Piano Masters to Entertain, Educate During 2010 International Piano Festival

Houston is known as "Space City" and has been called "Clutch City." Thanks to the University of Houston's Moores School of Music, it's starting to gain a reputation as the "Piano City."

For 27 years, the school has hosted the International Piano Festival, which continues to bring the world's top musicians to campus for recitals and master classes. This year's event will run Feb. 12 - 14 at UH and feature three master pianists: festival founder and UH distinguished professor Abbey Simon, Britain's Stephen Hough, and Swiss-born Gilles Vonsattel.

"I'm absolutely delighted to be returning to Houston for this festival," said Hough. "I remember the city from when I was last there as a place where people are excited about the piano and that inspires me."

Hough, a MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant recipient, has performed at major festivals around the world including Salzburg, Mostly Mozart, Aspen and Tanglewood. Among the many symphonies and orchestras he's shared the stage with are the New York, Los Angeles and London Philharmonics and the Russian National Orchestra.

Vonsattel, an Avery Fisher Career grant recipient, has performed with the Utah Symphony, Naples Philharmonic, the Grand Rapids Symphony, the National Symphony of Ireland, the Boston Pops, and the Orchestre de Chambre de Genève. He is the first artist to be featured in the International Piano Festival's "Discovery Series," which spotlights distinguished emerging performers.

Simon, UH's Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Professor of Music, founded the festival in 1984 and has been its most frequent performer. He also is one of the most recorded classical artists of all time and has been honored with numerous awards including the National Orchestral Award. Simon has performed with symphonies worldwide and has served as a UH faculty member since 1977.

This year' festival celebrates the 200th anniversary of Chopin's birth with performances of the famous "24 Préludes" (Simon) and the milestone Sonata "No. 3. B Minor" (Hough). Vonsattel will present an all-French program featuring works by Ravel, Honegger, Poulenc and Debussy.

All International Piano Festival recitals are performed in the Moores Opera House. Times and locations vary for master classes and lectures. For a complete schedule, visit http://www.music.uh.edu/pianofestival/ or call 713-743-3313.


WHAT: 2010 International Piano Festival
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Feb, 12, Moores Opera House: Abbey Simon recital
7:30 p.m., Feb. 13, Moores Opera House: Stephen Hough recital
3 p.m., Feb. 14, Gilles Vonsattel recital
WHERE: Moores Opera House
University of Houston - Entrance 16
WHO: University of Houston/Moores School of Music