URBANA — It's middle of summer break on the University of Illinois campus, and there's not a lot going on — which makes it the perfect time for aspiring musicians to have the limelight to themselves at the UI School of Music's Summer Piano Institute.
That's what happens today when a select few of the participants in the July 16-21 program cap off their week of learning from veteran pianists by performing in Krannert's Foellinger Great Hall with the performing arts center's resident professional orchestra, Sinfonia da Camera.
This week, students received individual lessons from faculty and attended specialized master classes in Foellinger.
"The lessons are geared toward honing their skills," said Ian Hobson, artistic director for the Summer Piano Institute.
At the week's end, students participated in a concerto competition for a chance to perform with Sinfonia da Camera at today's gala concert.
That distinct opportunity — along with the accomplished faculty — attracts some of the most talented pianists from around the world, Hobson said.
The UI professor said he is particularly impressed by the brilliance of his students, especially 17-year-old Jihyun Park from South Korea.
Today's finale features a two-part performance by students and faculty, A Collection of Concerto Recitals, in Krannert's Foellinger Great Hall.
At 4 p.m., Park will commence the student recital by playing the first movement of Mozart's concerto in C major.
And Hobson's former student, Minyoung Rho, will conclude the student part of the performance by playing Prokofiev's third concerto.
"It'll be a sparkling end to the part," Hobson said.
Showcase performances by the faculty will follow the student recital.
At 7:30 p.m., faculty members Jong Hwa Park on piano and Amy Gilreath on trumpet will perform Shostakovich's first piano concerto with Sinfonia. "That's a really wild, wild piece and will be very exciting for the audience," Hobson said.
Renowned soloist Victor Rosenbaum will perform the next piece with Sinfonia, Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 22.
To conclude the night, Hobson will conduct a relatively short piece from his keyboard, Weber's concert piece the Konzertstuck.