KALAMAZOO, MI — A “Roaring 20s Cabaret Show,” Herbie Hancock, a Jazz at Noon lunchtime series, numerous symphonic and solo pianist performances, master classes, film showings and family-friendly fun.
After four years away, Kalamazoo’s Gilmore Piano Festival is back.
The festival, traditionally held every two years, was put on hold in 2020 just weeks before it was scheduled to begin due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s a big gap for us,” said Mindy MacInnis, director of marketing for the festival. “We had done 90% of the work in 2018. All the artists had been booked and paid and a month prior we had to cancel it.
“We’re excited to be back.”
While the festival is officially billed as April 24-May 15, pianist Yuja Wang will kickstart this year’s string of performances with a solo show on Friday, April 8 at Chenery Auditorium and Alpin Hong will also perform a handful of family concerts in Hastings, Plainwell, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo and Vicksburg between April 18-25.
“The great thing about the Gilmore if you’ve never been is that it is spread out over three weeks across multiple venues and cities and there’s just such a variety,” MacInnis said. “You don’t want to just do the concerts. You can go to the museum and catch a film, see a master class and lecturer, see some jazz, see some classically trained piano, get your picture taken at the keyboard crosswalk by the Civic.”
Free master classes will be held near daily April 28-May 10 at the Jolliffe Theatre, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Dalton Center Recital Hall and Stetson Chapel, allowing attendees an up-close view of performers and an opportunity to learn about self-promotion, dedication to one’s craft and hear backstories of the artists.
This year’s marquee performances include jazz legend Herbie Hancock, who performs April 24, and Diana Krall, who performs May 14, both at the Miller Auditorium in Kalamazoo. Pink Martini also performs at Miller Auditorium on May 10, rounding out the headliners.
The Jazz at Noon series is also very popular, MacInnis said. The series offers more than a dozen opportunities to catch a jazz show during one’s lunch hour in Battle Creek or Kalamazoo. Tickets are $18 per show.
After shifting to virtual performances in 2020 and hosting numerous virtual concerts since, festival organizers made the decision to offer many of this year’s performances online for those who can’t be in attendance. Each broadcast performance will be shown with top-quality sound and video and those wishing to view them can pay what they desire, MacInnis said.
“Most people tend to pay what it would cost for a ticket to the concert to watch online, but we have people that pay anywhere from a couple dollars to a few hundred,” she said.
Prices for in-person events and performances range from free to upward of $160 for the opening week dinner and cabaret show with Svetlana, jazz vocalist Willerm Delisfort, April 27 at the Radisson.
For tickets, more information and a complete listing of events and concerts, visit www.thegilmore.org/.
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