Assistant Professor of Piano
Sean Kennard has won top prizes in numerous international competitions and has performed recitals, chamber music, and as soloist with orchestras around the world. His recordings have been released by Naxos, Delos, and Centaur. He joined Stetson's faculty as coordinator of the piano division in 2017.
- Doctor of Musical Arts, Yale University
- Master of Music, Juilliard School
- Professional Studies Diploma, Mannes College (The New School)
- Bachelor of Music, Curtis Institute of Music
- Piano Performance
- Piano Literature
- Keyboard Pedagogy
Areas of Expertise
- Piano Performance
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).
The Washington Post applauded Kennard's "powerful and involved music making," describing him as "a strong luminous pianist." 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."
His 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."
Critical acclaim for his most recent solo album, released by Delos: "His penetrating sense of structure in Barber's Piano Sonata and Copland's Piano Variations is balanced by an infectious sense of fun in Copland's 4 Piano Blues...Kennard's performance of Copland's Piano Variations strikes the ideal balance between grand structural concepts and moment-by-moment expressive beauty...Kennard guides us masterfully through the drama of this music." -- Fanfare
"Not only is Kennard's technique flawless, his understanding of the music's expressive requirements is second to none...This marvelous debut disc is a triumph." -- Limelight
"Kennard brings out the languid and rhapsodic qualities in the first three of Copland's Four Piano Blues well, along with an appropriately lean and dry approach to the final piece's jazzy off-beat phrases. A dry and percussive touch befits the spiky sound world of Copland's Variations." -- Gramophone
He 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, 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 studying with Eleanor Sokoloff, and won 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 at Mannes College. 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 division. He is artistic director of the Great Pianists at Stetson recital series and the Stetson Piano Scholars festival.
- Rachmaninoff & Barber: Cellos Sonatas (Delos, DE 3574, 2020). CD.
- Canteloube: L'arada / Chants de France (Centaur Records, CRC 3804, 2020). CD.
- American Classics: Barber and Copland (Delos, DE 3554, 2018). CD.
- Domenico Scarlatti, Complete Keyboard Sonatas Vol. 17 (Naxos, 8.573708, 2017). CD.
- Sean Kennard: Chopin, Scarlatti, Stravinsky (Cougar Classics, 2011). CD.
- Obras de Eduardo Gilardoni (Perro Andaluz Ediciones, 2010). CD.