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.
Rebecca has played throughout the USA, East Asia, Australia, New Zealand, South America, Western and Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Canada. 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 has taught a class of international students at Eastman School of Music for 37 years and now teaches at Rebecca Penneys Piano Festival, which had its successful inaugural season in 2013. Rebecca has been Professor of Piano at Eastman since 1980 and in July 2017 became Professor Emerita of Piano. She is Artist-in-Residence at St. Petersburg College since 2001, a position created for her, and Steinway-Artist-in-Residence, courtesy position, at the University of South Florida since 2015. She is founder-pianist 1997, of the 5-concert Salon Chamber Music Series in Rochester, New York, founder and artistic director 2009, of Eastman Piano Series at the Summit, and since 2007 continues as director of the St Petersburg Piano Series in Florida.
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. The University of South Florida in Tampa hosts the fruition-free festival in its all-Steinway facility. The festival is entirely donor supported. The RPPF Ambassador Performance Series promotes festival students in concert nationwide during the summer and academic year. Celebrating its 5th season RPPF had 140 applicants and hosted 38 students from 24 countries. RPPF-Mini, a 5-day seminar for strategies in career development for pianists, will launch in January 2018 at St Petersburg College Gibbs Campus in Florida.
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 artist residency at Chautauqua 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 annually made a minimum of two 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 appointments on the piano faculty of the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston Salem, NC, 1972-1974 and at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music in Milwaukee, WI, 1974-1980 as 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 also taught and performed in such summer festivals as Sitka, Marlboro, Woodstock, Eastern, Aspen, Vermont Mozart, Montreal, Tel Hai Israel, Tibor Varga, Birch Creek, International Music, Shawnigan Johannesen, Peninsula, Roycroft, Mammoth Lakes, and Music Mountain.
Rebecca has more than a dozen current CDs on Fleur De Son Classics and Centaur Records. Four DVD's for NAXOS will be released in 2017-2019, no. 1 with the music of Brahms, Debussy and De Falla, no. 2, a celebration of Chopin, no. 3 underscores the spirituality of Brahms and enjoys Soler, Scarlatti and piano rags, and no. 4 is Schubert. Recently she made a long teaching and perform trip to South Korea, China, Hong Kong, Thailand and she performed and taught in South America and Asia. Please visit her on-line at rebeccapenneys.com & rebeccapenneyspianofestival.org