The mission of Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concerts is to enhance the quality of life in our community by giving our citizens the opportunity to hear, in an intimate concert setting, highly acclaimed keyboard artists of great experience and reputation, and younger performers of exceptional virtuosity and significant achievement early in their careers.
Such artists are customarily heard only in the world’s most exclusive venues such as Carnegie Hall in New York, Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Vienna’s Konzerthaus, or the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam where the price of admission is extraordinarily high and access for many in our community is difficult to achieve. Noteworthy artists who have been part of the Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard concerts include Emanuel Ax, Richard Goode, Radu Lupu, Paul Badura-Skoda, the late Ruth Laredo, Angela Hewitt, Garrick Ohlsson, and Philippe Entremont.
For 46 years Keyboard Concerts has been presenting to Central California audiences pianists and organists of world renown as well as younger performers of exceptional virtuosity and significant achievement early in their careers.
Keyboard Concerts was founded in 1972 by the late German-American pianist Philip Lorenz who had arrived in Fresno from the East Coast and was appointed Professor of Piano at California State University, Fresno in 1969. As a performer Philip Lorenz had toured the United States as well as Europe, South America, and the Far East. In 1959 he broadcast for the Chopin and Schumann centennials in Munich and Stuttgart. He had also served as assistant to the great Claudio Arrau in master classes worldwide as well as the edition of the 32 Beethoven piano sonatas for Edition Peters.
Under the auspices of the Free College Foundation, the initial recitals took place at a variety of locations such as Stephenson Music Center, Northwest Church, The Tower Theatre, and the Memorial Auditorium in downtown Fresno. After separation from the Free College Foundation in 1990 a Board of Directors was formed and the organization received non-profit status.
In 1992, after the untimely death of Prof. Lorenz, president and artistic director, Andreas Werz was appointed by the Board as his successor, and the series was renamed “Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concerts” in honor of its founder and director for 20 years. In the same year, the series moved to the Concert Hall in the new music building at California State University, Fresno.
Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concerts continues the tradition of presenting seasoned artists of international reputation as well as younger talents and winners of international competitions. It also has always been a feature of the series to include artists of highly diverse ethnic backgrounds as well as presenting the widest possible spectrum of keyboard repertoire spanning many centuries and styles from Rameau to Corigliano and Harbison. Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concerts is highly respected by international artists and managements as well as the local public and press, and has established itself as one of the leading recital series in the country. The late Luis Costa, Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at California State University, Fresno and Vice-President of the organization for many years, succinctly explained the community impact of the Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concerts when he said, “I know of no other piano and organ performance series, anywhere, which offers to a community of our size such artistry, affordability, dependability, reputation, and longevity.”