Observations on our Academy

Observations on our Academy

January 23, 2023
Walter Ponce

The Miami International Piano Festival Academy at Miami Beach, January 2023

As people walked on a Miami Beach street after sunbathing on nearby sands, they could hear the boisterous waves of piano playing coming from the Cadet Hotel. Those were the sounds made by participants of the Miami International Piano Festival Academy, its winter edition, because in the summer it takes place in Briosco, Italy, not far from heavenly Lake Como.

Obviously, Giselle Brodsky, the founder and director of these festivals, knows how to pick a beautiful place. More importantly, she also has a knack to find a group of very talented pianists: the experienced and successful together with the developing but gifted young people, all bonded together on a mission to have fun making waves of beautiful music.

Everyone was busy here: there were amazing concerts at the nearby Botanical Garden, lectures, master classes, lessons and yes, there was also good food, and of course — for the young people — the beach. Young pianists came from many states and different countries. One exceptionally talented pianist from Cuba swam a river to cross to the United States, arrested by immigration and held in custody for a time, he was eventually able to come to the Miami area.  Giselle Brodsky brought him to this academy, together with a couple of other immigrants who share their love for the piano. They could not believe their good fortune to be able to attend this inspiring musical gathering.

To guide the young piano students, Giselle Brodsky brought concert pianists with different temperaments and interpretative conceptions. Students worked with all of them, allowing students to absorb a multiplicity of ideas. This diversity gives students the freedom and power to scrutinize, choose, sift, and filter what they hear, which ultimately helps them develop the self-confidence of a strong musical personality.  In Giselle Brodsky’s world, intransigence or despotism are not acceptable. She respects the naturalness of each student and treats everyone with understanding, kindness, and sensitivity. 

This winter academy would not be possible without the remarkable generosity of Dr. Vilma Biaggi, a prominent physician, owner of the Cadet and passionate about piano and pianists. She gives up a profitable week so that all participants have a taste of a musical paradise.  

All this will create a thorny problem for Giselle: there will be about 400 very talented applicants for the Miami Beach edition of 2024. How to select 20 or so, is going to be quite a challenge. But somehow, Giselle Brodsky will find a way. She always does. Whether it is a pandemic or a traffic jam, she always reaches her destination.

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