Master Lessons

Student Programs

Master Lessons with Sean Chen, UMKC Artist-in-Residence


Dates: Master Lessons: Sept. 28-Oct. 1
Master Lessons Concert: Sept. 30 at 5 p.m.
Workshop: Oct. 2 at 10 a.m.
Registration: Aug. 3-September 10, 2018
Times: Friday, Sept. 28: 3 p.m.-7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 29: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (later if necessary)
Sunday, Sept. 30: 10 a.m.-noon; 1 p.m.-3 p.m.
Monday, October 1: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.(later if necessary)
Fee: $60 for 45 minutes or $75 for 60 minutes
Locations: Schmitt Music Center
Grant Hall, UMKC (Sept. 30) for Sunday lessons
White Recital Hall, UMKC for the concert
Schmitt Music for the workshop
Chair: Melody Stroth, NCTM,


Hailed as a charismatic rising star with “an exceptional ability to connect with an audience combined with an easy virtuosity” (Huffington Post), American pianist Sean Chen, winner of the 2013 American Pianists Awards and third prize winner at the 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, has continued to earn accolades for “alluring, colorfully shaded renditions” (New York Times) and “genuinely sensitive” (LA Times) playing. He was named a 2015 fellow by the prestigious Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Fund for the Performing Arts.

Mr. Chen has performed with many prominent orchestras, including the Fort Worth, Indianapolis, San Diego, Knoxville, Hartford, Louisiana Philharmonic, Milwaukee, North Carolina, Pasadena, Phoenix, Santa Fe, and New West Symphony Orchestras, as well as the Chamber Orchestras of Philadelphia, Indianapolis, and South Bay. He has collaborated with such esteemed conductors as Leonard Slatkin, Gerard Schwarz, Nicholas McGegan, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Marcelo Lehninger, and James Judd. Solo recitals have brought him to major venues worldwide, including Jordan Hall in Boston, Subculture in New York City, the American Art Museum at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., the National Concert Hall in Taipei, Het Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and the Salle Cortot in Paris.

Mr. Chen has served on the juries of such notable piano competitions as the Thailand International Piano Competition, Cleveland International Piano Competition for Young Artists, and Steinway competitions in Kansas City and St. Louis. Lauded for his natural charisma and approachable personality, Mr. Chen is particularly in demand for residencies that combine performances with master classes, school concerts, and artist conversations, which have brought him to institutions such as the Cleveland School of Music, Indiana University, University of British Columbia, Spotlight Awards at the Los Angeles Music Center, Young Artist World Piano Festival, and several Music Teachers’ Associations throughout the country.

Mr. Chen has been featured in both live and recorded performances on WQXR (New York), WFMT (Chicago), WGBH (Boston), WFYI (Indianapolis), NPR’s From the Top, and American Public Media’s Performance Today. Additional media coverage includes a profile featured on the cover of Clavier Companion in May 2015, recognition as “One to Watch” by International Piano Magazine in March 2014, and inclusion in WFMT’s “30 Under 30.”

His CD releases include La Valse, a solo recording on the Steinway label, hailed for “penetrating artistic intellect” (Audiophile Audition); a live recording from the Cliburn Competition released by harmonia mundi, praised for his “ravishing tone and cogently contoured lines” (Gramophone); and an album of Michael Williams’s solo piano works on the Parma label. Mr. Chen has also contributed to the catalog of Steinway’s new Spirio system.

Born in Florida, Mr. Chen grew up in the Los Angeles area of Oak Park, California. His impressive achievements before college include the NFAA ARTSweek, Los Angeles Music Center’s Spotlight, and 2006 Presidential Scholars awards. These honors combined with diligent schoolwork facilitated offers of acceptance by MIT, Harvard, and The Juilliard School. Choosing to study music, Mr. Chen earned his Bachelor and Master of Music from Juilliard, meanwhile garnering several awards, most notably the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. He received his Artist Diploma in 2014 at the Yale School of Music as a George W. Miles Fellow. His teachers include Hung-Kuan Chen, Tema Blackstone, Edward Francis, Jerome Lowenthal, and Matti Raekallio.

Mr. Chen is currently living in Kansas City, where he is the Artist-in-Residence at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and his wife, Betty, is a violinist in the Kansas City Symphony. When not at the piano, Mr. Chen enjoys tinkering with computers. He is a Steinway Artist.


Priority is given to school-age intermediate to advanced students.  If space allows, adult students and teachers may also be eligible to enroll.  One or two compositions are required for the Master Lessons. Mr. Chen will choose three to four students to play at the Sunday concert.

Please bring the music with the measures numbered.  Memory is optional for the lesson, but required to be selected for the recital September 30 or the workshop on Tuesday morning, October 2.  Strict adherence to lesson times will be necessary.  Teachers and parents may quietly observe.  Outstanding students will be chosen to perform in concert with Sean Chen.

Send enrollments postmarked between August 3 and September 10, 2018.  Lesson times will be scheduled in the order received.  You will be notified by email to confirm your lesson time(s).  Early entries are not accepted.

Make checks payable to “KCMTA” and mail the completed Enrollment Form(s) to:

Melody Stroth
13117 Hemlock
Overland Park, KS  66213

Master Lesson Enrollment Form (PDF)