GRAMMY-nominated pianist and composer Paul Sánchez has been praised as a “great artist” (José Feghali, 2013; Cecilia Rodrigo 2019) and for his “clarity, sensitivity” (The New Yorker), and “prodigious technical capacities” (The Rehearsal Studio).
In a Fanfare Magazine review of Sánchez’ 2016 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 “The journey,” describes Sánchez’ composition as “a magnificent achievement, a work of great innovation and hypnotic effect, impossible to walk away from unmoved.”
Sánchez is a recording artist with ten CD releases as of 2022, and his compositions have been featured on the Soundset Recordings and Albany labels. Recent releases include Dreams of a New Day (Cedille Records) with baritone Will Liverman, which was BBC Music Magazine’s “Album of the Month," reached number 1 on Billboard’s “Traditional Classical Albums” chart and has been featured in print by the New York Times and the Washington Post, and on-air by NPR, MPR, New York’s WQXR, and others; Lord How Come We Here? (Navona Records), with mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges and baritone Will Liverman; Seria Ludo - Piano Music by Graham Lynch (Divine Art Records); and Mysteria Fidei (Innova Records) with his wife, soprano Kayleen Sánchez, as the duo Far Song, performing new music of David M. Gordon. His live recordings of songs by Charles Ives, with William Sharp, are featured in the film Charles Ives’ America (Naxos Records).
Of his recent engagements performing music 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.”
Dr. Sánchez is Associate Professor, Director of Piano Studies and Artistic Director of the International Piano Series at the College of Charleston in South Carolina. He is a co-founder of the San Francisco International Piano Festival, the Charleston Chamber Music Intensive, and the Dakota Sky Foundation.
Sánchez, a Fulbright fellow from 2005–2007, earned his Master of Spanish Music degree under 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.
“Sánchez… plays Okpebholo’s haunting harmonies with the brittleness and angularity of broken glass.”
“Pianist Paul Sánchez, who is also a well-known composer, provides splendid, richly characterized support every inch of the way.”
“Paul Sánchez is surely the ideal interpreter... performing with clear virtuosity”
“a beautiful performance... grand, noble, reflective, yet shot through with internal light.... Sánchez’s control of his instrument at the very lowest dynamic level is highly commendable.... Sánchez’s performance is beguiling.”
"Paul Sánchez, the director of the festival, I met [him] when he was fifteen, and today he is a great artist... I'm old enough now to... have met several people that have gone on and you know, you are very proud of them, and it's great... it's a privilege to have been part of their lives."
"Mr. Sanchez... performing Rodrigo's difficult solo piano works... has not only perfectly embodied their different styles and emotions, from the intimate to the colorful, but also illustrated the magnificent technical expertise that he has mastered and is required to perform this music.... Paul Sanchez is among the great artists who has most contributed to the promotion and learning of the life and music of Joaquín Rodrigo in the United States."
Cecilia Rodrigo / Daughter of Joaquín Rodrigo / Marquesa de los Jardines de Aranjuez / President of the Victoria and Joaquín Rodrigo Foundation
"Sanchez's account of Rhapsody in Blue was original - the most bewitchingly lyric I have ever encountered."
"Stepping out from the shadow of heroes and gods, the lyric poem began in song scaled to the measure of human experience. Paul Sánchez’s “ὁδοιπορία (the journey)” brilliantly captures Sappho's spectral, eerie, sensual voice, an incarnation of one of the most "carnate" sensibilities in Western literature. At the same time, the song cycle gives rise to an expressive grandeur that is uniquely inspired, uniquely its own, as if to prove once again that music is a process, not of being, but of becoming. This is a magnificent achievement, a work of great innovation and hypnotic effect, impossible to walk away from unmoved."
"The premiere of my ‘Sappho Fragments’, given by Kayleen and Paul Sánchez, was one of the best first performances I’ve ever been fortunate enough to have. Not only was there a complete technical command of the music and fabulous attention to detail, but there was also a deep understanding of what I’d written. The result was that the music came alive in exactly the way I intended, and was full of colour, tonal shading, and vitality. A beautiful performance."
"Paul Sánchez is that rare combination of inspiring performer, insightful teacher and resourceful entrepreneur."
Delta David Gier / Music Director / South Dakota Symphony Orchestra
“[Sánchez] engages with you completely and effortlessly, and you are captivated by his generosity and sincerity. Then you see him teach, and you wish you were that lucky student. And when you hear him perform, you witness all these aspects come together, for his performances reveal the artistry, integrity, and warmth that are the essence of Paul Sánchez”
Tony Caramia / Director of Piano Pedagogy / Eastman School of Music