• Lee University

    Piano Festival

  • International Piano Festival and Competition

    June 14-20, 2015

    • Masterclasses by guest and faculty artists
    • Recitals by world class-artists
    • Private lessons available
    • Competition is open by audition to all students who have not graduated from high school as of 1 July 2014

    Important Dates

    • April 1, 2014 - Application must be postmarked.
    • April 15, 2014 - Notification of Participants, including those invited to participate in competition
    • May 1, 2014 - Confirmation of Participation

    Important Links

    Participation Levels and Essential Information

    • Performer: Same
    • Auditor: Same
    • Teacher: Same

    Essential Information

    Rules and procedures for the Festival and Piano Competition:

    • Incomplete applications will not be accepted.
    • Festival Participants may be of any age or level of experience.
    • Competition is open by audition to all pre-college students who have not graduated from high school as of 1 July 2015.
    • Application must be postmarked by 1 April 2015.
    • Application must include a copy of one of the following: birth certificate or valid state-issued ID. Document must show birth date.
    • Travel to and from Lee University is the responsibility of the participant.
    • Housing and meals are provided for the participants.
    • No housing is provided for parents or teachers.
    • Likenesses of contestants may be used by Lee University in its promotional materials without contestants’ consent.
    • Lee University and its authorized agents have sole ownership of recordings of this event without obligation to any contestant or any other agency.
    • While on the Lee University campus, contestants agree to abide by its code of conduct.
    • A $50 (US funds), non-refundable application fee must be included with application.

    The following apply to the competition participants only:

    • Competition is open by audition to all pre-college students who have not graduated from high school as of 1 July 2015.
    • Participants who have previously won first prize are not eligible to participate in the Competition.
    • Previous college credit limited to dual enrollment, early admission, and the like.
    • Applications must include two copies of a standard 15-20 minute preliminary audio CD of excellent recording quality that includes two contrasting solo compositions from the standard piano repertoire (no concertos) marked with initials ONLY.
    • All applications will be considered through the preliminary CD round.
    • Questions about repertoire should be directed to the Competition Office. There is to be no talking or other identifying information on the CD. CDs become the property of Lee University and are not returnable.
    • Contestants may repeat repertoire from the preliminary CD to the two live rounds.
    • Contestants may not repeat repertoire between the two live rounds held on campus.
    • Each round of the competition requires the contestant to be prepared to play a minimum of 13 and maximum of 15 minutes of music from memory (Total of 30 minutes of prepared music for the live two rounds)
    • Judges may elect not to hear all repertoire in any round.
    • All decisions of the judges are final and not subject to appeal.
    • Notification of participation (by email or telephone) will be made by April 15, 2015.
    • Finalists must confirm participation (by email or telephone) by May 1, 2015. Failure to confirm will result in disqualification.

    Mack McCray and Enrico Elisi.
    Mack McCray: Piano Department Chair at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

    Mack McCray, born in California in 1943, studied at the Juilliard School in New York with Irwin Freundlich from 1963 to 1971. In the single season of 1969-1970, McCray won first prizes in the San Francisco Symphony's International Young Artists Competition and the Charleston Symphony Competition; Silver Medal at the International Enesco Competition in Bucharest, plus a special award for best performance of a contemporary Rumanian work; second prize at the International Liszt Competition in Boston; an Italian government citation for his performance at the Giornate Musicale festival in Todi, Italy; grants from the Martha Baird Rockefeller Foundation and the Insitute for International Education: and Juilliard's Edward Steuermann Memorial Prize. During that same season McCray made his first tour of Europe, including London, Vienna, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Brussels and Zurich, among other cities.

    Since that year, Mack McCray has performed around the world, notably at the Paris Festivale d'automne, at Seville's Great Interpreters Series with the Monte Carlo Orchestra at the UNESCO Festival of International Artists in Monaco, at Hong Kong's City Hall Concert Series, at the Bucharest Philharmonic Bach-Beethoven-Brahms Festival; and Boston's Fromm Foundation Concerts at Harvard. In 1972 McCray founded an international chamber music festival in Trogen, Switzerland and for many years was concert accompanist for the Metropolitan Opera soprano Teresa Stratas. His recording of John Adams' piano work Phrygian Gates (New Albion Records) was placed on the Best Recordings of the Year (1981) lists of both the New York Times and High-Fidelity-Musical America.

