Com­ing up in Philly Music: The PYPA Online Piano Festival

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Ching-Yun Hu is the artistic director of PYPA and is the genius behind the online festival. (Photo by Te-Fang Wang.)
Ching-Yun Hu is the artistic director of PYPA and is the genius behind the online festival. (Photo by Te-Fang Wang.)

Some music organizations are putting individual concerts online. The Philadelphia Young Pianists Academy is presenting an entire international festival online, complete with master classes, lectures, and public performances.

A digital summer

In the last few years, PYPA has become one of the gems of the Philadelphia summer season. Budding young pianists from all over the world congregate at the Academy of Vocal Arts, receive high-level instruction from top performers, and compete for prizes that can boost their careers. This year, the pianists will stay in their home countries while they study and compete in front of a worldwide audience.

The festival’s offerings include six studio concerts, lectures by music organization executives, audience Q&A sessions, and 126 hours of master classes. The 15 teachers on the staff are all major concert pianists with distinguished reputations as teachers. They include Gary Graffman, the former president of Curtis; Jerome Lowenthal, who directs the piano program at the Juilliard Conservatory; and Ursula Oppens, who teaches at the Brooklyn Conservatory and the City University of New York Graduate Center.

PYPA is the creation of Ching-Yun Hu, a creative, globe-trotting Taiwanese pianist who studied with Gary Graffman at Curtis. She could have responded to the current emergency with an online substitute that attempted to duplicate the live festival. Instead, she has put together an event that exploits the strengths of the Internet, with features like six master classes per participant and a 50 percent reduction in tuition.

What, When, Where:

The Philadelphia Young Pianists Academy will take place online from August 1 through August 9. Audience day passes are $20, a pass to the whole event is $200. You can view the entire schedule and purchase passes online.

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