Twenty-one-year-old Aaron Kurz became interested in playing piano at the age of two after watching classical music videos. By the age of three, Aaron began his piano studies with Ethel Fang at the Suzuki Institute of Dallas, Texas, and he became a student of Dr. Carol Leone, Chair of the Keyboard Department at SMU Meadows School of the Arts, in 2004. Upon completing fifth grade, Aaron traveled to the Mozart Festival in Vienna, Austria to study at the Bösendorfer International Piano Academy and the University of Music in Vienna (formerly called the Vienna Conservatory). Since then, Aaron has participated in many festivals, most notably the International Keyboard Institute and Festival in New York in July 2011, the Valencia (Spain) International Piano Academy in July 2012, and the Aspen Music Festival in July-August of 2014, 2015, and 2016. He has been instructed and received masterclasses from many highly-recognized pianists, including Earl Wild, Boris Slutsky, Julian Martin, Veda Kaplinsky, Yong-Hi Moon, Alexander Kobrin, Rebecca Penneys, Nelita True, Petronel Malan, Jerome Rose, Alexander Braginsky, Alessio Bax, Claudio Martinez-Mehner, and Hans Boepple.
Aaron has been a prizewinner in many state, national, and international competitions. He is a two-time National Finalist in the Music Teachers National Association Piano Competition for Solo Piano and has won the Texas state title in his last three entries. Some notable international competitions in which he was a prizewinner include the Virginia Waring International Piano Competition, the Emilio del Rosario International Piano Concerto Competition, the Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition, the Viardo International Piano Competition, the International Crescendo Music Awards Competition, and the University of Michigan Concerto Competition. Aaron’s most exciting experiences include playing at Carnegie Hall after being named a first place winner of the Bradshaw and Buono Competition in New York, playing at Salle Cortot in Paris, France as a result of his Viardo International Piano Competition performance, playing live on a morning TV news show, and playing at the Grand Opening of the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas. Additionally, Aaron played Rag Infernal by William Bolcom for the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer himself as part of a recital for the Cliburn at the Modern Series held in Fort Worth, Texas. In the first four months of 2010, Aaron debuted with three different orchestras while also working as a guest pianist with the Van Cliburn Foundation in its Musical Awakenings Program, a program which introduces young students to classical music through a series of visits to elementary schools in the region. Aaron once again worked with the Van Cliburn Foundation as a pianist in the program during the 2012-2013 school year. In November 2012 and 2013, respectively, Aaron was named a 2013 and 2014 National Young Arts Foundation Winner for his classical piano performance. This award and recognition was given to only 687 students selected from over 10,000 nationwide applications covering a wide range of disciplines in the visual, literary, and performing arts.
In March 2013, Aaron won first place in the high school piano division of the International Crescendo Music Awards Competition, and in June 2015, he won first prize in the Emilio del Rosario International Young Artist Piano Concerto Competition, in the process performing with the New Millennium Orchestra at Chicago’s Orchestra Hall. In January 2016, Aaron was a winner of the University of Michigan Concerto Competition – held across all instruments and voice – and played with Michigan’s University Philharmonia Orchestra the following April. Lastly, Aaron was a finalist in the 2016 New York International Piano Competition, at which he also won 2nd in the ensemble portion of the competition.
This past spring, Aaron graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Music degree. He will continue his studies this coming fall with Alexander Kobrin at the Eastman School of Music.
Music touches every area of my life.
My earliest memories connect with my first piano lessons at the age of three, and my family has a deep background of artistic involvement. Performing allows me to communicate with audiences; composing provides me with creative expression, and an understanding of structure and form in art.
Music has taught me the value of discipline and perseverance as well. Additionally, it is a reflection of the deeper aspects of my personality, and it offers me a future of challenges and accomplishment. Most importantly, I enjoy playing piano tremendously and couldn’t imagine life without it.