Created in 1989 to honor the legacy of Irving S. Gilmore, the organization is known for its biennial Gilmore Piano Festival, a three-week celebration of piano music; the Gilmore Awards, a regular series of awards presented to deserving pianists based on a non-competitive process; and commissioning of composers to create new works for the piano. Since 1989, 14 biennial Festivals have been enjoyed by thousands of visitors to west Michigan. Eight Gilmore Artists and 36 Gilmore Young Artists have been recognized, and 35 new works have been created for the piano.
Two distinctive concert series—Piano Masters and Rising Stars—ensure that world-class piano music is presented continually. In addition, a major program dedicated to community engagement and music education touches the lives of thousands of area children and adults by offering neighborhood concerts, piano lessons in elementary schools, music therapy, group lessons for adults, toddler-friendly concert experiences, summer piano camp, master classes, and much more.