This June, in Benasque, Spain, piano students and faculty gathered—from Russia, Japan, China, Mongolia and Dellwood, Minnesota. “It’s a magical place,” says piano teacher Reid Smith as he describes the 13th- century mountain town.
The Benasque International Competition, which included lessons and performances, gave competitors the opportunity to show off their skills and love for music, individually and accompanied by an orchestra. When asked about which awards his 15 students won, Smith proclaims, “Everything!” Matthew Bennett won first prize, John Michael Berdusco won second, Ajay Manika won third, and Darien Hull won second in the 6–9 age group.
Next August, Smith will be taking 55 pianists, parents and observers to St. Petersburg, Russia, an opportunity “too spectacular to say no to,” says Smith. The group will perform in museums and palaces, and be lodged in the government palace hotel.
Smith teaches students of all ages (currently his students range from 3–70) and he can take non-students to Russia in 2017 with an audition. Lessons began in September and the St. Petersburg participants will be chosen by February. To inquire about lessons, contact Reid Smith at 651.407.6965 or firstname.lastname@example.org.