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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Competition deadline nears for URI's Piano Extravaganza

Media Contact: Music Department, 401-874-2431

KINGSTON, R.I. -- February 28, 2013 -- The deadline for registering to participate in the University of Rhode Island's "Piano Extravaganza!" Festival, celebrating its eleventh year, is approaching fast. The popular festival includes two concerts plus competitions for adults and young pianists extending over three days, this year starting April 5. The registration period for the competitions is now open, with a deadline of Monday, March 18.

The competitions attract some of the best pianists in the Northeast, with nearly fifty pianists participating last year. All events take place in the Concert Hall or the Music Wing of the URI Fine Arts Center at 105 Upper College Road, Kingston.
The Adult Competition will be held from 2-5 pm on Saturday, April 6, in the Concert Hall. It is open to adults aged 18 or older who enjoy playing the piano as a hobby, and not for professional pursuits or financial gain. Students who are not majoring in music are eligible to compete. Each performer will play a maximum of 15 minutes on a Steinway D grand piano in a concert environment. The repertoire is open, and playing from memory is not required.

Additional details about adult qualifications, rules, and the repertoire are available on the event website. Piano duets (four hands, one piano) are allowed, with the contestant playing primo, and the second person can be a professional pianist such as his/her teacher. This year verbal feedback from the judges will be given, and the intent is to combine the benefits of a recital, master class, and competition in one. Participants will compete for a grand prize trophy, plus jury merit awards.

The Young Pianists Competition is open to pianists who have not yet entered college. It will be held on Sunday, April 7, from 11am-5pm, with presentation of awards at the closing. Divisions for the competition are: Senior Pianists (9-12th grade, or 15-18 years old), Junior Pianists (6-8th grade, or 12-14 years old), and Little Pianists (up to 5th grade, or up to 11 years old). Competitors must play from memory. There are no required pieces, and judges require copies of the sheet music.

All "Young Pianists" competitors are rated, but only the middle and high school categories are given placement awards. Prizes for the Senior division are: 1st Prize - $150; 2nd and 3rd place awards, along with optional jury merit awards. For the Junior division, there is a "Best Overall" prize of $50. The youngest participants will compete for a trophy that recognizes "Best Overall" in their division, plus awards for those who show a special quality, such as Most Witty Playing, or Greatest Perseverance, for example.

Participants should fill out registration information online if possible, and remit the registration fee (payable to the URI Foundation) mailed to: Piano Extravaganza!, URI Department of Music, 105 Upper College Rd., Kingston, RI 02881.

For more information on the competitions, prizes, and registration, please visit the event website: www.pianoextravaganza.org. All venues will be open to family, friends, and the public. An honors recital for top-rated competitors, sponsored by the Jamestown Piano Association and open to the public, will be held at a different location at a later date (TBA).

All questions should be directed to award-winning concert pianist and director of URI's piano program, Dr Manabu Takasawa, at the URI Department of Music. Contact him by phone at (401) 874-2790, or email at: takasawa@uri.edu.