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. Mr. van der Westhuizen is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Cleveland International Piano Competition,and he brings a multi-faceted experience and approach to his activities with this world-class organization.
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. As duo, they have performed across the U.S. and South Africa, where they also teach master classes. 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, where they shared the stage with artists such as Ann Schein, Wu Han, Jeremy Denk and James Tocco. 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 AfricaUNISA Concert Series in South Africa, as well as OSU/Port Clinton Arts Festival in Ohio, the “Music at Covenant” series (Cincinnati), Firelands Concert Series, Lakeside Summer Music Festival, and St. Mary’s College in Indiana. They were featured on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series in Chicago, which was broadcast live on NPR and PBS, and have just finished recording 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, Chautauqua Institute, and served on the piano faculty of Heidelberg University prior to his appointment in Cleveland.