Rebecca Penneys

Rebecca Penneys

Professor of Piano

Artist-in-Residence, St Petersburg College, FL
President, Rebecca Penneys Friends of Piano Incorporated
Founder and Artistic Director, Rebecca Penneys Tuition-Free Piano Festival
Fall Semester 2014 Academic Leave

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Biography

Steinway Artist Rebecca Penneys is a recitalist, chamber musician, orchestral soloist, educator, and adjudicator. For six decades she has been hailed as a pianist of prodigious talent.

Rebecca has played throughout the USA, East Asia, Australia, New Zealand, South America, Western and Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Canada. She possesses a daredevil technique, a charismatic stage presence, and a rare gift for interpretation. She is a popular guest artist, keynote speaker, and pedagogue nationally and internationally. Her current and former students include prizewinners in international competitions, and hold important teaching posts on every continent. Combining a busy concert schedule with seminars and master classes worldwide, she teaches international students at Eastman School of Music and at the Rebecca Penneys Piano Festival that had its successful inaugural season in 2013. Rebecca has been Professor of Piano at Eastman since 1980 and Artist-in-Residence at St. Petersburg College, a position created for her in 2001. She is founder-pianist 1999, of the Salon Chamber Music Series, a five-concert series and she is also founder and artistic director 2009, of a very popular young artist series called Eastman Piano Series at the Summit.

Rebecca Penneys Piano Friends of Piano a non-profit 501c3 and Rebecca Penneys Tuition-Free Piano Festival launched in 2013 are the sequels to her summer professional activities in New York State. RPPF moves the core educational values and the artistic vision of her popular and successful New York program to Florida. The University of South Florida in Tampa hosts the festival for pianists 18-30 in their new all-Steinway facility. The festival is entirely donor supported and most events are free and open to the public. Rebecca devoted thirty-four consecutive summers to teaching, performing and building the piano and chamber music areas at the Chautauqua Festival. The New Arts Trio was Trio-in-Residence from 1978-2012, and Rebecca was piano chair from 1985-2012. The endowed Penneys Garden (2008) in honor of her parents, along with Piano Lovers Patio stand as part of her rich legacy and many gifts to the institution.

Rebecca made her recital debut at age 9 and performed as soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra when she was 11. At 17, after winning many young artist competitions in the USA, she was awarded the unprecedented Special Critics’ Prize at the Seventh International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, an award created in her honor. Additionally, she won the Most Outstanding Musician Prize at the Fifth Vianna Da Motta International Piano Competition (Portugal) 1970 and was top prizewinner in the Second Paloma O’Shea International Piano Competition (Spain) 1975. She made her New York Debut in Alice Tully Hall in 1972. In 1974, she founded the acclaimed New Arts Trio that twice won the prestigious Naumburg Award for Chamber Music (New York). The trio was Trio-in-Residence at the Chautauqua Institution from 1978 to 2012 and made two USIS Cultural State Department tours of Europe. Rebecca made a solo USIS State Department tour of Japan in 1980. Between 1974 and 2009 she annually made a minimum of two month-long trips abroad performing and teaching in major cities of the world.

Rebecca was on the piano faculty of the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston Salem, NC, from 1972-1974 and on the faculty (and chair) at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music in Milwaukee, WI from 1974-1980. She has been full-time professor of piano at the Eastman School of Music since 1980. At Chautauqua, she began as resident artist in 1978, when she launched Chautauqua’s chamber music program. She was chair of the Chautauqua Festival Piano Department from 1985 to 2012. In Rochester, in 1997, she co-founded and became pianist of the Salon Chamber Music Series, a five-concert subscription series in Rochester. In 2001 Rebecca was appointed Artist-in-Residence at St. Petersburg College in Florida. In 2009 she founded and became artistic director of a very popular young artist series in Rochester called Eastman Piano Series at the Summit.

Rebecca’s teachers include Aube Tzerko, Leonard Stein, Rosina Lhevinne, Artur Rubinstein, Menahem Pressler, Gyorgy Sebok, Janos Starker, Josef Gingold, and Iannis Xenakis. She has been recognized for her ability to teach a natural keyboard technique (Motion & Emotion) that allows pianists to achieve performance goals and handle stress without physical strain or injury. Aside from her 34 consecutive seasons at Chautauqua, Rebecca has taught and performed in such summer festivals as Sitka, Marlboro, Woodstock, Eastern, Aspen, Vermont Mozart, Montreal, Tel Hai Israel, Tibor Varga, Birch Creek, International Music, Shawnigan Johannesen, Peninsula, Roycroft, Mammoth Lakes, and Music Mountain.

Her latest CD recorded in September 2011 is a solo bicentennial tribute to Chopin and Schumann. Rebecca has more than a dozen current solo and chamber music CDs on Fleur De Son Classics and Centaur Records.  Please visit rebeccapenneys.com  & rebeccapenneyspianofestival.org.

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