2018 Year in Review
Two big new events kicking off the American Pianists Awards. A major award for our most recent winner. The launch of an exciting new podcast. Rave reviews for solo albums and exciting collaborations with Grammy winners. Time to reminisce about the highlights of 2018!
Beginning a big year
The year began in a grand way with the past three American Pianists Awards winners playing for a powerful music industry audience at Steinway Hall in New York. Here is a short highlight reel from 2013 Awards winner Sean Chen, 2015 Awards winner Sullivan Fortner and 2017 Awards winnerDrew Petersen.
Later that month, Sean continued his residency with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra with a concert next door to our national headquarters.
The madcap pace of events in March brought new artists to our world and reunited us with old friends.
An esteemed jury of jazz professionals gathered in Indianapolis at the beginning of the month to anonymously adjudicate submitted recordings from across the country. On March 3, we learned the identities of the five finalists for the 2019 American Pianists Awards: Kenny Banks Jr., Emmet Cohen, Keelan Dimick, Dave Meder and Billy Test.
Emmet visited Indianapolis a week later to perform the National Anthem at the Indiana Pacers basketball game, and in a deft logistical maneuver, Sean Chen performed on the same piano with the Carmel Symphony the next night!
The following weekend, 2001 Awards winner Aaron Parks played the Jazz Kitchen, and Sean Chen completed his residency with a chamber music concert at Trinity Episcopal Church.
Capping the month, Drew Petersen continued his star turn by being recognized with an Avery Fisher Career Grant and a performance at New York Public Radio’s Greene Space.
For the first time, all five finalists performed a Sneak Preview in New York. Invited guests and jazz fans packed Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola for two sold-out sets, and several patrons from Indianapolis made the trip for this special event. Kurt Elling, who will perform at the 2019 Gala Finals on April 6, was our emcee for the night.
We also launched a new event in September to kick off the Awards; Jazz Pizzazz featured performances from the finalists as well as 2015 Awards winner Sullivan Fortner and blues singer Tad Robinson. Here are some highlights from the first three finalists to visit Indianapolis for the Premiere Series:
Rain or Shine
Teach Me How to Zuber
Fly Away with Me
Big Piano Game
- March 14: “Beyond The Neighborhood: The Music Of Fred Rogers” by 1994 Awards winner Kevin Bales & Keri Johnsrud
- June 1: “Moments Preserved” by 2015 Awards winner Sullivan Fortner
- July 6: “Decade” by 2007 Awards winner Dan Tepfer & Lee Konitz
- July 20: “Barber, Carter, Griffes, Ives, Zaimont” by 2017 Awards winner Drew Petersen
- September 7: “In the Blue Light” by Paul Simon & featuring Sullivan Fortner
- September 28: “The Window” by Cécile McLorin Salvant & featuring Sullivan Fortner
- October 19: "Little Big" by 2001 Awards winner Aaron Parks
- October 27: "Natural Machines" by Dan Tepfer
Our artists and programs gained broad attention nationally and locally through unique coverage with media partners. Among the highlights: The Washington Post featured CEO and Artistic Director Joel Harrison discussing the evolving nature of music competitions; the Indianapolis Star is doing a series on the 2019 finalists that includes live Facebook streams and feature articles; and WFYI's Curious Mix aired a story on Drew Petersen helping to select a new Steinway piano for Christ Church Cathedral.
World travel. Engagements with top orchestras. Headline runs at the most famous clubs. How does one become a professional pianist?
See you next year
2018 was a truly memorable year…can’t wait to see what 2019 brings!