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Rebecca Penneys

Eastman School of Music


American pianist Rebecca Penneys is a recitalist, chamber musician, orchestral soloist, educator, and adjudicator. For over six decades her passionate and insightful performances have held audiences spellbound. Hailed as a pianist of prodigious talent, she possesses a daredevil technique, the sort of charismatic stage presence that demands attention, and an interpretive gift that make her performances into musical revelations. 

Rebecca has concertized throughout all the continents north of Antarctica and she has represented the United States on United States Information Service State Department Cultural tours. Rebecca’s playing leaves an indelible impression. Her current CDs and DVDs on Naxos, Fleur De Son Classics and Centaur Records have received worldwide acclaim and are eloquent testimonies of a major artist of intelligence, originality, massive technique, and bravura temperament. American Record Guide says: “Penneys offers an extraordinary collection of performances displaying an astonishing control over piano sound. It is absolutely gorgeous and full of unimaginable colors. She sings through the instrument, seemingly without effort. Her playing is simply revelatory” 

Born in Los Angeles, Rebecca made her recital debut at the age of nine and performed as soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra when she was eleven. At seventeen, after winning several young artist competitions in the United States, she was awarded the unprecedented Special Critics’ Prize, created in her honor, at the Seventh International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, Poland. Critics there said: “A sensational effect was created by the playing of Rebecca Penneys. She is a genius of the piano.” Subsequently, she won the Most Outstanding Musician Prize at the Fifth Vianna Da Motta International Piano Competition (Portugal) and was Top Prizewinner in the Second Paloma O’Shea International Piano Competition (Spain). She made her New York Debut in Alice Tully Hall in 1972, and in 1974 she founded the acclaimed New Arts Trio, which won the prestigious Naumburg Award for Chamber Music in New York City on two separate occasions. The Trio was Trio-in-Residence at the Chautauqua Institution from 1978-2012. 

A renowned Steinway Artist, and a member of the Steinway Teacher Hall of Fame, Rebecca is a popular guest artist, keynote speaker and celebrated pedagogue. She has received extensive recognition for her ability to teach keyboard technique (Motion and Emotion) that allows pianists to achieve individual performance goals without physical strain or injury. In 2013, Rebecca launched the non-profit Rebecca Penneys Friends of Piano to support the Rebecca Penneys Piano Festival and RPPF-Mini. These events, held at the University of South Florida, are tuition-free for collegiate pianists worldwide. Rebecca is currently Professor Emerita of Piano at Eastman School of Music, Artist-in-Residence at St. Petersburg College where she directs the St Petersburg College Piano Series, and Courtesy-Steinway-Artist-in-Residence at the University of South Florida. The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle notes, “In an age of pianistic sameness, Penneys shines as a true original.” Rebecca’s teachers included Aube Tzerko, Leonard Stein, Rosina Lhevinne, Artur Rubinstein, Menahem Pressler, Gyorgy Sebok, Janos Starker, Josef Gingold, and Iannis Xenakis. Here are interview and review links. Learn more at, and on the RPPF Rebecca Penneys YouTube channel.

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