International Piano Comes To Westport

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.

Heida Hermanns and John Corigliano (father of today's composer)

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.)

2 responses to “International Piano Comes To Westport

  1. Thank you for writing about this, Dan. I took my family (kids aged 3.5, 6.5, and 8.5) and it was fantastic. The children sat without moving or fidgeting the whole time and were blown away, as I was, by the skill and beauty of the competitors. I would not have known about this if you had not written about it. Really great stuff and thanks for calling it to our attention!