A Sweet Publicity Tour for Drew
Drew Petersen was named the 2017 American Pianists Awards winner on April 8. The national publicity tour kicked off the next day with a photo shoot in Indianapolis then interviews with media outlets around the country. Bucklesweet Media President Amanda Sweet captures some of the excitement of the tour in a guest blog.
What does it look like when you have your first promotional tour after winning the coveted American Pianists Awards? Well, for Drew Petersen, it’s full of fun, good food, lots of laughs and of course, a lot of work!
One week after being crowned the 2017 American Pianists Awards winner, Drew flew to St. Paul, Minnesota where he met up with American Pianists Association CEO & Artistic Director Joel Harrison and me for the start of our promotional tour.
First stop on Monday was at American Public Media’s Performance Today, a nationally syndicated show that’s been around for years and is hosted by the venerable Fred Child. The luxury that Performance Today offers its guests is legendary: Drew got to warm-up on their Steinway Model D for 45 minutes before sitting down for a performance and interview in the very studio where the strings were recorded for Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 album. Drew spent an hour talking with Fred and playing several selections, one of which was the Fugue from Samuel Barber’s Sonata, which the senior producer said was something she rarely gets a chance to hear from an artist. Interestingly, the engineer even explained to us that the Steinway piano was a hybrid; the action was from Hamburg, and the body was built at the U.S. factory in Queens, NY.
St. Paul is not only the home to Performance Today and Minnesota Public Radio, it’s also the home of Peanuts creator Charles Schulz! On a particularly rare sunny day in April, we walked over to Landmark Plaza to snap a few shots of Drew with the piano-playing Peanuts character, Schroeder, made out of bronze by Tivoli Too in 2003.
We closed out our stay in St. Paul with drinks at a speakeasy bar and then a great dinner with the largest pork chop (split between two people) at The Bachelor Farmer!
Next stop: New York City for meetings and more interviews. We went to Steinway & Sons where we met with the recording label to talk about repertoire for Drew’s forthcoming debut recording. We talked about recording dates, release dates, a coinciding promotional tour and liner note content. Considering Drew’s busy schedule and the schedule at Steinway Hall, we settled on recording in October 2017.
Drew also got to play Steinway’s new art case piano inspired by Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” painted by Paul Wyse. Drew started playing Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 22 with the artist hovering over him and after he was done, Mr. Wyse asked him to please play some of Prokofiev’s 2nd piano concerto; without warming up or even skipping a beat, Drew jumped into the piece with gusto. He drew a crowd from the street as he immersed himself in the power of Prokofiev. We worked with Steinway & Sons to take advantage of their large social media reach, and they broadcast the mini impromptu performance live on their Instagram feed!
We also invited 2015 American Pianist Awards winner Sullivan Fortner to join us at Steinway. This was Drew and Sullivan’s first time meeting, and they both marveled at each other’s playing. Sullivan sat at the art case piano and offered us some Cole Porter, which Steinway broadcast on Facebook Live.
We then parted ways with Sullivan and took Drew to The Juilliard School for an interview with WWFM radio; it was fun walking around Juilliard where many of the students and faculty congratulated Drew on his recent win. Later that afternoon we went to WQXR where Drew had the chance to tape a Young Artist Showcase with legendary host, Bob Sherman.
It was a whirlwind of a media tour, but we packed it in. Drew represented himself and American Pianists Association with great excellence.
Publicity is a critical component of the American Pianists Association mission to advance the careers of world-class pianists. Check out Drew's performances on Performance Today, WQXR and WWFM and help us spread word about this rising star!