Joker's Waltz, Music by Alexander Peskanov
   About Peskanov's Piano Olympics

         I began to experiment with implementing the traditions of the Russian Piano School by creating a non-competitive event called the "Piano Olympics". This program is designed to measure each student's progress in musical skills. The students are evaluated in groups by participating teachers and a visiting artist (Piano Olympics consultant). According to the standards set forth in the "Piano Olympics Manual", they are judged in six categories: concentration, rhythm, tone quality, relaxed wrist action, articulation and correct fingering. In addition, students are coached by a Piano Olympics consultant in master classes where they perform etudes and repertoire. The highlight of the Piano Olympics is the awards ceremony where the visiting artist, students and teachers join forces in performing a mini-recital and a marathon of scales. The students proudly demonstrate their accomplishments through polished performances of a variety of scales, arpeggios, chromatics and octaves.

         Through the Olympics, all the participants gain a sense of companionship and teamwork as they perform for each other. Teachers offer constructive comments and have the opportunity to express their ideas in a friendly atmosphere. And besides all this - it's fun!!

         As a concert artist, I always wanted to meet my audiences "up close and personal" and the Piano Olympics has provided me with a great opportunity to make many friends across the country. In return, it has provided many students and teachers with the opportunity to observe how a concert artist prepares for a performance. Students are inspired as they watch how I warm-up before playing Rachmaninoff or Prokofieff concertos. They're curious as to how I acheived such technical freedom and make difficult passages sound so easy! They realize that my practicing routine is reflected in the technical requirements that they prepare for the Piano Olympics. The students feel inspired to practice and meet the challenge to excel and rise to the next level. In addition, parents have a better appreciation of the efforts of the students and teachers. This creates better educated audiences for classical music in general!

         Piano Olympics also provides me with the gratifying experience of sharing my compositions with teachers and students. It's wonderful to relate how my pieces were created and students have the unique opportunity to meet a living composer. I am able to express my thoughts on interpretation and style much like an "intimate portrait." These stories and ideas might even be passed on to future generations.

         The first Piano Olympics was held in Kingsport, Tennessee in 1991. Since that time, the movement has spread across the country involving hundreds and hundreds of piano enthusiasts. I am very grateful for all the wonderful moments I have shared, and the hard work and dedication of so many! I am excited that this website will open the door into the world of Piano Olympics and create links between so many dedicated pianists! Please visit us often and share your comments and suggestions.

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