PaperCity Magazine

March 2018- Houston

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Page 97 of 115

MAESTRO OF ROUND TOP N early 50 years after the Round Top Festival Institute unfurled its first concert, the pianist who birthed it — a prize winner in Moscow's International Tchaikovsky Competition, the same classical competition that put Van Cliburn on the map — refl ects upon his path from Kansas to Carnegie Hall, playing for Prince Charles, why Dubrovnik and Singapore are tops, how a lunch at Bayou Bend changed his life, and what's next for Festival Hill. How the young man from Kansas returned from European concert halls to land in Round Top. I have always enjoyed teaching, and I had music students when I was in junior high and high school in Hutchinson, Kansas. After returning from two years of study in London on a Fulbright Scholarship, I had begun my career, having won major awards in two international competitions, the Tchaikovsky in Moscow and the Busoni in Italy. Summer seemed to be a good time to do some teaching, and one continues to learn so much from teaching. The question became: Where? My mentor and teacher Dalies Frantz knew Ima Hogg, and she invited us to lunch in her home at Bayou Bend. She asked if I had ever been to Round Top. This is what introduced me to the village — and the story begins. Plans to mark the fi rst half-century for Festival Institute. Specifi cs for our celebration are still being discussed. However, to me, the most important celebration is what we have accomplished locally as well as worldwide from such unusual and humble beginnings. The project, Festival Institute, was fi rst a dream — a dream, then circumstances happened to give it a place, and then to develop important curriculum and performance opportunities for gifted young musicians. It was important to fi nd fi rst-rate, loyal colleagues and faculty — all this, to me, is the true reason for celebration. Desirable destinations, unforgettable performances. My fi rst time in New York to hear the concert of the New York Philharmonic at the greatest hall in New York, Carnegie Hall. First time in Europe to study for two years in London with the great pianist Clifford Curzon. And, as a sideline, having a lemon souffl é at the Connaught Hotel one evening with great friends Richard Royall and his cousin, Joe Allbritton. First time performing in Asia, in Singapore, with their Philharmonic, and having dinner at Raffl es! … A favorite new city for me, in performance, is Dubrovnik in Croatia. I have performed there three times in their impressive 13th- century Rector's Palace. Museum performances include the National Gallery in Washington, the Kimbell in Fort Worth, and the delightful McNay Museum in San Antonio. More recently, the exciting connection we have with the extraordinary Bullock Museum in Austin … Staying at such memorable hotels as the Crillon in Paris and meeting Mr. Taittinger of the champagne family, who also came to visit at Festival Hill. Performing for Prince Charles [at Bass Concert Hall, in Austin for the Texas 150 Anniversary Concert and Dinner], who afterwards came back stage and mentioned that he played the cello and loved Rachmaninoff and his Concerto No. 2, which I had just performed for him. And being asked to stay longer and perform a special concert in Moscow, after winning a prize in the Tchaikovsky Competition, with Kirill Kondrashin of the Moscow Philharmonic. Month in the life of James Dick. In April, I present my annual solo recital at Festival Hill. Then I look forward to one of the fi nest poetry festivals in America, which is also here at Festival Hill a few weeks later. Then, I leave for concerts in the Czech Republic performing with an orchestra the "Emperor" Concerto of Beethoven. Performing and visiting in Europe is always such a joy. I try to accept tours abroad, not only in Europe, but also in South America and Asia each year. JAMES DICK TAKES THE STAGE. JAMES DICK TAKES THE STAGE. AS TOLD TO CATHERINE D. ANSPON. PORTRAIT JENNY ANTILL CLIFTON. "THE PROJECT, FESTIVAL INSTITUTE, WAS FIRST A DREAM — A DREAM, THEN CIRCUMSTANCES HAPPENED TO GIVE IT A PLACE …" — James Dick 96 (continued on 103)

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