News and notes: July/August 2017
Building pianos in Rwanda
Kigali Keys is working to build the first piano in Rwanda. If successful, this group of three entrepreneurs will become the first piano manufacturer in Africa in nearly thirty years, and the only piano manufacturer to exist outside the country of South Africa.
Pianos are difficult to obtain in Rwanda, and challenging to maintain because of the lack of trained piano tuners and technicians. The Dietmann company manufactured pianos in South Africa before it went out of business in 1989. Currently, new pianos are very expensive in Rwanda, and most are imported from Korea or China.
The goal of Kigali Keys is to build a quality and affordable upright piano with local wood and culturally decorative patterns. They hope to have the first Rwandan-made piano completed in time for the Made in Rwanda Expo at the end of the year.Visit them at kigalikeys.blogspot.com.
Zhang awarded Avery Fisher Career Grant
Pianist Haochen Zhang was awarded a 2017 Career Grant from the Avery Fisher Artist Program of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. These $25,000 grants offer recognition and assistance to exceptionally talented artists for launching their solo careers. Zhang is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Gary Graffman. In 2009, he became one of the youngest performers to win a gold medal at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.