By Kayla Boeke
“When I had nothing else, I had my mother and the piano. And you know what? They were all I needed.” -Alicia Keys
Pianist Sean Botkin began studying the piano with his mother as early as age five. The start of his extensive career began at his first orchestra appearance (four years later) with the Honolulu Symphony.
Botkin went on to continue his study privately with Neal O’Doan at the University of Washington. Under the direction of O’Doan, Botkin performed with the Seattle Symphony, Spokane Symphony, and Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra throughout his early career.
Sean has accumulated a multitude of prizes in an impressive list of international piano competitions that include: William Kapell International Piano Competition, Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition, Busoni International Piano Competition, Cleveland International Piano Competition, World Piano Competition in Cincinnati, Dong-A International Music Competition of Korea, International Music Competition of Japan and the Washington D.C. International Competition.
As a graduate of Stanford University, the Juilliard School, and Indiana University at South Bend, Sean has studied with renowned artists such as; Adolph Baller, Martin Canin, and Alexander Toradze. Botkin is currently an Associate Professor of Piano at the University of Northern Iowa.
Sean has also had many opportunities to travel through his acclaimed performances. The range is substantial, and includes; The United States, Europe, Central and South America, Asia, and Russia.
Botkin’s concerto and recital performances include; Kazan and St. Petersburg, Russia; Tbilisi and Kutaisi, Georgia; Salzburg Festival, Ravenna Festival, Stresa Festival, Ruhr Klavier Festival, Gilmore Festival, London, Cagliari, Rome, Florence, Bologna, Palermo, Lisbon, Tokyo, Seoul, Bogotá and San Josá (Costa Rica).
Sean made his initial debut in New York at Alice Tully Hall in 1993, by performing Bartók’s Concerto No. 2 with the Juilliard Symphony, conducted by Carl St. Clair. In 2009, he made a CD recording of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Sonata No. 1 in D minor and performed a series of concerts in Europe sponsored by Alexander Rachmaninoff and the Rachmaninoff Foundation.
In 2012, Sean was also sponsored by the Rachmaninoff Foundation, when he performed Rachmaninoff’s 4th Piano Concerto with the Chicago Symphony at Ravinia, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. In 2013, Sean continued this with the Orchestra of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and guest conductor, Alexander Sladkovsky. In May 2015, Sean performed in Tbilisi, Georgia as part of the Easter to Ascension Festival.
Equally active in chamber music, reactions to Sean’s performances typically are expressed with phrases such as “multidimensional talents”, “superb musicianship”, and “beautiful and rare musical experience”.
Sean Botkin will be performing alongside percussionist Matt Andreini on March 21 for a virtual performance hosted by the Waverly Chamber Music Series.