This week an internationally-acclaimed music event takes place in Columbia: The Southeastern Piano Festival, created and produced by University of South Carolina music professors Joseph Rackers and Marina Lomazov. Though its name sounds regional, in reality it draws high school applicants and world-class judge/performers from all across the United States and beyond. The producers tell us how they conceived the festival 15 years ago, and what attracts the finest applicants to vie for the 20 spots that the competition accepts. A former winner, Zach Hughes of Greenville, went on to graduate from Julliard, but still returns each year to help out, and sometimes perform as a guest artist. Of the judges, who also give concerts and teach the festival participants, he says "These are names you’ll run into in Carnegie Hall . Top names in the world, and you can hear them here in Columbia, S.C."