The 56th Annual Piano Festival of the

Sponsored by the School of Music of
Western Carolina University
Cullowhee, North Carolina
June 19-22, 2013

The Matthay Festival is designed to offer participants direct and concentrated access to the Matthay teaching principles as they apply at all levels, including that of the performing artist. Daytime sessions include lectures, demonstrations, performances, and master classes, and a recital is heard each evening. The year 2013 marks the fifty-sixth annual gathering. Previous Matthay Festivals have taken place at many locations throughout North America, including the Philips Academy at Andover, Massachusetts, the University of Maryland, the University of Central Florida, the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, San Jose State University, Williams College, Pennsylvania State University, the University of South Carolina, Wittenberg University, the University of Kansas, Columbus State University, the University of Richmond, East Carolina University, King College, and Union University.

The Beethoven Project

This year, a portion of the daily and evening programs will be devoted to the late Sonatas of Beethoven. Along with the two volumes of Bach's Well Tempered Clavier, the sonatas of Beethoven form a canonic part of every serious pianist's repertoire.  Written between 1816 and 1821/22, the last five great sonatas of Opp. 101, 106, 109, 110, and 111 are Beethoven's final exploration of the sonata form for solo piano.  The only subsequent piano works of importance after them are the Diabelli Variations (1823), and two sets of Bagatelles, Op. 119 (1822) and Op. 126 (1824).  Like many of Beethoven's late works, these sonatas were enigmatic to many of his contemporaries, but we now recognize these pieces as representatives of the intellectual and spiritual profundity that mark Beethoven's mature compositional style.  For example, the stylistic characteristics of increasing use of polyphony and counterpoint, the blurring of divisions between movements, and the transcendent quality of the music are apparent in all the sonatas.  All five of the late sonatas begin with sonata-allegro movements, but each has its own special character ranging from the quiet warmth of the opening of Op 101 to the thunderbolt openings of Op. 106 ("Hammerklavier") and Op. 111, and each continues to be a remarkably memorable and unique work to the very end.  Many pianists play at least one or two of the late sonatas; it is less common to play and know all of them intimately.  In this year's Festival, we have the unusual opportunity to hear performances and discussions of all five of the late sonatas in a short time frame, giving us a wonderful survey of Beethoven's thinking about music and the piano toward the end of his career.

Festival Location

Western Carolina University is a member of the University of North Carolina system. The university’s mission is focused on quality education and preparation for responsible citizenship in a changing world. The academic programs include the nation’s highest-ranked entrepreneurship and project management programs and the nation’s first accredited four-year emergency medical care program. The distinguished faculty includes national award-winning authors, nationally and internationally recognized experts, and winners of Emmy, O. Henry, and National Endowment for the Arts awards—to name a few. Western Carolina University is located in Cullowhee, North Carolina, and awards degrees through the doctorate.

RIGHT: The John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center at Western Carolina University

Lodging and Banquet

A block of 25 rooms have been reserved in the Madison Conference Center on the Western Carolina University Campus. These are hotel style rooms with a television, internet, etc. To reserve a room contact Heather Cook at (828) 227-7303 or email her at To reserve your room ask for the “School of Music Conference.” There is no deadline to reserve a room in the block of 25 that have been allocated to the Matthay Festival, and there is no deposit. The fee for the room is $59.75 per night, and can be paid either at check-in or check-out. Cash and check are the two available methods of payment. Rooms will be available for Tuesday arrival, simply state your arrival date at the time of your reservation. Check-out for our group is Sunday, June 23, by 10:00 a.m. because of another conference arriving that afternoon.

The festival banquet will be in the Madison Conference Center on Saturday, June 22. The fee will be $13.00, and attendees will request their entrée of choice from Roast Pork Tenderloin, Chicken Picatta, Chimichurri Flank Steak, or Pasta Primavera on the festival registration form.

Travel to Western Carolina University

It is recommended that participants have access to a car during the festival. The Asheville Regional Airport (pictured) is approximately an hour away from Cullowhee by car. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Charlotte Douglas International Airport are three hours away, and McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville is over two hours away.

For driving directions to the campus, please click here.

Festival Program

Festival Registration

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