American pianist Sean Kennard has won top prizes in competitions around the world including the Queen Elisabeth (Belgium), International Competition of Vina del Mar (Chile), Vendome Prize (Portugal), Sendai International Music Competition (Japan), Hilton Head International Piano Competition (USA), National Chopin Competition (USA), the Iowa Piano Competition (USA), American Pianists Association, and the International Chopin Competition of the Pacific (USA).
Pianist Richard Goode praised Kennard as “an extraordinary pianist, one of the most gifted I have ever heard…a most natural and unaffected performer, who conveys a calm authority even while whipping up a storm…He is also a fine and sensitive musician, who can convey a remarkable range of feeling while retaining a sense of balance and proportion.” Mr. Goode described one of Kennard’s performances of Chopin’s 24 Preludes as “tremendously vivid in its contrasts of light and dark, exciting virtuosity and lyric introspection,” summing up: “it was perhaps the most satisfying performance of the work I have heard.” The Washington Post applauded Kennard’s “powerful and involved music making,” describing him as “a strong luminous pianist.” His 2011 debut album received a rave review in American Record Guide, which pronounced it “a hidden gem,” attesting to its “perfect blend of lyricism and romantic passion, huge romantic sound, and bold melodic vision,” and proclaiming that he “plays Chopin’s Preludes with more poise and vision than most pianists who have recorded them.” Fanfare affirmed the enthusiastic reception, citing “Kennard’s mastery of Chopin’s idiom,” its “impression of complete effortlessness” and “emotional responsiveness.” Kennard has also released albums on Naxos, Delos and Centaur.
Kennard has appeared as soloist with orchestras around the world including the Prague Radio Symphony, NHK Chamber Orchestra and Osaka Symphony Orchestra (Japan), National Orchestra of Belgium, Chamber Orchestra of Frankfurt, Morocco Philharmonic, Chile Symphony Orchestra, Montevideo Philharmonic, Charleston Symphony, Honolulu Symphony, and others throughout the United States and abroad. He has appeared in recital and chamber music in such venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Salle Cortot (Paris), Palais des Beaux-arts (Brussels), Gulbenkian Foundation (Lisbon), Chopin Society (Warsaw), Teatro Caio Melisso (Spoleto), Tokyo Opera City Hall, Seoul Arts Center, Hong Kong City Hall, Mohamed V Theater (Morocco), Teatro del Lago (Chile), and many more.
Sean’s first teacher was Ellen Masaki. He received a Bachelor of Music from the Curtis Institute of Music, winning the institute’s Sergei Rachmaninoff Award, given to one graduating pianist each year. After subsequent work with pianist Enrique Graf he received a Master of Music from the Juilliard School (studios of Jerome Lowenthal and Robert McDonald) and spent the following two years working with Richard Goode. In 2020 He completed his Doctor of Musical Arts at Yale University in the studio of Boris Berman. Since 2017 he has served on the faculty of Stetson University’s School of Music as chair of the piano area. He is artistic director of the Great Pianists at Stetson recital series and the Stetson Piano Scholars festival.
Sean Kennard is a Steinway artist.