Biography

 

Born in Belgium, conductor and pianist 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.  He has recorded more than 15 CDs, including piano concerti by Brahms, Beethoven, Mozart and Schumann 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. His performances have included cycles of the complete piano sonatas of Mozart (1991-92) and Schubert (1997) in Brussels, Amsterdam and other cities.  His sold out performances in China have been broadcast nationally by China’s state television agency CCTV.  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, Vienna’s Musikverein and six performances in New York’s Carnegie Hall. 

As conductor, Kevin studied with Zdzislaw Kopac, David Effron, Frank Shipway, Donald Schleicher and Eduardo Diazmunoz, and participated in workshops with Carl St. Clair, Gustav Meier and Alisdair Neal.  With an extensive background in orchestral conducting, Kevin has predominantly conducted opera for the past several years.  He has conducted at the National Opera La Monnaie in Brussels, the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden and National Opera Studio in London, Opera Illinois (Peoria) and with the Illinois New Music Ensemble.  From 2001-2005 he served as Guest Music Director and Resident Conductor of the University of Illinois Opera Theatre in Champaign-Urbana.  In 2005 he joined the faculty of Indiana University as Music Director/Conductor of Martina Arroyo's opera program.  In 2007, he became Music Director/Conductor of the University of Tennessee Opera Theatre.  His active repertoire includes numerous orchestral works as well as more than 50 operas with a repertoire ranging from works by Monteverdi to the present day.  He has conducted orchestras in China, South Korea, Taiwan, The Philippines, Belgium, The Netherlands and Italy.  Kevin's conducting students have appeared with the San Francisco Symphony, Dallas Opera, Glimmerglass Festival, Salzburg Festival, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Miami Symphony Orchestra and more.

In addition to work as a solo pianist, Kevin has performed with members of such orchestras as Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, Bergen Philharmonic, Puerto Rico Symphony, L.A. Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Dallas Symphony, the Louisville Orchestra and performs regularly with members of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra.  He has recently performed cycles of the complete Piano & Violin Sonatas of Beethoven and a seven-concert series of the complete chamber music, with piano, of Brahms. 

In October, 2015, Kevin received third place in the American Prize competition for solo piano (Professional division).  The six member jury stated that Class gives performances “that exude expressive, nuanced singing style in Romantic pieces of Chopin and Liszt” and referred to his performances of Elliott Carter’s Piano Sonata as “outstanding”, citing “clarity of line, phrasing, articulation: boldness of color and excellent technical facility.” During the 2016-17 season in Knoxville, Kevin performed Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21, K. 467 with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, completed his sixth season with KSO's concertmaster Gabriel Lefkowitz on the KSO Concertmaster Series and perform a cycle of the complete Piano Sonatas of Mozart at the Church of the Nativity in Huntsville, Alabama.

Kevin held a series of three residencies in South Korea as a Guest Professor of Piano at Seoul’s acclaimed Yonsei University. In 2008 he was asked to design a curriculum and audition standards for the establishment of degrees in Collaborative Piano at that esteemed institution.  In 2009, Kevin was the Founder, Conductor and Music Director of the Seoul International Opera Program.  Kevin has been engaged six times to conduct month-long residencies in China since 2009.  He holds Guest Professorships at Hebei Normal University in Shijiazhuang (Piano), and Southwest University in Chongqing (Conducting).  He has also given workshops and masterclasses for pianists, conductors and composers in 2011, 2012 and 2013 in Shanghai, Chengdu, Kunming and Zhuhai, China. He has also designed the programming models for the major new music festivals of the Sichuan Conservatory, and for young artist opera programs in Taiwan.

In 2013, 2014 and 2017 Kevin held five residencies in Manila, The Philippines as a Guest Professor of the University of the Philippines-Diliman, and as Artistic Director of the Baroque in Boracay Festival.  In addition to working with young singers and instrumentalists, he also conducted the UP Symphony Orchestra and UP Wind Ensemble (featuring the symphonies ofHindemith and Persichetti).

Kevin has served on the piano faculty of SUNY-Postdam, conducting faculty of Indiana University and is currently Associate Professor of Collaborative Piano and Music Director/Conductor of Opera Theatre at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.  During the summer, he serves as a member of the Conducting faculty for Oberlin in Italy, where he leads the Conducting and Collaborative Piano programs and is Music Director/Conductor of the Emerging Artists Opera Program. 

Kevin has been profiled by BBC, NPR, PBS, Radio Noord Holland, KBS (Korea) and CCTV (China), and has recorded for Albany Records, Centaur, CRS, MMO and Jackal Records.