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The Royal Conservatory Launches the Celebration Series®, Sixth Edition with Star-Studded Event

The Royal Conservatory Launches the Celebration Series®, Sixth Edition with Star-Studded Event

Published on April 28, 2022

The Royal Conservatory Launches the Celebration Series®, Sixth Edition with Star-Studded Event

Music teachers across North America were honoured at a special gala in Koerner Hall to launch The Royal Conservatory’s highly anticipated Celebration Series®, Sixth Edition for piano – an event that featured performances by an array of internationally acclaimed artists and RCM alumni, and tributes from celebrity guests.

Royal Conservatory Artist in Residence Stewart Goodyear gave a moving performance of "Land of the Misty Giants", by Oscar Peterson, after thanking his music teacher, James Anagnoson, Dean of The Glenn Gould School, for giving him the inspiration and drive to succeed. “One of the things I will always treasure about studying with Jim is how he gave me time to talk about recordings and interpretations ... These discussions about artists and what they contributed to our art form were as important to me as our lessons.”

Other leading artists such as RCM Honorary Fellow Lang Lang and RCM alumna Angela Hewitt performed well-known repertoire from the new series while performers such as composer Heather Schmidt, pianist Dianne Werner, and International Fryderyk Chopin Competition laureate Tony Yike Yang gave world premiere performances of several RCM-commissioned pieces.

Many shared fond memories of their formative years learning to play piano, including award-winning RCM alumnus Jan Lisiecki, who said: “I grew up with the Celebration Series® and I have very fond memories of discovering the repertoire and learning the piano through these books. It’s wonderful to have a balance of different styles and composers.”

Also featured were celebrity tributes by Eugene Levy, David Foster, and Paul Schaffer, who all shared the importance of learning music as a key foundational element of their professional success.

The 22-book collection of repertoire and etudes from Preparatory levels to Level 10 contains 514 pieces by composers from over 20 countries including exclusive commissions along with beloved classics. The curated series includes a rich diversity of styles of music not found elsewhere and is perfect for skill development.

Dr. Peter Simon, President and CEO of The Royal Conservatory, shared his appreciation for teachers, and their dedication to inspiring students with the transformative power of music. He announced The Royal Conservatory will provide free sets of the new Celebration Series® books to 20,000 music teachers as a way of saying thank you for their dedication to instructing students using the curriculum. Vice President Academics and Publishing, Elaine Rusk, provided additional details about the giveaway.

“Music teachers provide an invaluable service to students and society at large – much of which is not sufficiently recognized,” said Dr. Simon. “The unprecedented gift of printed Celebration Series® books will enable us to continue our vital support of music teachers so they can continue to inspire students.”

In addition, Dr. Janet Lopinski, Senior Director, Academic Programs, and Barry Shiffman, Associate Dean and Director of Chamber Music at The Glenn Gould School, also announced a new Music Lights the Way Piano Festival, which will offer more than $200,000 in prizes and be open to piano students of all ages and levels across North America.

“The festival will include two rounds of competitions followed by a Grand Finale in February in Koerner Hall featuring celebrity judges,” said Lopinski. “This is going to be a great opportunity for students to demonstrate their creativity and self-expression through music, while receiving recognition for their achievements.”

Several of the composers with works featured in the Celebration Series® also spoke, including Vincent Ho, who composed pieces inspired by the Chinese Zodiac and tailored to the educational needs of students in Levels 2 to 7. His daughter, Claudio Ho, performed two of his pieces. Composer Gary K Thomas introduced his daughter, Hope Thomas, as she performed his work titled "Flip Flops". And prominent educators Marvin Blickenstaff, Randall Faber, and Steven Pierce also spoke about the importance of the series to their students and the teaching community at large.

For more than 135 years, the mission of The Royal Conservatory of Music has been to develop human potential through leadership in music education and the arts. The RCM Certificate Program is the foundation of our educational mission, providing students with a pedagogically sound, sequenced program for music study and achievement from Elementary through Advanced levels. More than five million people have studied the program and have become lifelong learners of music and the arts.

Watch Music Lights The Way

Barry Shiffman and Dr. Janet Lopinski

Elaine Rusk

Heather Schmidt

Dr. Peter Simon

Dianne Werner

Randall Faber

Stewart Goodyear

Vincent Ho

Stewart Goodyear and James Anagnoson

Dr. Peter Simon with Student