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Steven Spooner

Guest Artist, piano

At the very forefront of American pianists, critics and audiences have unanimously hailed the distinctive and compelling performances of pianist Steven Spooner. “Such a breadth and variety of difficult pieces made me wonder at first if this (recording) was a hoax (Dedications box set). But, no, the DVD proves that Steven Spooner is the real deal, a pianist of apparently limitless raw technique that’s almost note perfect.” “He might be the best faculty pianist I’ve heard” American Record Guide.

Passionately devoted to the solo recital as a platform for innovation, he has been engaged and often re-engaged at prestigious venues such as the Salle Cortot in Paris, the Shanghai Concert Hall, Budapest’s Great Hall of the Liszt Academy, New York’s Carnegie Hall, Rome’s Santa Cecilia, and Singapore’s Esplanade.

During the past seasons he has daringly reinvented the solo recital by allowing audiences to vote on the spot for one of five programs he has prepared and like golden age pianists, his programs often feature his own glittering arrangements and compositions. This season he will perform the cycle of Beethoven Sonatas in a series of fascinating lecture-recitals in addition to duo performances with renowned pianist Sergei Babayan.

In 2016 he released a monumental project of 16 CDs honoring his heroes of the Russian School called Dedications. This mammoth project was met with enormous critical acclaim from all over the globe. His enthusiasm for new music has produced an ongoing collaboration with renowned Deutsche Grammophon composer, Mohammed Fairouz (commissioned by the ROKI Foundation) to premiere and record several of his works during the next few seasons. His latest recording project with renowned Liszt biographer Alan Walker, explores the many facets of the Liszt repertoire.

Steven is prizewinner at each of the seven international piano competitions he has entered and top prizewinner at both the Hilton Head International Piano Competition and the Artlivre International Piano Competition. He captured First Prize and was recipient of the Niekamp Career Grant as most outstanding pianist in French music at the Paris Conservatory. In 2008, he was awarded the Ivory Classics Foundation Prize that enabled him to apprentice with the legendary virtuoso Earl Wild.

Steven is an active collaborator and performs with a diverse and distinguished list of musicians including, the Borromeo Quartet, Pianist Sergei Babayan, Violinist Renaud Capuçon, Silk Road Ensemble Bassist Daxun Zhang, Philadelphia Orchestra Trombonist M. Dee Stewart, and Baritone Chris Thompson. Steven has released more than 30 recordings on the Naxos, A Life of Music, and other recording labels. He has studied at the Moscow and Tbilisi Conservatories in the former Soviet Union, and Indiana University, Bloomington. His teachers have included Earl Wild, the great Georgian pianist Nodar Gabunia, Karen Shaw, Edmund Battersby, and he has coached with such prominent musicians such as Tatiana Nikolayeva, Viktor Merzhanov, and Emile Naoumoff.

Steven has served as guest artist-in-residence at Paris Conservatory Summer Sessions and has been appointed to the artist faculty of many of the leading summer festivals such as the Colburn Music Academy, Amalfi Coast Music Festival, Musicfest Perugia, the International Institute for Young Musicians, the Adam Gyorgy Castle Academy in Budapest, and even his own Steven Spooner Inspire Festival in Singapore. He has just been appointed Artistic Director of the Chicago International Music Competition and Festival.

Steven is increasingly in demand for his masterclasses at major music institutions all over the world such as the Paris Conservatory, Milan Conservatory, Liszt Academy of Music, and the Shanghai and Beijing Conservatories and in America at Peabody, Rice, Indiana, Colburn, Oberlin, and many others. Steven serves on the piano faculty at the University of Kansas and is the winner of the 2014 Scholarly Achievement Award given to faculty members who enhance the university’s international reputation.

A dedicated and caring teacher of students from around the world, Steven’s pupils have been named winners of multiple prizes at important international and national piano competitions and enjoy performing careers of their own. Steven’s students have been accepted at the nation’s top universities and conservatories including Juilliard, Eastman, Peabody, Manhattan School of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music, Oberlin Conservatory, San Francisco Conservatory, University of Southern California, University of Michigan, Indiana University and attended important institutions abroad such as Fulbright winners to the Liszt Academy in Budapest, the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and the St, Petersburg Conservatory in Russia.

Current and former students are top prizewinners of national and international competitions such as the 2018 Metropolitan International Competition, 2017 Dallas Eisenmann International Competition, 2017 San Jose International Competition, 2017 Paderewski International Competition, 2016 Yakov Flier International Competition, the 2017 Oberlin Cooper Competition, 2016 Kaufmann International Piano Competition, 2015 Washington International Piano Competition, 2013 and 2011 International Institute for Young Musicians International Piano Competition, Finalists at the MTNA Young Artist Competition, 2009 Poland Summer Festival International Piano Competition, as well as participants at the International Liszt Competition in both Utrecht and Weimar, and the Schumann International Competition in Zwickau.

Steven Spooner is a Steinway Artist.