For one week every June, the Southeastern Piano Festival transforms the University of South Carolina School of Music and the city of Columbia into a major cultural destination that draws in audiences and young piano talent from across the United States. The Southeastern Piano Festival embraces a multi-faceted personality: it is a high-level training platform for the young pianists, a presenter of new and world-renowned concert pianists and master teachers, an advocate for new piano music, and a vehicle for exploring different roles the piano plays on stage and beyond.
Twenty of some of the best most accomplished pre-college pianists on the piano scene today take part in a rigorous program that includes daily lessons with University of South Carolina piano faculty, master classes with guest artists and up to five hours of practice a day. The week's events culminate with the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition, adjudicated by a distinguished panel of judges. Winners of the competition receive cash awards and the opportunity to perform with the South Carolina Philharmonic. For music lovers, the Festival offers nightly concerts by a rich lineup of world-class pianists. Founded in 2003 and led for 20 seasons by former UofSC faculty Marina Lomazov and Joseph Rackers, the Southeastern Piano Festival enters a new and exciting chapter in 2023 under the leadership of Artistic Director Phillip Bush and Executive Administrator Caroline Earp. Moving forward, the Festival will continue to present a perfect symbiosis of the new generation of pianists in search of inspiration and challenge and the world-class guest artists who provide that inspiration. The attraction of the Festival lies in its versatility: be it a budding piano virtuoso, an educator, or a music aficionado, the Festival offers something for everyone who loves piano.