Press Kit



Biography (Short Form)

Critics and audiences have unanimously hailed the distinctive and compelling performances of pianist Steven Spooner describing him as “a pianist in the tradition that many believe died with the likes of Horowitz, Arrau, Bolet, Cziffra, and Wild. His talent, to my ears, is easily the equal of most major pianists of today” (FANFARE MAGAZINE). Passionately devoted to the solo recital, Steven has been engaged and often re-engaged at prestigious venues such as the Salle Cortot in Paris, Holland’s Vredenburg Centre, Budapest’s Great Hall of the Liszt Academy, New York’s Carnegie Hall, Rome’s Santa Cecilia, and Singapore’s Esplanade. During the past season he has daringly reinvented the solo recital format by allowing audiences to vote for one of several programs he has prepared.

Steven wields an unusually large repertoire and has mounted an enormous recital series akin to Anton Rubinstein’s solo recitals of 1885. These live recitals were recently documented in a 5-cd box-set entitled The Historical Piano Recital Series. His enthusiasm for new music has produced an ongoing collaboration with renowned composer Mohammed Fairouz (commissioned by the ROKI Foundation) to premiere and record several of his works during the next few seasons. Steven is currently documenting his family’s musical life along with a traversal of the 32 Beethoven Sonatas for their new XOTV show, A Life of Music.

Steven has been unusually successful in the limited number of international piano competitions in which he participated—he is prizewinner at each of the seven international piano competitions he has entered and top prizewinner at both the Hilton Head International Piano Competition and the Artlivre International Piano Competition. He captured First Prize and was recipient of the Niekamp Career Grant as most outstanding pianist in French music at the Paris Conservatory. His performances and recordings of works by Liszt have garnered particular attention worldwide.

Steven is an active collaborator and performs with a diverse and distinguished list of musicians including, the Borromeo Quartet, Violinist Renaud Capuçon, Silk Road Ensemble Bassist Daxun Zhang, and recent orchestral engagements of the Schnittke Concerto with the Chamber Orchestra Kremlin during their tour of North America. Steven has released 15 recordings on the Naxos,TMG, EMR Classics, Everythingmusic, and IU recording labels. He studied at Paris Conservatory, Moscow and Tbilisi Conservatories in the former Soviet Union, and Indiana University, Bloomington. In 2008 he was the final recipient of the Ivory Classics Foundation prize that enabled him to study with the legendary virtuoso Earl Wild.

He serves as guest artist at several international music festivals each year and is increasingly in demand for his humorous, engaging, and energetic masterclasses at major music institutions all over the world such as the Paris Conservatory, Milan Conservatory, Liszt Academy of Music, and the Shanghai and Beijing Conservatories. Steven currently serves on the piano faculty at the University of Kansas–A dedicated and caring teacher, Steven’s students have been named winners of several prizes at important international and national piano competitions. Steven Spooner is a Steinway Artist. Further info: www.stevenspooner.com.


Biography (Shorter Form)

Critics and audiences have unanimously hailed the distinctive and compelling performances of Naxos recording artist Steven Spooner describing him as “a pianist in the tradition that many believe died with the likes of Horowitz, Arrau, Bolet, Cziffra, and Wild. His talent, to my ears, is easily the equal of most major pianists of today” (FANFARE MAGAZINE). Passionately devoted to the solo recital, Steven has been engaged and often re-engaged at prestigious venues all over the world and this past season has daringly reinvented the solo recital format by allowing audiences to vote for one of several programs he has prepared. Steven is a star on the new XOTV show called A Life of Music.

Steven has been unusually successful in the limited number of international piano competitions in which he participated—he is prizewinner at each of the seven international piano competitions he has entered and top prizewinner at both the Hilton Head International Piano Competition and the Artlivre International Piano Competition. He captured First Prize and was recipient of the Niekamp Career Grant as most outstanding pianist in French music at the Paris Conservatory. His performances and recordings of works by Liszt have garnered particular attention worldwide.

Steven has released 15 recordings on the Naxos,TMG, EMR Classics, Everythingmusic, and IU recording labels. He studied at Paris Conservatory, Moscow and Tbilisi Conservatories in the former Soviet Union, and Indiana University, Bloomington. In 2008 he was the final recipient of the Ivory Classics Foundation prize that enabled him to study with the legendary virtuoso Earl Wild. He serves as guest artist at several international music festivals each year and is increasingly in demand for his engaging masterclasses at major music institutions. Steven currently serves on the piano faculty at the University of Kansas and is a Steinway Artist. Further info: www.stevenspooner.com.


Press Quotes

“Spooner is a pianist in the tradition that many believe died with the likes of Horowitz, Arrau, Bolet, Cziffra, and Wild. He has a very secure and seemingly effortless technique, and a cast bronze, bass-centered sound that maintains its texture, richness, and depth across all dynamic levels. He also has remarkable lyrical gifts and a keen appreciation for the underlying architecture of the works he plays.”
FANFARE MAGAZINE 3/01/13

“At the same time, there was already plenty to listen to — and watch — during a performance Saturday at Catholic University’s Hartke Theatre of the composer’s transcription of Schubert’s “Erlkoenig.” Anything added to Steven Spooner’s dazzling, blurry-handed sweeps of the entire piano would have been dizzying.”
THE WASHINGTON POST 5/2008

“The competition (The International Liszt Competition) on Thursday afternoon was ruled by the very professional, serious, and beautiful performance of Steven Spooner from the U.S.A. His playing was thought through to the finest detail from the beginning to its perfect conclusion. His Transcendental Etudes, Wilde Jagd and Harmonies du Soir were virtuosic and emotionally stirring. The Schubert Serenade in Liszt’s transcription was both lyrical and clearly conceived.”
THE BRESLAU NEWS 10/5/2002

“His talent, to my ears, is easily the equal of most major pianists of today and far superior to a large number of those “most exciting and dynamic pianists of their generation” whose discs fill the new record catalogs to overflowing.”
FANFARE MAGAZINE 03/01/2013

“The recital was so absorbing for both pianist and audience that the customary quarter-hour intermission was completely forgotten when Spooner offered to play requests. Most votes went to Liszt’s Thirteenth Hungarian Rhapsody with Horowitz’s elaborations, last heard here played by Arcadi Volodos in 2005. If anything, Spooner displayed a greater sense of freedom in the slow lassu introduction, and more than matched the regaled Russian in the furiously fast friss to close.”
STRAITS TIMES 5/12/2012

“His performance possesses the deep understanding of the contents of Liszt’s works, organic and instinctive feeling of form and outstanding virtuosity. His programs for the first and second rounds of the competition were very demanding, requiring not only technical perfection but the ability to create colorful artistic images. The crystal-clear enunciation of each tone and the feeling of phrasal climaxes and structure are also worth mentioning. All of the above made Mr. Spooner’s playing very memorable. His pianistic art must attract more attention from concert organizers around the world.”
VIKTOR MERZHANOV–MOSCOW CONSERVATORY 2002