Pianist Sean Kennard To Return To Hawaii Symphony, 11/13

Praised for playing that is "full of life and sparkle" (Fanfare), acclaimed pianist Sean Kennard returns to Hawai'i for one-night-only with the Hawai'i Symphony Orchestra (HSO) in a performance of Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 1 at 4 pm on Sunday, November 13. Born and raised in Honolulu, Kennard's first teacher was the late Ellen Masaki, who supported Kennard in his application to the reverEd Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. Kennard went on to become the first piano student from Hawaii to attend the Institute. Maestro Ward Stare conducts this special concert program, which also features Wagner's Overture to Rienzi and Sibelius's Symphony No. 5. Tickets range from $34 to $92 and are on sale now at hawaiisymphonyorchestra.org or by calling 94-MUSIC (946-8742).

During a 1996 interview about Kennard with the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Masaki said, "I knew right away he was a gifted boy. He played well, and with maturity. In my 42 years of teaching, I've never seen anyone quite like him." Masaki also credited Kennard's parents for their support. They purchased a Steinway B piano - about $52,000 at the time - and dug up the living room floor to put in hardwood to achieve the right acoustics.

"He even asked me how long it would take to walk to the studio if his parents' car broke down," recalled Masaki. "I said, six hours, and he said, OK, whatever it takes. I'm not going to miss my lessons."

Since graduating from The Curtis Institute in 2004, Kennard has become a sought-after soloist with orchestras around the world and has performed with Japan's NHK Chamber Orchestra, the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, the Yamagata Symphony Orchestra, the Sendai Philharmonic, the Orchestre National de Belgique and Orchestre Royal de Chambre in Belgium, the German Chamber Orchestra of Frankfurt am Main, the Orchestre Philharmonique du Maroc, and the Orquesta Sinfonica de Chile, among others.

The Washington Post wrote of Kennard's "powerful and involved music making" and described him as "a strong luminous pianist," and American Record Guide declared that "He boasts a huge, romantic sound and a bold melodic vision."

Kennard is currently engaged in doctoral studies at the Yale School of Music in the studio of Boris Berman. He served as a Teaching Fellow during the 2015-16 academic year - the only doctoral candidate from Yale's School of Music to hold the position. Kennard has won top prizes in the Queen Elisabeth Competition (Belgium), the International Music Competition of Viña del Mar (Chile), the Vendome International Piano Competition (Portugal), the Sendai International Music Competition (Japan), the Hilton Head International Piano Competition (USA), the National Chopin Competition, the Iowa Piano Competition, the American Pianists Association, and the International Chopin Competition of the Pacific.

To learn more about Kennard, visit www.seankennard.com. To read the full archived article about Sean Kennard and Ellen Masaki in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, click here.

Masaki School of Music Presents Sean Kennard in Recital
Kennard will pay tribute to Masaki, who taught piano to thousands of Hawai'i children in a career spanning more than 60 years, in a recital at 7:30 pm on Sunday, November 6 at Orvis Auditorium at The University of Hawai'i at M?noa. Presented by the Masaki School of Music, the free recital will feature works by Debussy, Rachmaninoff and Mussgorsky. In lieu of purchasing tickets, the Masaki School of Music requests a donation be made "In Memory of Ellen Masaki" to the Hawai'i Symphony Orchestra at the recital.

A staunch supporter of the Hawai'i Symphony throughout her life, Masaki held annual fundraisers for the organization involving her students, her school and the community. In recognition of a donation, the donor's name name will appear as one who remembers Ellen Masaki in the Hawai'i Symphony Orchestra concert program. To learn more, visit manoa.hawaii.edu/music/event/sean-kennard-pianist.

About Ward Stare
American-born conductor Ward Stare has been described as "a rising star in the conducting firmament" by the Chicago Tribune. Newly appointed as Music Director of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Mo. Stare's recent performances feature a number of highly-anticipated debuts with orchestras around the world, including performances with the Baltimore Symphony, Sydney Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic, and the New World Symphony. Other recent engagements also include the Houston, Québec, and Dallas Symphonies.

Stare served as the Resident Conductor of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra from 2008 to 2012. Stare's frequent collaboration with the Lyric Opera of Chicago began with his debut in 2012 conducting performances of Hansel and Gretel. Following his critically acclaimed debut with the Opera Theater of St. Louis in 2013 conducting Il Tabarro and Pagliacci, Stare returned to the next season for performances of Dialogues of the Carmelites. He made his debut with the Washington National Opera conducting Donizetti's comic opera L'elisir d'amore in 2014.

Concert Conversations with the Guest Artists
Ticket-holders are invited to join the HSO for Concert Conversations, starting one hour before each performance in the Blaisdell Concert Hall. Concert Conversations are included with each ticket.

For more information, call the Hawai'i Symphony Orchestra Box Office (808) 94-MUSIC - (808) 946-8742 from Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

Active-duty military ($20) and student rush ($13) discounts will be available for this concert beginning, Monday, November 7.

Tickets must be purchased at either the Blaisdell Box Office or at the HSO Box Office in-person. Appropriate ID must be presented at the time of purchase.

About the Hawai'i Symphony Orchestra

The Hawai'i Symphony Orchestra was founded in 2011 and made its debut in 2012. The new HSO carries on the legacy of the Honolulu Symphony, which was founded in 1900 and performed for more than a century. The orchestra employs 84 professional musicians and presents classical masterworks, pops, educational and community programs.

The mission of the Hawai'i Symphony Orchestra is to present the highest-quality performances of great music, bringing national and international distinction to the orchestra and its community; to delight and educate audiences of all ages and backgrounds, and enhance the cultural vitality and quality of life in these Islands; and to operate in a financially sound manner.

For more information or to make a donation, please visit www.HawaiiSymphonyOrchestra.org. Share your Hawai'i Symphony Orchestra experience with the #HiSymphony hashtag on Twitter and Instagram @HawaiiSymphonyOrchestra and on Facebook: facebook.com/HawaiiSymphony.

(Photo Credit: Hawaii Symphony)

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