Wideman continues to attract world-class pianists to Shreveport

Dec 5, 2014

The 64th Wideman Piano Competition begins Friday, Dec. 5, and runs through the weekend at Centenary College’s Hurley School of Music. The competition features 43 young pianists from around the world. The competition’s executive director Lester Senter Wilson says it’s events like this one that will help promote classical music.

Lester Senter Wilson says over the years of planning the Wideman Competition the young musicians have become like children to her.
Credit Kate Archer Kent

“I’ve been in the music business for 30 years. I’m very concerned about classical music and where it’s going to go from here,” Wilson said during an interview at the Shreveport Symphony Guild House. “The answer is in the youth and the young people who are coming up. It's important for them not only to be excellent,  but they have to learn how to make a niche for themselves in a way to communicate to different parts of the community.”

The competitors and their 37 teachers represent schools including Boston University, the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Curtis Institute and Julliard. Wilson hopes the contest attracts an audience of newcomers to classical music.

“You don’t have to know anything about music, you just have to be willing to come and listen. You never know how it’s going to affect you. It may move you to tears. You make want to get up and yell and scream. You may just want to sit there. If you don’t try it you’ll never know,” Wilson said.

The competition was named for the late Nena Wideman, a Centenary piano faculty member, for her contributions to the contest.

Preliminary rounds are free and scheduled from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Final competition will begin at 1 p.m. Sunday. There will be a $10 per person admission charge for the finals.