In 2013, pianist and teacher Snezana Krstic had a wonderful vision for aspiring young pianists—a summer piano festival that would provide unparalleled opportunity for enrichment and greatly enhance Arizona’s rapidly-expanding musical community. Growing up in her native Serbia, Snezana found her own experiences at prominent European summer festivals invaluable. She reveled in the intense environment they shared, where she received different perspectives from various eminent musicians in a single setting. To carry the torch from Serbia to Arizona, Snezana embarked upon a mission to create Arizona Piano Institute, a program that would offer pianists a high-level experience similar to those she cherished from youth.

Snezana combined forces with like-minded colleagues, Mr. Don Morse and Dr. Ann Nagell, to form the first Board of Directors. API launched its first annual Summer Festival in 2014 on the campus of Central United Methodist Church, neighboring the Phoenix Art Museum and Arizona Opera in the thriving arts district downtown. Forty-one pianists, ranging in age from 9-21, immersed themselves in a week of masterclasses, workshops, performances, and enjoyable summertime activities. API’s core mission this and every year since has focused on students benefitting from concentrated study with a faculty composed of internationally renowned soloists, collaborators, and pedagogues. These pivotal mentors, at the pinnacle of their art form, freely share their ideas and insights, molding and shaping future musicians. They serve as role models for those aspiring not only to become great artists, but also successful citizens.

Thanks to generous sponsors, API has been able to expand its program to present concerts, masterclasses, and other events throughout the season, featuring guest artists and alumni. These events are always free or at nominal cost, as API is committed to making classical music readily available to the public.

In 2018, API was granted independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, elected a new Artistic Director, Dr. Jessica J. Yam, and expanded its Board of Directors and Associates, all of whom remain dedicated to supporting the vision and mission upon which API was founded. API is also fortunate to have devoted interns and volunteers who are instrumental in making the summer festivals and special events a success.

The Institute celebrates its fifth season this year. Its Summer Festival continues to be highly regarded by young pianists, teachers, and families. Students who attend gain insights and inspiration from world-class artists, make lifelong friendships with their fellow musicians, and reach ever-greater heights in musical excellence.

Under now Founding Director Snezana Krstic, Arizona Piano Institute is proud to continue its legacy.