Twenty-five-year-old pianist Kevin Lee Sun, from Sacramento, is the winner of the 2018 Carmel Music Society Biennial Piano Competition. Sun gave his first public recital in Sacramento at age 8, then gained his reputation by winning competitions held at the Mondavi Center, University of the Pacific, Santa Clara University, and Sacramento State. His studies with Tien Hsieh and Sacramento State’s Lorna Peters culminated in his performance on NPR‘s From the Top and his second-prize finish at the 2011 Virginia Waring International Piano Competition.
Sun continued his piano studies with Thomas Schultz at Stanford University, where he double-majored in Biology and Classics. In 2014, he appeared as soloist for Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto with the Stanford Symphony Orchestra. That same year, Sun traveled with Schultz’s studio to the Arnold Schönberg Center in Vienna, where he played Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring (four hands) and Hanns Eisler’s Third Piano Sonata. Sun ended his college career in 2015 with performances of Bach’s Goldberg Variations and Schumann’s Fantasy that won him Stanford’s Louis Sudler Prize for the most outstanding senior in music.
At the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Sun earned his Masters degree in Piano in the studio of Sharon Mann. In 2016, Sun was selected to attend the Banff Centre Piano Masterclass, where he took lessons with Juilliard’s Julian Martin, performed in a public class with Glenn Gould School’s John Perry, and recorded Beethoven and Janáček sonatas. He also was selected to be the 2016-17 SFCM Piano Department Assistant, in which role he coordinated residencies held that year by Leon Fleisher and Garrick Ohlsson. He graduated having performed in master class with Fleisher and Ohlsson, as well as cellist Steven Isserlis and St. Lawrence String Quartet’s Geoff Nuttall.
Though his Masters focused on performance, Sun also honed his piano pedagogy skills. For two academic years, he was a guest teacher at Abraham Lincoln High School, where he worked with three periods of beginning piano students every Monday. He also gave lessons to young pianists at Music City Academy of San Francisco, and to cochlear implant users at the Hearing and Speech Center of Northern California.
Sun has returned to Stanford University as a medical student. He continues to take lessons with Thomas Schultz, funded by the A. Jess Shenson Memorial Scholarship, and to teach private students on weekends. His 2018-19 schedule includes concerts in Sacramento, San Francisco, Stanford, and Carmel.