The mission of the American Pianists Association is to discover, promote and advance the careers of young, American, world-class jazz and classical pianists. The non-profit organization nurtures the artistic growth of America’s top young pianists by focusing on creative expression and career development while holding the nation’s premier jazz and classical competitions.
The American Pianists Awards are held every two years for jazz or classical competition. Winners receive cash and two-years of career assistance valued at over $100,000, making this one of the most coveted prizes in the music world and the largest for American jazz pianists. The innovative 13-month-long Awards, unique in the world of piano competitions, provide a platform to deeply engage pianists in a variety of creative formats and settings.
Pianist Victor Borge, Kimball International executive Tony Habig and Carnegie Hall director Julius Bloom created the Beethoven Foundation in 1979 to identify and groom young pianists for international competition and careers. The first National Piano Fellowship Auditions were held in 1981 in New York City and in 1982 the Foundation moved its headquarters to Indianapolis, Indiana.
In 1989 the Foundation changed its name to the American Pianists Association to reflect a broader scope supporting both classical and jazz pianists, and the first jazz competition was held in 1992.
In 2010, the American Pianists Awards moved to a new schedule that continues today. The Awards are held every two years, alternating between jazz and classical competition and awarding a single winner.
Today the American Pianists Awards stand as America’s premier jazz and classical awards. The American Pianists Association maintains partnerships with many cultural, educational and professional organizations worldwide, including the Kennedy Center, six acclaimed American orchestras, Mack Avenue Records, Steinway Records, and the Dvořák Society of the Czech Republic. For more information about the organization and the Awards, please visit AmericanPianists.org.
Made possible by the Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation, Inc. and Friends of the Library through gifts to the Indianapolis Public Library Foundation.