POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- More than 30 of the top musicians are coming to Poughkeepsie this weekend, hoping to win a trip to Tuscany.
The 45th annual Hudson Valley Philharmonic String Competition is being held at Skinner Hall at Vassar College on March 18 and March 19. Two former winners will be judging the competition.
The first prize winner will receive $3,000, a solo performance with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic and a recital at the Paesaggi Musicali Toscani in August in Tuscany with famous pianist Bruno Canino.
This international competition attracts a young musical talent from prestigious conservatories in the U.S. and abroad. The contest began in 1966 under the direction of Maestro Claude Monteux, who was at that time the Hudson Valley Philharmonic’s artistic director/conductor. It was originally started as a way to find string players for the orchestra.
Steven Slade, a Dutchess County native, and Tuscany resident is responsible for the Tuscany prize, having offered it the last two years. His parents attended the first Hudson Valley Philharmonic String Competition.
"Offering a recital in Tuscany is something I've always wanted to do," Slade said. "I figured it would help the competition. The winner has a chance to stay for the entire festival and mingle and meet with other musicians."
After graduating from high school, Slade studied music, ending up in London and later ended up in Italy, performing with an Italian orchestra.
"One year became two, two years became three," Slade said. "Soon you realize that you're not going back."
Slade now returns to the area about once a year, attending the competition and greeting the winner.
The Hudson Valley Philharmonic String Competition is open to the public at no charge. For more information call the Bardavon Box Office at 845.473.2072 or log on to www.bardavon.org.