Born in Belgium, pianist and conductor Kevin Class studied at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels, as well as in the U.S and Canada. As a pianist, teachers have included Romeo Fracalanza, Ralph Votapek, Gyorgy Sebok and Daniel Blumenthal. In 1997, the Belgian government named Kevin a Fellow of the Flemish Community in recognition both of his performances of the complete Piano Sonatas of Mozart and Schubert, and for his contributions to the performance and promotion of contemporary music, with Jan-Marisse Huizing describing him as “an important ambassador for today’s composers”.
Kevin has recorded more than 15 CDs, including piano concerti by Brahms, Beethoven, Mozart and Schumann as soloist with the Stuttgart Symphony Orchestra, several albums as a collaborative pianist with saxophonists Timothy McAllister and James Romain, cellist Wesley Baldwin, violinists Francisco Caban and Juhi Kee, soprano Soo Yeon Kim and others. He has also recorded several albums of solo piano works by Chopin, Schumann, Liszt and Elliott Carter. Fanfare Magazine has described his playing as “exceptionally refined” and American Record Guide described his work as “provocative and impressive, simply impeccable.”
Kevin was a top-prize winner in Young Keyboard Artists International Piano Competition, 1991 Mozart Piano Competition, Munich ARD and, most recently, the American Prize Competition. He was invited by Murray Perahia to perform an all-Chopin program at Reinbeck Castle for the Schleswig-Holstein Festival as part of the “Young Elites of Murray Perahia” classes. As an audience favorite of the Leeds International Piano Competition, Class received invitations to perform recitals in France, Switzerland, and Austria, including Vienna’s Musikverein. He has given solo recitals in numerous important venues worldwide, including Leeds’ Town Hall, Geneva’s Ansermet Hall, Munich’s Grosse Saal of the Hochschule fur Musik, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, and six performances in New York’s Carnegie Hall. His sold-out solo recitals performances in Chongqing and Chengdu, China were broadcast nationally by China’s national network CCTV.
In addition to work as a piano soloist, Kevin has been active for more than 30 years as an orchestra and opera conductor. His study of conducting began while he was a violinist with several regional orchestras in Canada. At the age of 15, he began studying conducting with Zdzislaw Kopac in London, Ontario. Subsequent conducting mentors and instructors included Eduardo Diazmunos, Frank Shipway, Gustav Meier, Mario Bernardi and Carl St. Clair.
With a repertoire of more than 60 operas, Kevin has taken the podium of the National Opera La Monnaie in Brussels, the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden and the National Opera Studio in London, Shanghai Opera and Opera Illinois (Peoria). From 2001-2005 he served as Guest Music Director and Resident Conductor of the Illinois Opera Theatre in Champaign-Urbana. He has conducted the Northern Illinois Philharmonic, the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, Illinois New Music Ensemble, Ensemble Noir’ (Brussels) and orchestras in Taipei (Taiwan), Shanghai, Chongqing, and Kunming (China), Seoul (South Korea), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), and Manila (The Philippines). He has also helped train numerous young conductors who have subsequently appeared with such orchestras as the LA Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Miami Symphony Orchestra, BBC Scottish Orchestra and opera houses including the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden in London, Paris Opera, Staatskapelle Weimar and Aachen, and Chicago Lyric Opera.
Kevin is particularly invested in the education of young musicians in Asia. For nearly two decades, he has been a frequent visitor to South Korea, China, Taiwan, The Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia. He has been a recurring guest of Yonsei University in Seoul as well as the University of Philippines in Manila. He regularly gives residencies teaching masterclasses for pianists, conductors, singers and working with orchestras and wind ensembles. He was a member of the jury for the grand finals of the 2018 Indonesia Steinway Piano Competition and as an artistic consultant for several of Asia’s leading orchestras and music festivals.
Kevin is currently Music Director & Conductor of Opera Theatre at the University of Tennessee- Knoxville, as well as Professor of Collaborative Piano. From 2014 to 2018, Kevin was conductor at Italy’s Arezzo Opera Festival, and since 2019 has been a principal conductor at OpernFest and Berlin Opera Academy in Germany as well as the Saluzzo Opera Academy in Italy. In Berlin and Saluzzo, Kevin leads orchestra training academies as well as conducts opera productions.
He has been profiled in the media by the BBC, NPR, PBS, Radio Noord Holland, KBS (Korea), CCTV (China), and locally by WUOT and East Tennessee PBS.
WUOT Interview with Kevin Class.
Concert Sunday September 18, 2022 at 3:00 PM
First United Methodist Church of Oak Ridge
Pictures Worth a Thousand Words
Get involved in the concert by visualizing the music! Watch Kevin's video to see how.
Joseph Bologne Chevalier de Saint Georges (1745–1799)
Symphony in D Major, Op. 11, No. 2 “l’amant anonyme”
Hugo Wolf (1860–1903)
Frank Ticheli (b. 1958)
Rest, for String Orchestra
Ryan Cayabyab (b. 1954)
Suscipe (from the soundtrack to the film Ignacio de Loyola)
George Frederic Handel (1685–759)
Zadok the Priest, HWV 258
featuring the Oak Ridge Chorus, Brenda Luggie, director
Gian Carlo Menotti (1911–2007)
Preludio to Amelia al ballo
Jessie Montgomery (b. 1981)
Starburst (for Chamber Ensemble arr. Jannina Norpoth)
Felix Mendelssohn (1809–1847)
Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64
Allegro molto appassionato
Allegretto non troppo - Allegro molto vivace
William Shaub, violin
Programs are subject to change