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Feb. 18-21: 20th Annual Bunny Just Piano Festival
Professional and amateur pianists to perform throughout festival.
Minnesota State University, Mankato Department of Music News Release, 2-1-2016
Mankato, Minn. -- The 20th Annual Bunny Just Piano Festival will highlight performances by professional and amateur pianists Thursday, Feb. 18 through Sunday, Feb. 21 at the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, 320 Maywood Ave. Piano festival events are sponsored by the Bunny Just Piano Festival Endowment.
On Feb. 18, New Orleans pianist Jon Cleary will perform at 7:30 p.m. in Halling Recital Hall. Cleary is acknowledged as a leading practitioner of New Orleans style piano. He has been a sideman for the likes of Taj Mahal, Dr. John, and John Scofield and performed and recorded with Bonnie Raitt for 10 years.
On Sunday, Feb. 21, classical pianists Douglas Ashcraft (pictured right) and David Viscoli (pictured left) will perform a two-piano recital at 7:30 p.m. in Halling Recital Hall. Douglas Ashcraft has performed to acclaim in recitals and concerts throughout the United States and in Europe. A winner of prizes in many competitions, Ashcraft is an active chamber musician and has performed in recitals at Carnegie Recital Hall, Alice Tully Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall, and Jacqueline Du Pre Hall at Oxford University in England.
Viscoli has performed extensively as a soloist and chamber musician in the United States, Canada, Europe, Central America, and Asia. He has also performed at major universities and music academies in North America. Viscoli has competed in national and international piano competition and has won numerous awards. He is currently a Professor of Piano and Distinguished Faculty Scholar at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Other festival events include college master class sessions on Friday, Feb. 19 at 1 p.m. in Halling Recital Hall with participants from Minnesota State Mankato, Gustavus Adolphus, and Bethany Lutheran colleges, and a competition and master class sessions for junior and senior high school students Saturday, Feb. 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Master class sessions are free and open to the public.
Beneta Just initiated the Bunny Just Piano Festival at Minnesota State Mankato in 1996. In 2004 her estate created an endowment to fund the annual festival. Beneta Just was a promoter, volunteer and financial supporter of many local social concerns, including special education and human rights. A University scholarship in special education remains in her name today.
Those who wish to purchase tickets online should go to www.mnsu.edu/music/. Those who want concert information should call the Performance Series office, (507)389-5549.