Kasman takes first place at International Keyboard Institute and Festival

UAB junior Aleksandra Kasman outplayed 33 talented pianists to win first place at the International Keyboard Institute and Festival.

Written by: Tiffany Westry

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aleksandra kasman 2015Out of a talented international pool of 33 pianists, University of Alabama at Birmingham junior Aleksandra Kasman took the top prize at the 2015 International Keyboard Institute and Festival in New York City on Aug. 2.

Kasman is a music major in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Music and a member of the UAB Honors College’s University Honors Program. She studies piano with her father, UAB professor and artist-in-residence Yakov Kasman.

The International Keyboard Institute and Festival is a summer piano festival that offers two weeks of concerts, masterclasses and lectures, and is open to student participants as well as the public. Students from around the world are given the opportunity to study with faculty and artists, participate in masterclasses, and attend concerts and lectures given by some of the world’s best-known pianists and scholars.

Kasman was accepted into this highly competitive event as a Piano Arts North American Competition scholarship winner. Participants who attend the festival for two weeks are eligible to compete for $10,000 in the Dorothy MacKenzie Artist Recognition Scholarship Awards. The MacKenzie Awards support and recognize the artistic endeavors of participants in the festival and encourage excellence and dedication. 

The rigorous, four-day competition is held in three rounds, with a total of one hour and 20 minutes of playing, or a full concert program. Kasman was named one of four finalists out of 33 participants and went on to win first place.

“The International Keyboard Institute and Festival gave me the opportunity to make valuable connections with other participants from all over the world,” Kasman said. “It was an honor to learn from professors of the highest caliber and some of the biggest names in piano, including festival founder and director Jerome Rose.”

Kasman’s goal for the next two years is to compete in even bigger competitions and move on to graduate school after completing her studies at UAB.

“I hope to go on to obtain master’s and doctoral degrees,” Kasman said. “The great thing about music is that there are so many things you can do: performing, teaching, masterclasses, workshops, recording. I have entertained the thought of possibly going into music administration. I am also interested in conducting.”