During the desert’s high season, there’s so much happening throughout the Palm Springs Valley that it’s inevitable that some healthy crossover will occur. Such will be the case on Tuesday, February 25, when the Virginia Waring International Piano Competition comes to the City of Rancho Mirage’s Public Library. A bit confused? Let me clarify…
On that evening, from 7 to 8 p.m., Dr. James Giles, a fabled alum of the famed tickling ivories contest, will perform in the community room of the book nook at 71-100 Highway 111. This event dedicated to classical music is free and open to the public, and is just one of the many events that regularly take place at the library throughout the year.
Back in 1999, the Virginia Waring was known as the Joanna Hodges International Piano Competition, and it was in that year that Dr. Giles—a native of High Point, North Carolina who currently serves as the coordinator of the piano program and director of graduate studies at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music in Evanston, Illinois—won awards in 10 of 11 divisions. The virtuoso has also garnered first prizes at the New Orleans International Piano Competition and at the Music Teachers National Association Competition. He studied with such great masters as Byron Janus at the Manhattan School of Music, Jerome Lowenthal at the Juilliard School, Nelita True at the Eastman School of Music, and Robert Shannon at Oberlin College. Dr. Giles received early career assistance from the Clarisse B. Kampel Foundation, and was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Italy with the legendary pianist Lazar Berman.
So, if a little piano night music is what your doctor ordered, come out and lend your ears to the talented and enchanting Dr. Giles, who has performed a collection of works from some of the world’s greatest composers—including Franz Schubert, Franz Liszt, Sergei Prokofiev, and Richard Wagner—throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. Even better, make an affair out of it by dining at one of Rancho Mirage’s world-class restaurants before or after the performance.