January 2001, John Gardecki, a resident pianist of Middleburg, Virginia,
joined the ranks of accomplished top-level amateur pianists who competed
at Concours International des Grands Amateurs de Piano in Paris, France. After his Paris
performance, he competed in the 2nd Van Cliburn International Piano Amateur
Competition at Fort Worth, Texas, and received encouraging and positive feedback on his
piano playing. The Paris and Forth Worth experience motivated and inspired
John and his wife, Chateau, to bring this kind of international competition to Washington
D.C. They presented the idea to close friends and were very encouraged
by their enthusiastic responses. Shortly thereafter, an Executive Board
was assembled from fellow music enthusiasts who share the same strong
passion for classical piano music and who understand the important role it plays in elevating the cultural life of our communities.
With the encouragement
and assistance of Jerome Barry, Director of the Embassy Series, Washington
International Piano Arts Council (WIPAC) successfully launched its first
public event at the La Maison Française of the French Embassy, on April
24, 2002, featuring four winners of international piano competitions for outstanding amateurs chosen from Paris, Forth Worth (Van Cliburn),
and Boston. The concert, aptly titled WINNERS GRAND
PRIX CONCERT, was very well received by the public. News of that successful
event in 2002 traveled fast. Immediately afterwards, Mr. Keith Peoples of the Society
of the Cincinnati, extended an invitation to WIPAC to help revive their
tradition of offering piano concerts to the general public at the Anderson House Museum. WIPAC offered
to present a Fall and Spring Piano Concert Series for the 2002-2003
season. The first WIPAC/Anderson House concert was held on September
11, 2002, with pianist Martin Berkofsky a Liszt recital
expressing the sentiments of this memorable day. This was followed by
a stunning performance of great works of Ravel by pianist Eric Himy in October, 2002.
WIPAC's Anderson House Piano Concert Series continued until 2010 with 4 piano concerts every year. Many memorable programs have been presented by great professional pianists, including Frederic Chiu, Eric Himy, Stuart Isacoff, Silvanna Santinelli, Raymond Jackson, David Witten,Tzvetan Konstantinov, Frank Conlon, Michael Lewin, Janice Weber, and many others,
The WIPAC piano concert tradition continues today at the Kosciuszko Foundation American Polish Center for the Arts, Washington Office, at 2025 O Street NW, Washington, DC. Each year WIPAC presents the winner of its Washington International Piano Artists Competition and the remaining 3 concerts are offered by professional pianists. All 4 concerts are offered to the public free of charge.
One of WIPAC's most interesting annual events is the Winners Grand Prix Concert in April, a fundraising event for the summer piano competition. It features 4 non-professional pianist, all winners of various international piano competitions, in one evening of performances; thus, to demonstrate the high level of artistry these kinds of pianists have succeeded in achieving over a lifetime, despite their full time work in professions other than piano performance. They perform primarily for the "love" of music.
WIPAC received accreditation as a non profit organization under the IRS Section 501(c)3 in December 2002. Since then, the organization has subsisted through the generous support of its membership and foundation grants.
Thanks to the continuing generosity of many donors, WIPAC presents piano concerts throughout the year in cooperation with embassies located in Washington, DC. WIPAC extends its thanks to many embassies in the Washington, DC area who have cooperated with the organization to present cultural events. WIPAC offers its special thanks to the Embassies of Luxembourg, Portugal, Malaysia, Philippines, Poland, Iceland, Finland, Madagascar, Malta, Austria, Slovakia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Russia, France, and Mexico, for their unfailing and continuing support of WIPAC's important cultural mission in the Washington, DC community.
The highlight of every year is WIPAC's Festival of Music and the Washington International Piano Artists Competition. The competition is open to pianists 31 years of age and above who are not professional pianists. The competition is tradionally held in the first week of August or last week of July, on a Wednesday through Sunday timeframe, in cooperation with The George Washington University Music Department, and with the continued support of various international embassies and organizations in Washington, DC.
One of WIPAC's greatest assets is a treasure trove of recordings and more recently video performances of the rounds of the Annual Festival of Music and International Piano Competition, available here on this website either referenced on the HOME page, COMPETITIONS page, or more historically, under the HIGHLIGHTS page of the website. Various press reviews and photos can be found on the PRESS CORNER page.
For more information, please contact us. Become a member with instructions that can be found on our MEMBERSHIP page.