A 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization
Tax ID # 33-0025613

The Brief History of PSIPC

History os palm springs international piano competition
Today’s Palm Springs International Piano Competition is the third iteration of this flourishing
non-profit organization.
Beginning in 1979, the Competition started as a segment of a piano conference at the College of the Desert. Named after its founder, Joanna Hodges, it was staffed by volunteers, and funded by Joanna’s mother, Marjorie. Viewed as an important springboard for rising stars of the solo and orchestral piano repertoire, the Competition hosted aspiring young artists from around the world, launching many into significant musical careers.
As the Competition grew, it evolved from an annual conference into an international event then held every four years, awarding solo and concerto performance prizes throughout the U.S. and Europe to winners. During this time, many professional musicians became ardent supporters, including long-time resident and world renown concert pianist, Virginia Waring.

Peggy Cravens & her influence on PSIPC

When in the 1990’s, Hodges left the area and the Competition began to languish, Dr. John Norman, COD Performing Arts Chair, suggested to Virginia Waring that “we need to resurrect the Competition under your name.” She agreed, provided it was properly funded, and promptly brought in the beautiful and talented Peggy Cravens to do just that.
Peggy, a former child singing star with radio, stage and television experience, had honed her fundraising skills as an astute and dedicated philanthropist in New York, chairing fundraising events for the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and other major organizations including the Metropolitan Opera.
Peggy took The Waring (as it later became known) to new heights with her leadership and consummate fundraising skills, eventually becoming President and, finally, Chairman of the Board of the organization.

During “The Peggy Years”

During “the Peggy Years”, the Competition itself grew more sophisticated with the addition of full orchestra for the Concerto Finals in all three divisions of the Competition: Junior (ages 12 and under) Intermediate (13-17), and Senior (18-32).
Winners of the Competition are awarded not only monetary prizes, but the most coveted prize of all – performance opportunities – and in such venues as Vienna, London, Rome, New York City (Carnegie Hall), Denver, Snowmass, San Francisco and across the Coachella Valley.
As Peggy continued at the helm as Chairman of the Board, the organization experienced a growth that came with a new sense of style and sophistication, most recently reflected in its shift from exclusively classical piano to the broader panorama of all that the piano has to offer, including jazz and contemporary music.
This reinvigoration was also mirrored in the Board of Directors’ decisions to rename the organization the Palm Springs International Piano Competition (PSIPC), and to relocate its offices to the city of Palm Springs.

Palm Springs International Piano Competition (today)

Today, under President Joe Giarrusso and Artistic Director Robert Koenig, the Competition remains paramount but with an extended focus on presenting robust musical events with piano and other instruments that will expand, enrich and enhance the musical experience of the audience.
In point of fact, many of the members of the PSIPC Board are accomplished musicians well-versed and schooled in any number of musical instruments as well as voice. As Directors and performers, the PSIPC Board is committed to bringing enlightened education, exciting performances, and an exuberant love of music to the Coachella Valley and beyond.