Avanti Chamber Music Festival funds young pianists, brings world-renowned musicians to Tempe

The Avanti Chamber Music Festival will provide a unique experience for ASU and the community of classical music lovers this weekend with a collection of performances from world-renowned musicians.

The performance kicks off on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Katzin Hall with pieces from Johannes BrahmsClaude DebussyGeorge Gershwin and modern composer José Salvador González Moreno. On Sunday at 5 p.m., the event will pick up again featuring works by Sergei Prokofiev, Robert Schumann and Bela Bartok.

This weekend will present the talent of professional musicians from around the world. Violinist Albor Rosenfeld from Switzerland, clarinetist Carlos Alves from Portugal, pianist Stephen Siek from Wittenberg University, Ohio and pianist Michael Lewin from Boston University and Boston Conservatory, Massachusetts will join ASU music professor Caio Pagano.

Michael Lewin said he was drawn to the project for the opportunity to work with the talented array of worldly musicians.

“I am a long time friend of Caio Pagano," Lewin said. "I’ve played many times in Arizona as a concert pianist. These are fantastic programs with internationally renowned soloists. This will be a great concert and should be a real treat to Tempe and music lovers of ASU.”

The festival is held by The Avanti Fund, Inc., which was co-created by Reginald Couch and Pagano. The fund was created to provide local pianists with scholarships in order for them to foster their musical ability.

Avanti is a nonprofit that encourages young pianists through events like master classes, summer camps and competitions, according to the Avanti Fund’s website.

On Saturday, the esteemed musicians will take a break from their performance to serve as jurors in the 2016 Steinway/Avanti Future Stars Competition, which will take place starting at 9 a.m. in the Katzin Concert Hall. 

There are two competitive categories for students to be entered in: juniors, for students ages 10 to 14 and seniors, for ages 15 to 18. The students are responsible for learning and memorizing 15 to 20 minutes of music. Six monetary prizes are awarded of up to $800.

After the long weekend of music, the contest judges and cultured musicians will come together for a final performance at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts on Monday, Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. Pagano said he is especially excited for this performance.

“(Alves, Lewin, Rosenfeld, Siek and I) have performed in Portugal, Switzerland, Brazil and Germany,” he said. “I’ve met these musicians of the highest caliber and I bring them over to help my students to get more music, get in touch with other cultures and to get exposed to great performances.”

All concerts held at Katzin are free and open to the public. The performance at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts is $10 for general admission, but free tickets are available for students, teachers and veterans. A pre-concert talk will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Monday.

Related links:

ASU's Lyric Opera Theatre presents student production of the renowned "Grease"

Guitars, computers, percussion, oh my! ASU Hybrid Ensemble's upcoming concert

Reach the reporter at tanner.stechnij@asu.edu or follow @tannerstechnijon Twitter.

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