One way to know if you’re going to make the piano your life? If you can’t do anything else.

In a preview of the Rising Stars Series, Gilmore International Keyboard Festival executive director Dan Gustin says to expect pianists of remarkable caliber to visit Kalamazoo every month between September and May. They include Korean pianist Seong-Jin Cho, winner of the 2015 Chopin International Competition in Warsaw, Poland; Honens Competition winner Pavel Kolesnikov of Russia, and Cliburn Competition laureates Sara Daneshpour and Sean Chen, both Americans. Another American, Emmet Cohen, recipient of the Thelonius Monk prize, is the lone jazz pianist among the classical players.


Gustin says he learns about up-and-coming pianists through a network of teachers, schools and competitions around the world. The one thing these far-flung pianists have in common is dedication and passion for their art form, and the belief that they “couldn’t do anything else.”


In addition to the Rising Stars Series, Gustin says The Gilmore will bring in two artists, in fall and spring, for its Piano Masters Series. They are French-Canadian pianist Marc-André Hamelin, whose immense range makes other pianists “envious,” and Sir Andras Schiff, a pianist whose interpretations of Bach, Beethoven and Schubert set the standard for his generation.