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Sean Kennard

Sean Kennard
Born (1984-10-03) October 3, 1984
San Diego, California
Genres Classical
Occupation(s) Pianist
Instruments Piano
Years active fl. ca. 1995-present

Sean Eric Kennard (born 3 October 1984) is an American classical pianist.


Early years

Sean Kennard was born in San Diego, California to an American father and Japanese mother. He grew up in Hawaii and his family moved to Philadelphia when he began studying at the Curtis Institute of Music, at age 13.

Kennard began lessons at the Ellen Masaki School of Music on his tenth birthday, 3 October 1994 in Honolulu, Hawaii, and began studies with Ellen Masaki on 5 January 1995.[1] In the summer of that year he gave his first public solo performance in Honolulu. He performed in Carnegie Hall on 18 May 1996 as part of the Hawaii Music Awards, and travelled back to Honolulu the next day to place first in the final round of the International Chopin Competition of the Pacific.[1][2][3] He performed recitals in Poland in 1997 at the Fryderyk Chopin Society of Warsaw and Żelazowa Wola (Chopin's birthplace). On 3 October 1997, the third anniversary of beginning piano studies, he performed a recital of Chopin's Études Op. 10 and 25 at the Academy of Arts in Honolulu.


Kennard received his bachelor of music degree from the Curtis Institute of Music in 2004. He began studies at Curtis with Eleanor Sokoloff in 1998, and was the first student from the state of Hawaii ever to be accepted to the institution.[2] In his final year, he was awarded the piano department's Sergei Rachmaninoff Award, given to one graduating pianist each year. During his time at Curtis, he won 2nd prize at the Hilton Head International Piano Competition.[4] Immediately after graduating, he competed in the Sendai International Music Competition, and was the first American and contestant outside of Asia and Europe to win a prize in the competition.[5][6] He went on from Curtis to study with Enrique Graf at the College of Charleston in their Artist Certificate program in Fall of 2004.

Past and future appearances

After beginning studies with Graf, Kennard won various other prizes in piano competitions, including the National Chopin Competition,[7][8] Iowa Piano Competition,[9] and Dr. Luis Sigall Music Competition.[10][11] He was one of four finalists from the 2005 National Chopin Competition featured in the documentary "Pianists," relating the story of the American pianists as they travelled to Poland to participate in the 2005 International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition.[12]

Kennard has appeared as soloist with various orchestras around the world, including the Sendai Philharmonic Orchestra, Deutsches Kammerorchester, Orquesta Sinfónica de Chile, Orquesta Filarmónica de Montevideo, Orquesta Filarmónica Regional, Sinfonia Perugina, Orquesta Sinfónica de la Universidad de Concepción, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Honolulu Symphony Orchestra, Sioux City Symphony Orchestra, Hilton Head Orchestra, and Florida International University Orchestra.[13] In April 2009 he will give his debut recital at the Tokyo Opera City Recital Hall[14] and perform Chopin's two piano concertos with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra and Yamagata Symphony Orchestra.[15] He is currently represented in Japan by Nippon Artists Management Inc.[16]


Patrick Rucker of the Washington Post said of his performance of Beethoven's Sonata Op. 57 "Appassionata" that he played with "powerful and involved musicmaking"[17] Ruth Bingham of the Honolulu Advertiser said of his last-minute substitution for Van Cliburn Competition silver medalist Joyce Yang, playing the Grieg concerto with the Honolulu Symphony, that he displayed "a special affinity for quietly lyrical passages"[18]


See also

Sendai International Music Competition
Curtis Institute of Music
College of Charleston


  1. ^ a b "Piano Boy". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. 1996-11-12. Retrieved on 2009-03-02.
  2. ^ a b "Musical Memoir". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. 2003-05-13. Retrieved on 2009-03-02.
  3. ^ "Polish Music Center". University of Southern California. 2004-01. Retrieved on 2009-03-02.
  4. ^ "2003 Winners". Hilton Head International Piano Competition. 2003. Retrieved 2009-03-02.
  5. ^ "Results of the 2nd SIMC -Piano Section-". Sendai International Music Competition. 2004. Retrieved on 2009-03-02.
  6. ^ "Classical Music News". Japan's Classical Music Artists. 2004-07-05. Retrieved on 2009-03-02.
  7. ^ "7th National Chopin Competition". Chopin Foundation of the United States. 2005-03. Retrieved 2009-03-02.
  8. ^ "Polish Music Newsletter". University of Southern California. 2005-04. Retrieved 2009-03-02.
  9. ^ "Assaff Weisman Wins 2006 Competition". Iowa Piano Competition. 2005-03-12. Retrieved 2009-03-02.
  10. ^ "Competition Results 2007". Alink-Argerich Foundation. 2007. Retrieved 2009-03-02.
  11. ^ "SOTA Highlights". College of Charleston. 2007. Retrieved 2009-03-02.
  12. ^ "Pianists: Defining Chopin". Tomasz Magierski. 2006. Retrieved on 2009-03-02.
  13. ^ "Biography". Sean Kennard. 2008. Retrieved 2009-03-02.
  14. ^ "ショーン・ケナード ピアノリサイタル". Nippon Artists Management Inc. 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-02.
  15. ^ "Concerts". Yamagata Symphony Orchestra. 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-02.
  16. ^ "ショーン・ケナード Sean Kennard". Nippon Artists Management Inc. 2008. Retrieved 2009-03-02.
  17. ^ "At Piano Showdown, Hard Choices". Washington Post. 2008-05-27. Retrieved 2009-03-02.
  18. ^ Bingham, Ruth. "Symphony surprises prove to be pleasant" The Honolulu Advertiser, Page B2, 2008-10-20.

External links

  • Sean Kennard's website
  • Curtis Institute of Music website
  • College of Charleston website
  • Nippon Artists Management Inc. website
  • World Federation of International Music Competitions website
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