“The Steinway is the ultimate means of expression. Like the human voice, it speaks and sings like no other.”
Steinway Artist Phillip Kawin (1956 - 2021) received critical acclaim for his performances in venues throughout the world, from Sydney’s Angel Place Recital Hall to Beijing’s Forbidden City Concert Hall. As a recitalist and soloist with orchestra, he performed throughout Australia, China, Korea, Italy, Russia, Spain, and the US. Phillip Kawin enjoyed an exclusive recording contract with the Master Performers Record Label. His debut album featuring works of Beethoven, Schumann, Liszt, and Prokofiev was launched at Steinway Hall in New York in 2008, and received with critical acclaim. His all-Schubert CD, recorded in June 2014, was created under the direction of renowned Grammy Award winning producer, Steven Epstein.
Mr. Kawin gave master classes at the Moscow Conservatory, Saint Petersburg State Conservatory, Tel-Hai International Piano Masterclasses in Israel, Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Seoul National University, Van Cliburn Piano Institute, among many others. He gave master classes at the DMZ and the Busan International festivals in South Korea; the Harvard Club in New York (the first class at that historic venue); Summit Music Festival; and for the Sibelius Academy in Finland, through the Symposium and Practicum in Synchronous Distance Learning at the Manhattan School of Music.
Phillip Kawin developed a highly individual pedagogical approach that established him as a much sought after artist-teacher. His concepts evolved through an eclectic background of training that combines a variety of artistic and aesthetic influences. He created a teaching methodology that presents the principles of technique and musicianship in a detailed analytical approach—an approach that does not ignore the intuitive aspect of music-making. Mr. Kawin studied with Alfred Cortot’s long-time associate, Jules Gentil, at the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris; in New York City with Howard Aibel (Rosina Lhevinne’s assistant); with John Perry; and with Dora Zaslavsky (who had studied with Wilhelm Backhaus and Harold Bauer) at the Manhattan School of Music. In 1989, Mr. Kawin was appointed to the college faculty of the Manhattan School of Music, where he worked with a select studio of advanced and highly gifted pupils from diverse corners of the globe.
Mr. Kawin’s students have won top prizes in the Young Concert Artists Auditions as well as in the Martha Argerich International, Jacob Flier International, World Piano, Kosciuszko, Thelonious Monk International (jazz piano), Melilla in Spain, Heida Hermanns, Soulima Stravinsky International, Josef Hofmann, Mieczyslaw Munz, Leschetizky, and Long–Thibaud Crespin International competitions.
In constant demand at premier international conferences and festivals, Mr. Kawin gave his renowned lectures and insightful master classes in Russia, Hong Kong, Israel, China, Korea, Taiwan, the U.S., and throughout Australia. A critic wrote: “During these moments, the highest art of piano playing came into view. An image of great pianism not as a demonstration of velocity, or accuracy, but great pianism as absolute control of sound. Phillip Kawin leads his students to reach for that sound, a sound that borders on the architectural and the orchestral. Once heard, that sound stays in the ear—hauntingly. When the master class was over, we were fatigued physically, but mentally stimulated. The sound, and those ideas would remain, they are all too rare.” (Atlanta Music Teachers Association master class) He was in residence at the PianoSummer at SUNY New Paltz (New York) International Institute/Festival for over 18 years, as well as appearing regularly at the Summit Music Festival (New York), the International Academy of Music in Castelnuovo di Garfagnana (Italy), and the Beijing International Music Festival & Academy (China). Phillip Kawin was a guest adjudicator for such competitions as the Beethoven International Piano Competition Vienna, Bösendorfer USASU International Piano Competition (four times), Sydney International, and the 6th International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians (Suwon, Korea). He has been featured on five DVDs (master classes and lectures) for Excellence in Music, Inc., recorded live at the annual World Piano Pedagogy Conference(s).
Phillip Kawin is a Steinway Immortal.
Photo courtesy of Master Performers, Evgeny Evtyukhov