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.


    October 31st November 5th,


    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 a