We present the finest pianists of today and tomorrow and foster the growth of musicianship in our region through education and inspiration.
The idea for Portland Piano International was conceived and launched by pianist Harold Gray, who started a recital series at Portland State University devoted to the piano that quickly grew from four, to five, to six recitals each season. Across the country other recital series were closing their doors, but before long the PSU Piano Recital Series was regularly selling out with audiences clamoring for more.
By 1995, Saturday night recitals had been added to the sold-out Sunday recitals. In 1999, an annual Summer Festival was added to present even more recitals, along with a diverse array of master classes, lectures and films. In 2005, Portland Piano International was formed as an independent non-profit organization, to carry on the fine tradition established by the PSU Piano Recital Series but separate from Portland State University.
After 35 years, Harold Gray retired at the end of the 2012-13 Season. Arnaldo Cohen replaced him as Artistic Director of Portland Piano International beginning with the 2013-14 Season. Arnaldo completed his tenure after five seasons with the organization. The Series was then renamed the SOLO Piano Series. Harold returned to curate the 2018-19 Season and a guest curator will program the 2019-20 Season.
In its lifetime this Series has presented more than 180 artists in recital and through outreach activities. Some of the greatest artists in the world of music have played for Portland audiences because of this organization. While pianists have many opportunities to play the concerto repertoire, this is one of only a handful of recital series that remains devoted to the solo piano recital. Portland Piano International is a vital part of Portland’s quality cultural life and it has consistently garnered praise from both the local and national media, heralded a “consistently brilliant Piano Recital Series” (Willamette Week) and “one of this city’s musical treasures” (The Oregonian).