photo: Verena Bruening

With “probing seriousness” (Performing Arts Monterey Bay) and “a stunningly beautiful palette of colors” (Peninsula Reviews), pianist Kevin Lee Sun interprets music old and new. 

In 2011, Sun won the Silver Medal at the Virginia Waring International Piano Competition in California for his performances of the classical canon. In 2021, for his visionary programming of 20th-century music, he was the sole pianist to be named Finalist of the Berlin Prize for Young Artists in Germany. 

These honors have led Sun to perform a diverse repertoire around the world, including at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, the Arnold Schoenberg Center in Vienna, the Villa Elisabeth in Berlin, and the Banff Centre in Canada. His recital programs have balanced traditional masterworks, such as Bach’s Goldberg Variations, Schubert’s Wanderer Fantasy, and Schoenberg’s Suite, with pieces by various contemporary composers — Hyo-shin Na, Frederic Rzewski, György Kurtág, Colin Kemper, and many others.

A native of Sacramento CA, Sun began his piano studies in Sacramento with Sylvia and Tien Hsieh, who fostered his musical talent. He later studied with Lorna Peters at Sacramento State, Sharon Mann at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Alexander Kobrin at the Eastman School of Music, and Thomas Schultz at Stanford University. Especially influential were Sun’s studies with Schultz, who worked with such important composers as Frederic Rzewski, Christian Wolff, and Hyo-shin Na in commissioning and premiering their works.

Besides earning degrees at Stanford (B.A.S. Biology & Classics ’15), SFCM (M.M. Piano ’17), and Eastman (D.M.A. Piano Performance & Literature ’23), Sun also was a medical student at Stanford University School of Medicine for three years. With his diverse educational background, Sun has co-authored numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and presented throughout the United States on topics relating to child and adolescent psychiatry, student mentorship, Platonic philosophy, and new music.

In 2023, Sun joined the piano faculty at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.