    McCray has performed with such conductors as Michael Tilson Thomas, Edo de Waart, Josef Krips, Leon Fleisher, Arthur Fiedler and John Adams. He has been an invited soloist at the American Liszt Society Conference in Eugene, Oregon, the New Orleans International Piano Festival, the Atlanta Festival of the Arts and the Honolulu Academy of Art's Sounds of Our Time Festival. In 1991 he gave the American premiere of John Adams' new work for piano and orchestra, Eros Piano at the Cabrillo Music Festival. Recently McCray performed with the Japan Philharmonic in Tokyo, on the all-Schubert series at famed Trinity Church in Manhattan, at the Carmel Bach Festival, and at the Los Angeles County Art Museum, as well as in Alaska and across the United States. He currently is Artistic Director of the Zephyr International Chamber Music Festival in Courmayeur, Italy. Since 1971 he has been on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

    Enrico Elisi: Associate Professor of Piano at Eastman School of Music; Artistic Director Musica Domani International Prize.

    Enrico Elisi's interpretations have distinguished themselves for their “remarkable sensitivity, imagination and polish” (Baltimore Sun). Described by La Nueva España as “a true musician and a master of elegance, refinement and fantasy,” Elisi's approach to music-making has earned him a reputation for being eclectic. He has performed solo recitals and has been featured as soloist with several orchestras in the US and abroad, combining a busy concert schedule with workshops and masterclasses worldwide. A sought-after teacher Elisi leads a large class of successful international students at the Eastman School of Music. An active chamber musician, he began a collaboration with violinist Federico Agostini, a former leader of I Musici; Elisi has also been a frequent guest at several summer programs and has adjudicated a number of piano competitions (Tremplin International, Concours de Musique du Canada, Iowa Piano Competition, and Peabody Yale Gordon Competition); he also founded Musica Domani Prize—an international composition competition he presently directs.

    In Europe Elisi has appeared in prestigious venues such as La Fenice Theatre, Venice; Palazzo Vecchio, Florence; Bibbiena Theatre, Mantua; Pavarotti Opera House, Modena; Teatro Comunale and Sala Bossi, Bologna (Italy). He has also given recitals in Germany, Slovak Republic, and Spain. Recent performances in the Americas include recitals at the Banff Centre for the Arts (Canada), Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, the New York Public Library, and the Third Lima Contemporary Music Festival, in Peru. In Asia, he performed in Korea, Taiwan, and China. Elisi has given master classes, workshops, and lectures at colleges and conservatories throughout the world, held a guest professorship at the China Zhejiang Art School in Hangzhou, China, and taught at Penn State University and University of Nevada.

    Elisi studied at the Conservatory of Florence, the world-renowned Incontri col Maestro International Piano Academy of Imola (Italy) and the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, earning two diplomas, MM, and DMA degrees. Among his teachers were Lazar Berman, Boris Petrushansky, Alexander Lonquich, and Leon Fleisher.

    Elisi’s latest CD, Mozart Piano Album, has been released in 2011; a subsequent release in 2012 features Paul Chihara’s Two Images on Albany Records.


    Add Cahill Smith

    Cahill Smith: Associate Professor of Piano at Lee University

    Born and raised in rural Alabama, pianist Cahill Smith began playing at age 10. Six years later, he made his orchestral debut with a local orchestra. While completing the Doctor of Musical Arts at the Eastman School of Music, he performed in two recitals in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall (New York City, N.Y.), as well as recitals at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s Calderwood Hall (Boston, Mass.), Rice University (Houston, TX), and a lecture-recital at Yale University (New Haven, Conn.).

Smith has been featured as a concerto soloist with the National Ukranian Symphony Orchestra in Kiev, the Eastman Philharmonia, the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra, the Shoals Symphony Orchestra, and others. His solo performances have taken him to the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Royal Dublin Society’s concert hall, Kodak Hall, Kilbourn Hall, Hatch Halls at the Eastman School of Music, the Aspen Music Festival’s Harris Hall, Stamps Auditorium and the Britton Recital Hall in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Minneapolis’ Orchestra Hall, and Birmingham’s Alys Stephens Center.

    Smith’s programming of works by little-known Russian composer Nikolai Medtner has attracted the attention of audiences and critics. The East Hampton Star said, “The unexpected gems of the afternoon were two of Nikolai Medtner’s Vergessene Weisen (‘Forgotten Melodies’), played by Cahill Smith. I was not familiar with these works, but in Mr. Smith’s hands they were absolutely endearing.”

    Smith holds the Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance from the Eastman School of Music, where he served as the teaching assistant to Natalya Antonova. He was inducted into the Pi Kappa Lambda honor society for his academic achievements and contributions to the musical community at Eastman. Smith held three graduate teaching assistantships at Eastman, and was awarded the 2011-2012 Prize for Excellence in Teaching.

Smith completed the Master of Music in Piano Performance from the University of Michigan with Arthur Greene, and the Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with Yakov Kasman. Other influential teachers include Ann Schein, the late Betty Sue Shepherd, Ronald Shinn, and Margaret Moore.

    Competition Contact Information

    Angela Lamb