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Paul Sánchez, pianist and composer


Twice GRAMMY®-nominated pianist and composer Paul Sánchez has been praised as a “great artist” (José Feghali; Cecilia Rodrigo), “the ideal interpreter… performing with clear virtuosity” (Fanfare Magazine), for his “clarity, sensitivity” (The New Yorker), and “prodigious technical capacities” (The Rehearsal Studio).

In a Fanfare Magazine review of Sánchez’ CD Magus Insipiens, featuring three of Sánchez’ song cycles, Colin Clarke declares, “This is one of the most beautiful discs in my collection.... Haunting in the extreme,” while WFMT’s Henry Fogel, former president of the League of American Orchestras and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, states, “This is hauntingly beautiful music... generously filled with melodic inspiration and evocative atmosphere.... works of originality and a distinctive musical personality.” Sherod Santos, American poet and translator of the Sappho texts in Sánchez’ song cycle ὁδοιπορία (the journey), describes Sánchez’ composition as “a magnificent achievement, a work of great innovation and hypnotic effect, impossible to walk away from unmoved.” Sánchez’ the journey is the subject of a chapter in Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Song Cycles: Analytical Pathways Toward Performance, alongside chapters on works by Samuel Barber, William Bolcom, George Crumb, Benjamin Britten, Jennifer Higdon, Libby Larson, Francis Poulenc, Dmitri Shostakovich, and other composers.

Sánchez is a recording artist with ten CD releases as of 2024, and his compositions have been featured on the Soundset Recordings and Albany labels. Recent releases include his GRAMMY®-nominated Dreams of a New Day (Cedille Records) with baritone Will Liverman, which was BBC Music Magazine’s “Album of the Month” and reached number 1 on Billboard’s “Traditional Classical Albums” chart; his GRAMMY®-nominated Lord, How Come Me Here? (Navona Records), with mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges and baritone Will Liverman; Seria Ludo - Piano Music by Graham Lynch (Divine Art Records), for which Fanfare Magazine praised Sánchez’ “performance…. grand, noble, reflective, yet shot through with internal light;” and Mysteria Fidei (Innova Records) with his wife, soprano Kayleen Sánchez, as the duo Far Song, performing new music of David M. Gordon and praised by Fanfare Magazine for its “transcendental performances.” His live recordings of songs by Charles Ives, with William Sharp, are featured in the film “Charles Ives’ America” (Naxos Records), which, according to JoAnn Falletta, “may very well be the most important film ever produced about American music.” His next album release will feature Shawn Okpebholo’s Songs in Flight, performed with Rhiannon Giddens, Will Liverman, Reginald Mobley, and Karen Slack.

Of his performances of Ives and Gershwin for Joseph Horowitz’ Music Unwound: American Roots, a program funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Horowitz stated, “Sanchez’ account of Rhapsody in Blue was original - the most bewitchingly lyric I have ever encountered.”

His focus on new music has resulted in world-premiere performances of several important new works composed for him, including Fabular Arcana, a four-movement piano concerto by David M. Gordon; Consolation New, a work for one pianist playing two pianos, by David M. Gordon; White Book 3 and Absolute Inwardness, solo piano works by Graham Lynch; Mysteria Incarnationis, written for Kayleen and Paul Sánchez by David M. Gordon; and Two Black Churches, written for baritone Will Liverman and Sánchez by Shawn Okpebholo.

Dr. Sánchez served as Director of Piano Studies and the International Piano Series at the College of Charleston in South Carolina. Prior faculty appointments included Baylor University and Wheaton College. He is co-founder of arts organizations including the San Francisco International Piano Festival, the Charleston Chamber Music Intensive, and the Dakota Sky Foundation. 


Sánchez is an audio engineer and producer, with credits for albums published by Albany Records, Divine Art Records, Innova Records, Navona Records, and Soundset Recordings. 

Sánchez, a Fulbright fellow from 2005–2007, earned his Master of Spanish Music degree under Maria Teresa Monteys and Alicia de Larrocha. He studied with Tamás Ungár at Texas Christian University, graduating summa cum laude, and with Douglas Humpherys at the Eastman School of Music, where he completed his Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees. 

Sánchez is a Steinway Artist.

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