With performances described as showcasing the “utmost polish,” “impressive control” with a “broad stylistic spectrum” (Beeld, South Africa), South African pianist Pierre van der Westhuizen has established himself as an accomplished and versatile musician, with critically acclaimed and enthusiastically received performances across South Africa, the USA, and Europe.
Pierre graduated from Northwest University (Potchefstroom) with a double major in Piano Performance and Composition. Pierre has received several prizes, awards and scholarships, which included the M.C. Rhoode Memorial Performance Prize, a grant from the National Research Foundation, winner of the Tuesday Musical Competition (Akron,OH), and an international competition to perform chamber music at the Rome Festival in Italy. He made his concerto debut in 1998, performing with the National Chamber Orchestraof South Africa. He continued his studies in the U.S., completing the Doctor of Musical Arts in piano performance at the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati (2007), under the guidance of Frank Weinstock. His performances have been heard on WCLV (Cleveland) and WYSU (Youngstown), and he continues to perform internationally as soloist and collaborative pianist all over South Africa, the USA, and Europe. He has also appeared as soloist with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra under the
direction of maestro Chelsea Tipton.
Pierre is also part of the Westhuizen Piano Duo, with his wife Sophié. Their interest in new music has led them to premiere numerous works by young South African and American composers. They were the first piano duo to receive fellowships as Young Artists at the prestigious PianoTexas International Academy and Festival (formerly the TCU/Cliburn Institute), as well as Shouse Artists at the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival. Their performances were heard on WGTE (Toledo), Radiosonder Grense and ClassicFM. They were featured as guest artists at the Volksblad Arts Festival, Grahamstown National Arts Festival, Northwest University (Potchefstroom) and the University of South Africa UNISA Concert Series in South Africa, as well as venues across the USA. They were featured on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series in Chicago, which was broadcast live on NPR and PBS, and have recorded the complete works for two pianos by Poulenc, which has been released by AMP Recordings.
Pierre also enjoys teaching, and has previously served as guest artist and faculty member at the Colorado International Piano Academy, Cleveland Institute of Music’s Summer Sonata, and Chautauqua Institute. He has also served as juror for competitions like UNISA (South Africa), Scriabin (Italy), MozArte (Germany) American Pianists Association, and more. Pierre served as President of the Cleveland International Piano Competition from 2010 - 2017, and is currently the Executive and Artistic Director of The Gilmore: www.thegilmore.org