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Tickling the ivories

Piano players gather at Colorado College

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So you think you've got what it takes to be a famous pianist, if only you had the time? Well, now you've got some company. When Amateur Pianists International (API) presents its second annual Celebration of the Amateur Pianist at Colorado College from Aug. 13 to Aug. 17, some of the world's finest recreational players will come together for five days of competition, classes and camaraderie.

The celebration, which features the Third Rocky Mountain Amateur Piano Competition (in association with the Van Cliburn Foundation), is "more than just a piano contest," said Chuck Cabell, who along with Gregory Adams founded API in 2001. "In recent years, a number of competitions for amateur pianists have sprung up, but we try to keep ours unique -- making it a complete celebration."

To accomplish this, API has invited two internationally renowned pianists, Helene Wickett and Yakov Kasman, to teach a Master Class open to both the 22 contest participants and the general public, which will focus on stylistic and motivational techniques for amateur players. Kasman and Wickett will also perform individual recitals during the event.

The final round of the RMAPC will be held on Sunday, Aug. 17, at Packard Hall, and will be judged by a six-person jury made up of music professionals, who must give written feedback on all the contestants' performances -- an unusual touch for a piano competition.

"Our contestants are people in all different careers who simply love playing the piano and are very good at it," added Cabell. "We designed the event so that they can get as much out of it as possible."

-- Joe Kuzma

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