After a grueling five week period of offering solo, chamber, and concerto literature, our beloved Kenny Broberg was just declared the WINNER of the American Pianists Association (APA) Competition.!! The competition is one of the most lucrative in the world. Kenny won $100,000. and will be supported over the next 3 years with concerts, residencies, publicity, and more. The entire downtown of Kansas City was lighted in Kenny's honor as he resides there to work with his current coach, Stanislov Ioudenitch, the great Russian teacher. Kenny, Jo Anne, and I cried. However, Kenny did more than light the lights of Kansas City - he lit the lights of the world. He is a true American Hero.
Jo Anne and I have been very busy the last several years connecting so many "dots" of our lives. The American Pianists Association happens to be housed in Indianapolis at Butler University's College of Fine Arts in Lilly Hall. This is the very building where Jo Anne and I met those many years ago when I was 17 and she was 19. This is the very place where we studied with our mentor and teacher, Martin Marks, for so many years. He, in fact, introduced us. To this day, I have never known a greater interpreter of music or a more deeply feeling man of music than Mr. Marks. He was our musical father. He has sustained Jo Anne and me through all the difficult days of our lives by the sheer love of it all. He had a very tough life but never gave in. He was an electric being. He could sing a phrase to Jo Anne and me and that was it. It was everything. So much of Kenny's core artistic principles came from Mr. Marks through me. I was the conduit. I have been blessed by the honor of it all. Kenny never had the chance to meet Mr. Marks, but Mr. Marks heard a tape of Kenny when he was just 10 years old. He could not believe it. He talked about it for days.
The icing on the cake - when it comes to Kenny - is that he is such a loving and beautiful human being. His music making is filled with this love. I believe this is the most important aspect of the communicative power that creates an unshakable bond with his audiences. He never ever thinks of serving himself first. It is always the music. This is what Mr. Marks always preached to us and this is what
Jo Anne and I try to pass down to our students. He always said "If you want to serve yourself and others, serve your music first."
Bless you, Kenny. You are a true American Hero serving the most profound and beautiful utterances of the human spirit.
With Love and Devotion -
Joe & Jo Anne