ianoForte Foundation is dedicated to preserving and promoting the art of the piano in Chicago and creating a vibrant piano community that closely connects audiences and artists. We bring excitement and appreciation for piano music to a wide audience through high-quality concerts, festivals, competitions, education, outreach, and public broadcasts.
We achieve this mission by:
Thomas Zoells established PianoForte Foundation in April 2005, one year after he opened PianoForte Chicago, a piano store, in the historic Fine Arts Building in downtown Chicago. Shortly after the store’s opening, Thomas began organizing a concert series as a natural extension of his business, demonstrating his passion for the instrument and its repertoire. Quickly, the concert series took on a life of its own and inspired a vision of an organization that would enrich Chicago’s piano culture, artists, and audiences alike. That vision led to the creation of PianoForte Foundation, an independent, nonprofit, separately incorporated entity. Though the two businesses share a name, the Foundation does not exist to promote the store, nor does it receive financial support from the store.
In our first season, we presented 15 free solo and chamber music recitals and one Schubertiade festival with much success. We now offer 30+ concerts and events per season at three small-sized venues in Chicago and Oak Brook; our signature annual Schubertiade festival; the biennial Chicago Amateur Piano Competition; and regular radio broadcasts on 98.7 WFMT and 90.9fm WDCB. The artists we present range from young rising stars to university faculty members to established local and international talent, playing genres from classical and jazz to experimental. Our community outreach activities include student field trips, partnerships with a vast array of local arts and cultural organizations, the Gift of Pianos donation program, and a variety of classes and workshops.
“It’s probably a cliché to say that I didn’t choose music, it chose me. But it’s true. Throughout most of my formative years, I planned to go into science or medicine…”