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Steinway Artist Rebecca Penneys is a recitalist, chamber musician, orchestral soloist, educator, and adjudicator. For over six decades she has been hailed as a pianist of prodigious talent. Her recent two DVD’s have been released and reviewed. Here is the link to read the reviews.
Rebecca has concertized throughout all the continents north of Antarctica and in 2021 was inducted into The Steinway Teacher Hall of Fame in New York City. She possesses a daredevil technique, a charismatic stage presence, and a rare gift for interpretation. She is a popular guest artist, keynote speaker, and pedagogue nationally and internationally. Her current and former students include prizewinners in international competitions and hold important teaching posts on every continent.
Combining a busy concert schedule with seminars and master classes worldwide, she taught a class of international students at Eastman School of Music for 37 years. Currently, she teaches at Rebecca Penneys Piano Festival, which had its successful inaugural season in 2013. Rebecca was Professor of Piano at Eastman from 1980 until July 2017 at which time she became Professor Emerita of Piano. Since 2001, she has been Artist-in-Residence at St. Petersburg College, where she directs the SPC Piano Series. In 2015, she was appointed Courtesy–Steinway-Artist-in-Residence at the University of South Florida, Tampa. She is founder-pianist of the 5-concert Salon Chamber Music Trio Series in Rochester, New York which began in 1997. In 2009 she launched the Eastman Piano Series at the Summit designed to help Eastman piano majors have an annual performance venue.
Rebecca Penneys Piano Friends of Piano, a non-profit 501(c)(3), and Rebecca Penneys Piano Festival are sequels to her professional summer activities in New York State. The University of South Florida in Tampa hosts her collegiate tuition-free festival in its all-Steinway facility every July. The festival is entirely donor supported. The RPPF Ambassador Performance Series promotes festival students in concert during the summer and academic year. RPPF typically hosts 36 students from 18 countries. RPPF-Mini a short seminar for strategies in career development is part of the main festival.
Rebecca celebrated her final season at Chautauqua in 2012. She devoted thirty-four consecutive summers there teaching, performing, and building the piano and chamber music areas. Rebecca began an artist residency at Chautauqua in 1978, when she launched their chamber music program. The New Arts Trio was Trio-in-Residence from 1978-2012, and Rebecca was piano chair from 1985-2012. The endowed Penneys Garden 2008, in honor of her parents, along with Piano Lovers Patio are part of her rich legacy and many gifts to that institution.
Rebecca made her recital debut at age 9 and performed as soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra when she was 11. At 17, after winning many young artist competitions in the USA, she was awarded the unprecedented Special Critics’ Prize at the Seventh International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, an award created in her honor. Additionally, she won the Most Outstanding Musician Prize at the Fifth Vianna Da Motta International Piano Competition (Portugal) 1970 and was top prizewinner in the Second Paloma O’Shea International Piano Competition (Spain) 1975. She made her New York Debut in Alice Tully Hall in 1972. In 1974, she founded the acclaimed New Arts Trio, which twice won the prestigious Naumburg Award for Chamber Music 1980 and 1982. The Trio made two USIS Cultural State Department tours of Europe 1983, 1986. Rebecca made a solo USIS State Department tour of Japan in 1980. Between 1974 and 2009 she made a minimum of two annual month-long trips abroad performing and teaching in major cities of the world. Her artistry and insight have won her a large and loyal following.
Rebecca has also held additional appointments at the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston Salem, NC, 1972-1974 and Wisconsin Conservatory of Music in Milwaukee, WI, 1974-1980 where she was piano Chair. Rebecca’s teachers include Aube Tzerko, Leonard Stein, Rosina Lhevinne, Artur Rubinstein, Menahem Pressler, Gyorgy Sebok, Janos Starker, Josef Gingold, and Iannis Xenakis. She has been recognized for her ability to teach a natural keyboard technique, Motion & Emotion, that allows pianists to achieve performance goals and handle stress without physical strain or injury. She has taught and performed in such summer festivals as Eastern Music Festival, Sitka, Marlboro, Woodstock, Aspen, Vermont Mozart, Montreal, Tel Hai Israel, Tibor Varga, Birch Creek, International Music, Shawnigan Johannesen, Peninsula, Roycroft, Mammoth Lakes, Southeastern Piano Festival and Music Mountain.
Rebecca has more than a dozen current CDs on Fleur De Son Classics and Centaur Records. She has three DVDs for Naxos. DVD 1 has the music of Brahms, Debussy and De Falla, DVD 2 is a celebration of Chopin and DVD 3 underscores the spirituality of Brahms and enjoys Soler, Scarlatti, and piano rags. They all have personal notes and comment video sections and are available on Amazon. “Chicken Soup for Pianists,” a virtual book made during the 2020 pandemic is available on Kindle and Apple Books.