“I am so pleased to welcome Robert Koenig as Artistic Director of the Palm Springs International Piano Competition,” (PSipc) says Board of Directors President Joe Giarrusso. “A classical concert pianist, keyboard professor, chamber music performer and recording artist, Koenig brings to the Board a broad range of talents and skills. The Board is thrilled to have his expertise and passion as ready resources as we continue to expand our outreach to the local community and enhance our International Piano Competitions. He has a great vision and is the perfect person to take on this artistic mantle and lead us for the next decade.” Longtime Board member and 2022 Competition Producer, Dr. Joan RuBane describes Koenig as “one of the most accomplished, experienced and talented people we could have as an artistic director. He will take our Competition to new heights.”
Currently residing in Santa Barbara, Koenig plans to relocate to the greater Palm Springs area in the next few months. “I am thrilled to be joining the Palm Springs International Piano Competition as the new Artistic Director. I am honored to be part of an organization that cares so deeply about the future of classical music and music education for our youth and entire community. I am excited to present a wide array of diverse musical offerings during the 2023-24 season and look forward to being a part of the vibrant community in the Coachella Valley as PSIPC plans for our next competition cycle in 2025.” Born in Canada, Koenig fell in love with the piano at a very early age, and after High School graduation, was accepted to the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where only the very top talent gets accepted, and those that do pay no tuition. Everyone is on full scholarship.
After touring for several years, Koenig was invited to be a staff pianist at the Juilliard School of Music in New York, where he remained for nearly a decade. Subsequently he joined the University of California Santa Barbara where he has been Professor of Collaborative Piano for 17 years. Summers find him on the faculty of the renowned Interlochen Summer Arts Camp in Michigan.
Koenig has concertized at such major venues as Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Suntory Hall, Tokyo, Concertgebow in Amsterdam, the Louvre in Paris, and the Royal Festival Hall in London, among others. He has performed with Sarah Chang, Augustin Hadelich, Zuill Bailey, the Miro and St. Lawrence String Quartets, as well as at the Coachella Valley International Classical Concerts and numerous music festivals including Banff, Seattle, Ravinia, Monterrey, El Paso, and Mostly Mozart. Has also appeared on television’s Good Morning America, and CBS’s Good Morning. His recordings can be found on Decca, Naxos, and Eroica, to name a few.
The Palm Springs International Piano Competition (formerly The Waring) is a local philanthropic organization that has presented thousands of hours of free, live classical piano music to the general public, local schools and senior centers. Begun on the campus of the College of the Desert over 30 years ago, PSipc continues to fill the gap left by years of funding cuts in the arts at Coachella Valley schools. Its international piano competition, held every two years, offers young virtuoso pianists the chance to compete both for monetary prizes and concert performance opportunities. These young artists then often return to the Valley to share their love of music with gratis performances at local schools.
With the recent move of PSipc to Palm Springs, programming has expanded to include first-time public performances at the Annenberg Theater in Palm Springs and at the Palm Springs Cultural Center.PSipc’s mission is “to discover, support, and inspire promising young classical pianists through public competitions, offering a monetary prize and significant performance and career opportunities, while providing local community educational outreach and engagement. In addition, PSipc showcases and highlights wide and diverse cultural musical offerings that serve the Palm Springs/Coachella Valley communities and beyond.” Stay tuned for more exciting announcements from new Artistic Director Robert Koenig. www.psipc.org