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Summer piano in the Big Apple

The International Keyboard Institute and Festival,
reviewed by JOHN BELL YOUNG


While fumbling about for hors-d'oeuvres at an after-concert soirée, I cornered my host, the estimable pianist, Jerome Rose. Mr Rose is the founder and co-director, along with Julie Kedersha, of the International Keyboard Institute and Festival, which has just concluded its sixth summer season at the Mannes College in New York. Mr Rose, a commanding presence who is hardly given to mincing words, exudes as much authority in person as he does at the piano.

Bemoaning the state of classical music as so many of our colleagues do, while not quite throwing up his hands, Mr Rose observed that the future of the art, and all hope for its survival is indeed in the hands of young people. Now that music has been co-opted by popular culture and harvested for its use-value in film and other visual media, Mr Rose's circumspection was understandable. Even so, he waxed pragmatic, not philosophical, when he pointed to the success of his festival, which now routinely sells out its events. 'We are only talking about hundreds of listeners who attend our concerts,' he observed, as opposed to the far greater numbers his series, given its quality, deserve.

Mr Rose may be underestimating his considerable abilities to organize and inspire. Indeed, of all the summer festivals throughout the US that I have attended over the years, the IKIF embraces the very best of what a festival should represent: quality, artistry and imagination. In maintaining a spirit of overall collaboration that embraces the interests as well as the talents of professional musicians, students and the public itself, Mr Rose has pursued an admirable and effective model for musical presentation that others would be well advised to emulate.

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Copyright © 5 August 2004 John Bell Young, Tampa, Florida, USA


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