Current Winner

Current Winner

Sean Chen

Hailed as a charismatic rising star with “an exceptional ability to connect with an audience combined with an easy virtuosity” (Huffington Post), 28-year-old American pianist Sean Chen is winner of the 2013 American Pianists Awards and recipient of the DeHaan Classical Fellowship. He also earned third prize in the 2013 Cliburn International Piano Competition. Since then, he has continued to earn accolades for “alluring, colorfully shaded renditions” (New York Times) and was named a 2015 fellow by the prestigious Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Fund for the Performing Arts. exceptional ability to connect with an audience combined with an easy virtuosity - Huffington Post

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.

He has previously worked with many prominent orchestras, including the Fort Worth, Hartford, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Phoenix, San Diego, Santa Fe, Tucson, and New West Symphonies, as well as the Philadelphia, Indianapolis, and South Bay Chamber Orchestras, collaborating with such esteemed conductors as Leonard Slatkin, Gerard Schwarz, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Marcelo Lehninger, Nir Kabaretti, James Judd, George Hanson, and Boris Brott. 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.

His recent 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 “ravishing tone and cogently contoured lines” (Gramophone); and an album of Michael Williams' solo piano works on the Parma label.

A multifaceted musician, Mr. Chen also transcribes, composes, and improvises. His transcription of Ravel’s La Valse has been received with glowing acclaim, and his encore improvisations are lauded as “genuinely brilliant” (Dallas Morning News). An advocate of new music, he has also collaborated with several composers and performed their works, including Lisa Bielawa, Michael Williams, Nicco Athens, Michael Gilbertson, and Reinaldo Moya.

Born in Florida, Mr. Chen grew up in the Los Angeles area of Oak Park, California. 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.

When not at the piano, Mr. Chen enjoys experimenting with computers.

  • Photos

    with piano
    gala finals
    lawrence north
    with Joel Harrison

  • Press Kit

    Press kit available on

  • Videos

    2013 American Pianists Awards Interview

    Highlights from Sean's Premiere Series solo and concerto with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra

    Sean's 2013 performance with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra at Hilbert Circle Theatre (begins at 0:02:30)

    Sean announced as the 2013 American Pianists Awards winner (begins at 2:15:05)


  • Request Performance

    To request a performance, please contact our President/CEO & Artistic Director, Joel Harrison at 317.940.9947 or

  • Discography

    La Valse

    Release Date: 03/25/2014 
    Label:  Steinway & Sons 
    Composer:  Alexander Scriabin,  Maurice Ravel



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