Cloister Stairs and garden
hile it’s located only four hours south of Dallas, the Round Top Festival Institute is a world away. Nestled in the tiny (population: 90) town of Round Top, a few miles off U.S. 290 between Austin and Houston, the Festival Institute has enriched the artistic lives of countless students and visitors since its inception in 1971; this summer season marks its 49th year. The internationally acclaimed concert pianist James Dick is RTFI’s Founder and Artistic Director, and his vision has grown from a 10-day festival for 10 piano students into a sixweek orchestral festival that currently draws around 100 of the world’s crème de la crème music students and nearly 50 renowned instructors and conductors as faculty. Today the Festival Institute boasts 30+ concerts in its June/July summer season, and also hosts an August-to-April Concert Series, the International Guitar Festival, the Theatre Forum, the Poetry Forum, the Herbal Forum, for a total of more than 50 events annually. With an “Old World” atmosphere imparted through its restored historical buildings from La Grange and Hempstead, its lushly curated grounds, and its magnificent, acoustically marvelous 1,000-seat Festival Concert Hall, Round Top Festival Institute is a 210-acre oasis for music and the arts. Only in Texas, there’s nothing else like it anywhere. Pianist James Dick’s stellar career took off in the 1960s, when, within a single year, he was a top winner in the Tchaikovsky, Busoni, and Leventritt international competitions; he’s been concertizing ever since. But with time on his hands in the summer months he thought he’d like to teach, recalling his own students and festivals that he
The Menke House was built in 1902.
The Fountain Garden
Aerial view of Round Top Festival Institute's Concert Hall