fr / Mobile phone : +33 6 08 83 11 86 Jean-Marc Krisit, General Secretary : email : jm@kerisit.com / Mobile phone : +33 6 60 45 32 10 Thierry Goldwase...

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