One of the many cool things about Westport is the number of intriguing, creative and joyful events happening here.
Some get great publicity: Playhouse shows, library talks, the BBQ and Blues Festival.
Others fly below the radar. Be truthful: How many of you knew that this weekend 16 of the world’s most promising concert pianists will travel here, to compete for major cash prizes?
I sure didn’t. And the event — the Heida Hermanns International Piano Competition — has been going on for 36 years.
The pianists come from Belarus, China, France, Japan, Korea, Macedonia, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Ukraine (and North Carolina). Westport music-lovers will host them — and ferry them to and from Town Hall, where the competition is held.
This Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the 16 musicians — selected from more than 75 entrants — will perform before a panel of professional judges. The challenging auditions are scheduled for 20-minute intervals, and the public is invited to come any time.
On Sunday at 3 p.m., the 6 finalists compete. The audience is then invited to a receptive, while the judges decide who will won $10,000. It’s not “American Idol” cash, unfortunately — especially because our performers are so much better.
(The competition is named for longtime Westport resident Heida Hermanns, a concert pianist, music lover and promoter. A child prodigy and Jewish refugee, she fled Nazi Germany with her 2 great loves: her husband Artur Holde, and the music in her heart.
Tickets for the finals — $20; those 18 years and under are admitted free — are available at the door, or by calling 203-319-8271.)