Nikita Mndoyants on Tour

Published On: April, 10th 2017 • Under: Community Connections, Competition, Concert Series, Events, Past Winners

When Nikita Mndoyants won first prize at the Cleveland International Piano Competition last year he was awarded more than a cash prize.  He also received a Carnegie Hall debut, a compact disc recording on the Steinway & Sons label, and dozens of concert engagements in the U.S. and abroad.

Earlier this year he began fulfilling those engagements, beginning with two concerts in Europe – one in the Salle Cortot in Paris, and another at the Bozar Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels.  These two concerts were part of the Steinway Prizewinner Concert Network, a collaboration of piano competitions, concert organizers, festivals, and radio stations that introduce select young pianists to international audiences.  CIPC was invited to be a part of this prestigious network last year.

Mr. Mndoyants will perform in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in June, and then follow with summer performances at the International Keyboard Institute and Festival (New York City), Brevard Music Festival (North Carolina), and the Chautauqua Institution (New York).  He will launch the U.S. component of his 2017/18 season with a performance with the Escher String Quartet for the Tuesday Musical Association (Akron, Ohio), continuing with multiple visits to the U.S. that extend into the spring.


Those wishing to catch an upcoming concert can see him right here in Cleveland at
3:00 pm on Sunday, April 30 at the Maltz Performing Arts Center.  He will preview parts of his solo Carnegie Hall program and partner with members of The Cleveland Orchestra for Schumann’s stunning Quintet in E-flat Major, Op. 44.

While in Cleveland Mr. Mndoyants will visit the schools participating in the PianoKids program for a short performance and a Q&A session with the children.  He also will teach master classes in the piano department of Cleveland State University’s School of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music.  CIPC extends its thanks to Mr. Mndoyants for sharing his gifts with the young people of our community and to Steinway Piano Gallery Cleveland for providing the piano for his performances in the schools.

CIPC Staff Profile: Justine Porter

Published On: April, 10th 2017 • Under: Uncategorized

Meet Justine Porter, CIPC’s Director of Stewardship and Special Events.  Having joined the organization in December 2014 she’s one of the newest members of the team, but already she’s had a major impact.

Mrs. Porter is responsible for building relationships, organizing special events, and developing new ideas for capturing the interest of potential donors.  She works on an ongoing basis with CIPC board members and volunteers, donors and patrons, and representatives from corporations and foundations that make contributions and grants to the organization.

“Justine is indispensible to CIPC,” said President and CEO Pierre van der Westhuizen.  “She has helped organize our fundraising efforts and brought her own unique style to all of our special events.”

Those events include Bravo Piano, the hugely popular black tie gala that’s held at Severance Hall on the final night of the Cleveland International Piano Competition, and Encore!, a brand new event taking place in August featuring dinner and a special performance by the four winners from the 2016 competition.  (More HERE.)  Her favorite event?  “The Valentine’s Day dinner concert we’ve been presenting for the past two years,” she says without hesitation.  “It’s the perfect date night and people love it.”

Like most of the CIPC staff, Mrs. Porter is a musician.  She studied cello performance at the University of Akron with Martha Baldwin, who is a member of The Cleveland Orchestra.  Married for less than a year, she and her husband Marty live in the Kamm’s Corner neighborhood of Cleveland with their two rescues – Chip (the dog) and Franz Schubert (the cat).

Young Pianists to Return in 2018

Published On: April, 10th 2017 • Under: Young Artists

CIPC for Young Artists, the competition that in 2015 brought us amazing young pianists such as Yuanfan Yang, Leonid Nediak, and Jae Hong Park, will return again next year with a new group of remarkable young artists.

The event will be held May 30 through June 9, 2018 in Cleveland’s University Circle arts district.  Twenty pianists in two age groups will be invited to participate following a rigorous, worldwide preliminary screening round: ten in the junior division (ages 12 to 14) and ten in the senior division (ages 15 to 17).  Eligibility is determined by age as of June 9, 2018.

Once in Cleveland, all contestants will perform before audiences and a professional jury.  The jury will hear all contestants in two solo rounds, then vote as follows: advance six contestants from each division to the solo semi-final round; advance three contestants from each division to the final concerto round, where each pianist will perform with the Canton Symphony Orchestra; rank all finalists and award first, second, and third prizes in each division.

An institute will be held concurrently with the competition, during which time the young pianists will receive master classes and coaching from members of the jury and guest lecturers.  The institute also will feature guest artist recitals and symposia.

Applications are now being accepted and must be submitted by November 1.  There is a late deadline of November 15 with an added fee.  More HERE.

Photo: Yuanfan Yang, First Prize Winner in the Senior Division, 2015 CIPC for Young Artists.

PianoKids is Back for 2017

Published On: April, 10th 2017 • Under: Community Connections

Those of you who follow CIPC closely know that the organization’s staff and volunteers are firmly committed to ArtsConnect, the outreach and education program designed to help Celebrate the Art of Piano within our community.  The program works with professional artists, community organizations, schools, health care organizations, and generous foundations to create innovative educational programs for young people, and to present concerts that have broad based appeal for all generations.  One of the premiere projects of the ArtsConnect program is PianoKids.

PianoKids has taken several forms since it was first launched last year, but its central purpose remains constant: teach music fundamentals to school children in fun, interactive, and engaging ways.  The first iteration had a trio of musicians (piano, violin, and cello) working with very young children in pre-K to third grade.  The trio visited 11 schools.  A second project brought older children to the 2016 competition, where they spent a full day learning music concepts through song and dance, met musicians and their instruments at an instrument “petting zoo,” watched competition performances, met contestants, and learned about rhythm by creating their own drum line.

This year PianoKids will work again in the schools, this time with children in grades K through 7 and with a new trio made up of Emily Rapson (French horn), Madeline Tolliver (flute), and Natsumi Shibagaki (returning on piano).  It is being presented with strong support from the Cleveland Foundation and the George Gund Foundation.

Sophié van der Westhuizen, Director of the ArtsConnect program, explained the changes.  “We’re returning to several of the same schools and we wanted to introduce new instruments to keep things fresh and interesting,” she said.  “At the same time, by expanding the age range, we’re able to invite more students to join in the fun.”

The expansion takes several forms in addition to the new trio.  By partnering with the Cleveland School of the Arts, the Rainey Institute, and the Boys & Girls Club of Cleveland, PianoKids will work for the first time with music students.  The PianoKids Trio will present a group learning program tailored specifically to their higher levels of knowledge, as well as master classes for selected students.