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Renowned Pianists to Perform at U of U Summerarts Piano Festival

July 17, 2003 — The University of Utah SummerArts Piano Festival is an on-site camp that offers young pianists and college students master classes and competitions. This year the event will be held Aug. 6 through 9. While festival courses are structured for the 200 to 300 registered participants, special performances by festival featured artists Ana Maria Trenchi Bottazzi and Juana Zayas will be given for the public. Bottazzi will perform on Thursday, Aug. 7, at 7:30. Juana Zayas will present on Friday, Aug. 8, at 7:30 p.m. Both concerts will be held in Libby Gardner Hall on the University of Utah campus. Tickets are $5 and $3 for students and seniors. For more information on the concerts call 801-581-4062.

Renowned pianists, Bottazzi and Zayas both took time off from their professional careers, but returned to perform more than a decade later.

Born in Buenos Aires, Bottazzi was trained by her piano-teacher mother. By age two she could name any note her mother played on the piano. By age 10 she was concertizing. When she was 13 years old she went to Paris to study. She eventually earned three master’s degrees in music and two doctorates. After a 1961 world tour at age 23, and the year before her New York debut, Bottazzi’s Fiat plowed into a truck on an icy road in Brussels. She was released from the hospital but began experiencing partial paralysis, blindness and headaches. Her doctor removed 15 blood clots and replaced her forehead with a platinum plate. He told her she would never play the piano again. She spent the next 13 years recovering her physical and mental abilities and returned to the concert stage in 1974. She played Carnegie Hall from 1980 to 1993 and could play 3,000 pieces from memory. Her treatment for breast cancer in 1993 left her unable to use her left arm for a year. She is the author of the 1978 autobiography To Live Again and is the founder of the Pincault School of Music, named after her teacher and mentor. She has played for former President George Bush and the Pope.

Similar to Bottazzi, Zayas’ prodigious talent emerged very early. At age seven she gave her first solo recital, performing works by Beethoven, Handel and Chopin. Four years later she graduated from the Peyrellade Conservatory in her native Havana. She attended the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris where she studied piano with Joseph Benvenuti and chamber music with Rene Le Roy. While in Paris she met and married a research chemist and followed him to England, then to the United States, where she continued her studies with David Bar-Illan, Josef Raieff and Adele Marcus. The arrival of three sons in quick succession brought a temporary halt to her performing career. She emerged from her retirement 15 years later to glowing reviews. A few years ago, after reviewing the discography of Chopin’s Etudes, International Piano Quarterly’s Donald Manildi called Zayas’ recording the best of the century. She has performed throughout Europe, South America and the U.S. She opened the 1999 and 2000 Newport Music Festivals in Newport, R.I., with all-Chopin programs and played all of Chopin’s Etudes at the 2000 World Piano Pedagogy Conference in Las Vegas, Nev.

“SummerArts is the only festival in Utah that’s been consistently operating for more than 30 years,” notes Bonnie P. Gritton, associate professor of music at the U and co-director of the festival, along with Susan Duehlmeier, U professor of music. “The festival features master classes and competitions-sight reading, theory and performance. This year we are especially pleased to present these two important artists who regularly play to packed audiences in New York.”