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Milwaukee's PianoArts Celebrates 20 Years


It began with a chance remark, as such things often do. But it took pianists Sue Medford and Stefanie Jacob another five years before the first PianoArts competition took place in June 1999. Over the past 20 years, the organization and its reputation has grown to attract young pianists from around the world.

"We believe strongly that young people today can make a living in classical music playing the piano," Medford explains. "But they’ve got to look at it from a very broad point of view and be able to step into it in many different ways."

PianoArts does that by offering young artists a chance to play all kinds of repertoire and also helps them learn how to talk about the music they play.

The competition is held every other year, and 2019 is an “off year”. So, to celebrate the organization’s 20th anniversary, a series of concerts will take place this weekend at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music and at Vogel Hall. Medford and Jacob joined us in the studio to talk about their early days and how they knew from the beginning PianoArts would be successful and long-lived:

Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.