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,” said 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. Spooner joins the Peabody Conservatory piano faculty in the 2020-21 academic year.
In 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 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. His latest recording project with renowned Liszt biographer Alan Walker explores the many facets of the Liszt repertoire.
Spooner is prize winner at each of the seven international piano competitions he has entered and top prize winner 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.
Spooner 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. Spooner 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 broad educational background has embraced many schools and teachers have included Earl Wild, the great Georgian pianist Nodar Gabunia, Karen Shaw, Leonard Hokanson, and Edmund Battersby. He has coached extensively with such prominent musicians such as Tatiana Nikolayeva, Viktor Merzhanov, Dalton Baldwin, and Emile Naoumoff.
Spooner 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, among others. He has just been appointed artistic director of the Chicago International Music Competition and Festival.
Spooner is increasingly in demand for his master classes at major music institutions all over the world such as the Paris Conservatory, Seoul National University, Milan Conservatory, Liszt Academy of Music, and the Shanghai and Beijing Conservatories, and, in America, at Rice, Indiana, Colburn, Oberlin, and many others. Spooner 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, Spooner’s pupils have been named winners of multiple prizes at important international and national piano competitions and enjoy performing and teaching careers of their own.
Steven Spooner is a Steinway Artist.