Georgia State Clarkston campus to host free PianoFest with musicians, scholars

Georgia State University Perimeter College will host its second annual “PianoFest” Nov. 13 through 19 at Georgia State’s Clarkston campus, 3735 Memorial College Ave.

The event will be hosted by Georgia State University Perimeter College assistant professor of music Vicente Della Tonia. Della Tonia is an award-winning pianist whom a college spokesperson said, “turned his passion for piano into a community celebration.”      

According to a news release, the weeklong event is themed “Music from the Americas” and will include international guest performances, recitals, master classes, and lectures. The events and activities are free and open to the public. Participants from Georgia State University’s faculty and student body also will be featured, the release states. 

Della Tonia said he is especially excited about the festival’s Nov. 13 kickoff – which will feature him and international pianists Rosa Maria Tolon and Silvanio Reis for a joint performance at Perimeter College’s Cole Auditorium. The release states that the pianists will showcase unique compositions involving four and six hands at the piano simultaneously. 

Tolon—a Cuban/Brazilian pianist—has been featured as a soloist and in chamber groups throughout Cuba, Brazil, Russia, Bulgaria, Spain, and the United States. She has taught elementary level classes to post-graduate courses and has served on the faculty of universities in Havana and Brazil, according to the release.

The release states that Brazilian-born pianist Reis has performed in concert halls throughout the United States and Brazil, winning top prizes in several competitions in Brazil. He is currently a faculty member at Temple University and maintains a schedule that includes music research, lectures, and solo and chamber music performances.

In addition to performing with Della Tonia and Tolon, Reis will perform solo and present a master class at the festival. Other scheduled performances and classes include a masterclass from Della Tonia (Nov. 14), a masterclass from Rosa Maria Tolon (Nov. 16), and other piano related events.

Two other Georgia State music professors will participate in PianoFest. Piano professor and Steinway artist Sergio Gallo will perform a solo recital and piano professor Geoffrey Haydon will present a lecture called “The Fine Art of Practicing.”   

“PianoFest is a celebration of the art of piano playing,” said Della Tonia. “What makes the festival distinctive is the collaboration and opportunity for our students and local community pianists to learn, perform, watch and interact with each other — and with international artists.”

Della Tonia is also coordinator of keyboard studies at the college and has performed in concert halls throughout Europe, the United States and in his native Brazil. 

“The Fine Arts Department thrives on the connectedness of our college to the wider community,” said Theatre Professor and Fine Arts Department Chair Sally Robertson. “This is something Dr. Della Tonia knows well and uses to the great advantage of our students.”

PianoFest will culminate on Nov. 19 with a public recital featuring Georgia State student and community participants. For a full list of the free PianoFest events, with times and exact locations—and for more information about the guest artists—visit sites.gsu.edu/perimetercollegefinearts/hub/.

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