José Ramón Méndez, Pianist
José Ramón Méndez (b. 1969) is a Spanish pianist currently based in New York City. Described as "an artist with a polished sound and tremendous constructive power" and hailed by the Hoja del Lunes de Madrid, as "the Spanish pianist of his generation," Jose Ramon Mendez is one of the most exciting Spanish pianists of today. With his poetry, intellect, and masterful technique, he has been praised by critics and celebrated by audiences around the world.
Early Life and Education
Mendez was raised in Gijón, a city on the north coast of Spain, and he received his first music instruction from his father, Ramon Mendez Cangas. He was considered a child prodigy by the local media of the time and was often referred to as "the little Beethoven." By the age of seven, he was already performing on Spanish television and radio stations. He made his solo debut at the age of eleven at the Oviedo Philharmonic Society in Oviedo, Spain, the youngest performer ever to do so in the history of the society. He first gained international recognition when he performed Liszt's first piano concerto under the direction of Sergiu Commissiona at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.
At the age of 18, Mendez's success brought him to the United States, where he began his studies at Manhattan School of Music in New York City. He completed his Bachelors and Masters Degrees in piano performance with renowned pedagogue Solomon Mikowsky and went on to finish his Doctorate of Musical Arts under the tutelage of Byron Janis and Miyoko Lotto.
During his studies in New York, Mendez top prizes in many international competitions, including Pilar Bayona International Piano Competition, Hilton Head Island International Piano Competition , Frederick Chopin Competition in New York, and Hermanos Guerrero International Piano Competition, among others.
Mendez has been a guest performer at many music festivals, including Caramoor Festival, Barge Music Series, Festival Internacional de Piano de las Islas Canarias, and Santander International Music Festival to name a few. He has concertized extensively in his native Spain, the United States, Italy, England, Portugal, Holland and Japan to great acclaim. As a chamber musician, Mendez has collaborated with such distinguished artists as Karl Leister, Itzhak Perlman, Michael Tree and Pinchas Zukerman.
Mendez's professional teaching career began in 1996, when he was invited to teach master classes at the Gijon School of Music. Since then, he has given master classes in numerous cities in Spain, including Lugo, Aviles, Santiago de Compostela, Oviedo and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Mendez also taught as assistant teacher to Miyoko Lotto at the Perlman Music Program, a program for gifted young musicians founded by the world famous violinist Itzhak Perlman. Formerly on the faculty at The University of Texas at Austin, he is now teaching as Artist Piano Faculty at New York University in New York City.
Currently in the summers, he serves as faculty and Director of the Gijón International Piano Festival in Gijón, Spain. He also serves as artistic Director of the Stony Brook International Piano Festival in Stony Brook, New York.
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