APATA – The Australian Performing Arts Teachers Association

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Bluebonnet Field

Posted by APATA Team | May 19, 2020

Located in historic Round Top , Texas, The James Dick Foundation for the Performing Arts and its sole project, Round Top Festival Institute, were founded in 1971 by world-renowned concert pianist James Dick. The Foundation began with a handful of gifted young pianists in a rented space on the town square, with the project is now an internationally acclaimed music institute for aspiring young musicians and distinguished faculty.

Since the early seventies, with the help of patrons and friends, The James Dick Foundation for the Performing Arts has developed superb year-round education and performance programs. It has also created a unique 210-acre campus “Festival Hill” containing major performance facilities, historic houses, extensive gardens, parks and nature reserves. Through its singular collection of rare books, manuscripts, archival material, music and historic recordings, photographs and objects, Round Top Festival Institute is also known as an important centre for research and scholarly study.

The Mission of the foundation is:

TO EDUCATE and train young musicians through an intensive summer music education program and a comprehensive series of public performances.

TO PRESENT educational forums and music events featuring distinguished musicians, musicologists, art historians, humanities experts, writers and poets.

TO COMMISSION and present original productions of new compositions, operas, dramas and ballets for the general public and the training of young artists.

TO COLLECT rare books, historic manuscripts, archival materials, music and objects for scholarly research, educational purposes and as a service to the public.

This year the foundation was all set to celebrate their 50th Anniversary. So what does a performing arts organisation do when its years-in-the-making plans for a grand destination gala celebrating a half century of work gets derailed by the coronavirus pandemic?

Come up with a new date and — as a gift to supporters and music lovers, craft a glorious concert in a field. Talk about a Plan B!

When it became clear in spring the that ‘Festival Hill’s 50th Anniversary Gala: A Golden Jubilee of Music’, scheduled to take place on the bucolic grounds of Round Top Festival Institute, under a big-top tent, needed to move from April to a more auspicious date — Saturday, October 24 — the institute’s founder got busy doing what he knows best, tickling the ivories on a concert grand piano.

In an inspired gesture, James Dick (whose piano prowess has graced stages from Carnegie Hall to the Tchaikovsky Competition, where he was a finalist), tapped the owners of a bluebonnet-filled pasture in Fayette County for his venue.

A full-sized concert grand piano was moved — no small feat — from the hall of Festival Hill to this idyllic, blossom-bedecked field. Then film producers Don and Kiki Teague of Round Top were brought in to record the magic. Enjoy!

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