Born in Detroit MI in 1970, Sean Hickey’s earliest music education began at age 12 with an electric guitar, a Peavey amp, and a stack of Van Halen records (the early ones of course). He studied jazz guitar at Oakland University, later graduating with a degree in composition and theory from Wayne State University. His primary instructors were James Hartway, James Lentini, and Leslie Bassett.
After moving to New York, Hickey pursued further studies with Justin Dello Joio and Gloria Coates. His works include a symphony (Olympus Mons), concertos for clarinet, cello and mandolin, two string trios, a string quartet, a flute sonata, a woodwind quintet and trio, numerous pieces for solo instruments, church, theater and orchestral music. Hickey is also active as an arranger, contributing arrangements for various artists and ensembles in the pop and jazz music spheres. In 2004, Hickey was awarded a grant from the New York Department of Cultural Affairs as well as a Composer Assistance Grant from the American Music Center to mount concerts of his work. More recently, he has fulfilled commissions for Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the St. Petersburg Symphony, New York’s One World Symphony and North/South Consonance, the Adesso Choral Society in Connecticut, the Spain-based piano/accordion duo An-Tifon, 60×60, and the Gringolts-Weiss-Fiterstein Trio. His album of chamber and orchestral works for Naxos American Classics, Left At The Fork In The Road, released in November 2005, broke the Billboard Top 100 Classical Chart upon release. It is available wherever records and downloads are sold.
His principal instruments are guitar and piano. Other commissions include works for recorder virtuoso Michala Petri, cellist Dmitry Kouzov, pianist Xiayin Wang, clarinetist David Gould, violinist Ilya Gringolts, flutist Stefan Hoskuldsson, clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein, mandolinist Avi Avital, violinist Yulia Sakharova, and for the ensemble Ars Futura. He is a recipient of eleven consecutive ASCAP awards and was named a semi-finalist in the Auros 2001-2002 Composition Competition, also winning second prize in the 1990 State Awards in the former Yugoslavia. Recent years have seen numerous performances in New York, San Francisco, Detroit, Washington, Russia, Spain, Portugal, England, Ireland, Indonesia, and Brazil. Festival appearances include Cabrillo, the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, and the New York Chamber Music Festival, the last of which he was part of the 10th anniversary remembrances of September 11th, 2001 with the memorial piece, The Birds of Barclay Street.. He is an ASCAP member and was composer-in-residence with the Metro Chamber Orchestra in New York. His most recent commission, Hitherto, for the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra led by Yaniv Attar, met with great acclaim. His recent concerto, A Pacifying Weapon, was premiered and recorded by recorder soloist Michala Petri in Copenhagen. His works are published by Cantabile Publishing and Wolfhead Music, and Muzyka in Russia. He also regularly lectures on his music, new media, and entrepreneurship for composers and musicians.
Hickey is the CEO of Pentatone Music, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and one of the largest independent classical labels globally. He was the Senior Vice-President of Sales and Business Development for Naxos of America, the largest classical music label and distributor in the world. His work there encompassed the vast majority of classical music recordings released in the 21st century, overseeing sales and marketing for thousands of artists throughout the Americas, and representing Naxos as the leading label and distributor. Several of his recording and concert reviews may be found in the pages of the New Music Connoisseur, 21st Century Music, Modern Dance and numerous other publications. He is also a principal contributor to the Omnibus Guide to Classical Music, has contributed liner notes to dozens of classical recordings and is a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. His travel and adventure pieces have appeared in Transitions Abroad, the Burlington Free Press, Trailworks, Trailsource, Orlando Weekly, ITN, Babylon Travel and elsewhere. Otra Dia, a book of the writer’s travels in Peru, was published by Cantabile Press. His work is featured on over a dozen recordings, and he lectures regularly on the subjects of new media and musician entrepreneurship at colleges and conservatories throughout the world.