DENTON (UNT), Texas - Collaborative pianists are getting their moment in the spotlight at the University of North Texas College of Music’s third annual CollabFest – the first conference of its type in the nation.
“Collaborative pianists are trained as partners. It’s about being present in a moment; intuiting, responding and dancing together with other artists real time – heart to heart,” said Elvia Puccinelli, associate professor of collaborative piano and vocal coaching. “We have the opportunity to work in all areas of classical music, though rarely do we have the opportunity to interact over an extended period with other collaborative pianists. That is one of the primary goals of CollabFest – to serve as a professional conference specifically dedicated to collaborative pianists.”
CollabFest is part of CollabWeek at UNT, which features a variety of events, including free, evening public performances Oct. 18 (Thursday) – 20 (Saturday). CollabFest itself is a paid conference Oct. 18 (Thursday) – 20 (Saturday), featuring sessions and masterclasses presented by guest artists and UNT faculty members from around the country as an opportunity to be reenergized, inspired artistically, rejuvenated and challenged.
“We are so excited to have the amazing Margo Garrett as our master clinician and keynote speaker this year. I have such deep respect for her personally and professionally. Though I never formally studied with her beyond several masterclasses early in my training– which were transformative, by the way - she is a major influence in my life, as I know she is and has been for so many musicians. This is the wonder of Margo Garrett!” Puccinelli said.
Garrett is a devoted teacher who recently retired from heading the collaborative piano department at The Juilliard School. She has served as co-director of the Tanglewood Music Center vocal fellowship program and is the recipient of many awards and honors including the American Society of Composers and Publishers “Most Creative Programming Award.”
American art song composer, Juliana Hall, a highly-regarded composer of vocal music, will serve as the conference’s composer-in-residence. Following her Master of Music in Composition degree from Yale, Hall went on to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship. One of the most prolific art song composers of our time, her works have been heard in 29 countries on six continents.
The free, public Thursday evening performance features the world premiere of “Cameos,” a setting of poems about American female visual artists by UNT Chair of Vocal Studies, Molly Filmore, who, with Puccinelli, will premiere the work. Friday’s public recital features students from around the country and Saturday’s recital features the CollabFest faculty.
Celebrating a “big birthday” of their mentor Alan Smith in 2015, Puccinelli and Lisa Sylvester, associate professor of practice at the University of Southern California, developed the concept of this event. Smith will be the master clinician for CollabFest 2019.
“2018 is the third year we have organized this event at UNT and it continues to grow. The number of colleagues around the country who reach out in interest about this is a sign to me that this is the right time and that we have struck a need in our pianist community,” Puccinelli said. “Being able to make music with another person is a thrill and an honor, and being in a room full of beautiful pianist souls who feel the same way is priceless.”
For a full list of events and recitals, please visit CollabFest 2018.