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Solos soar at summer piano competition

To hear Sharon Litwin’s interview about the piano competition on WWNO Radio, click here.

It’s hot outside. And it’s going to stay that way. It’s the middle of the long, long New Orleans summer. So inside activities are welcome, especially those that lift the spirits and feed the soul.

For nine days, we can all cool off and give our spirits and souls a respite as we listen to fabulous music performed by extraordinary soloists and root for a winner.

No, I’m not talking about American Idol. It’s the Musical Arts Society of New Orleans’ International Piano Competition, beginning Saturday, July 21. A series of competitive performances, semifinal rounds and ultimately a thrilling final round will identify three medalists in the 13th annual gathering of classical pianists from around the world.

One of just two daytime recital performances takes place on Sunday afternoon, July 22, at 4 p.m.; the remaining presentations — Monday, July 23 through Friday, July 27 — all take place at 7 p.m. and are semifinal rounds. The final round, featuring the three finalists, is the other daytime activity and will take place on Sunday, July 29, at 2 p.m. All performances take place at Loyola University’s Roussel Hall.

As they have for all these years, MASNO staff and devoted volunteers will welcome a dozen pianists from 10 foreign countries and the United States to New Orleans. They will house them, feed them, protect them and show them unparalleled Southern hospitality as they practice, practice, practice. Not that such practice will get them, as the old joke goes, to Carnegie Hall. But it will get the gold medal finalist a much-coveted appearance at London’s famous Concert Hall (Wigmore Hall) as well as a guest appearance with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra.

Ticket prices range from $10 to $35. Students and Seniors’ tickets range from $5 to $25. An all-event pass is $125. To order tickets, call 504-899-4826 or go to

Sharon Litwin is president of NolaVie.








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