School of Music

Kevin Sun


Born in Sacramento, California, Sun gave his first solo recital at age 8; at 17, he won second prize at the 2011 Virginia Waring International Piano Competition. Since then, Sun has been invited to perform a diverse repertoire around the world: works by Stravinsky, Hauer, and Eisler at the Arnold Schoenberg Center in Vienna; Janáček at the Banff Centre in Canada; Mozart and Schubert at Pianofest in the Hamptons; and Hyo-shin Na at Old First Concerts in San Francisco. He also has performed Bach and Beethoven concertos with the Bravo Bach! Festival Orchestra and the Stanford Symphony Orchestra.

Chosen as a finalist for the 2021 Berlin Prize for Young Artists, Sun presented his work in Germany as part of his 2021-22 season. He was featured in a documentary shot at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, and he performed a program of music by Na, Rzewski, Janáček, and Schumann at the Villa Elisabeth in Berlin. Other season highlights included the East Coast premiere of Na's Cloud Study III for violin and piano, as well as the initiation of an ongoing study of Rzewski's 36 variations on ¡El pueblo unido jamás será vencido! (1975).

Sun will continue his commitment to the music of Na and Rzewski in the upcoming season. In the fall of 2022, Sun will perform a program featuring Piano Study 3 (2001) by Na and We Sing for the Future (1980) by Cornelius Cardew, a friend of Rzewski's. In the spring of 2023, he will premiere Na's Song So Old, a work for solo piano that he commissioned with support from the Elaine and Richard Fohr Foundation. Later, in the early summer, he will record Rzewski's entire ¡El pueblo unido! variations.

As a proponent of living composers’ works, Sun has performed pieces by György Kurtág, Hyo-shin Na, Jeffrey Gao, Daniel De Togni, and many others as part of Stanford University’s New Music Ensemble, San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s Composition Department, and Thomas Schultz’s Summer Piano Seminar at Stanford. He also has managed the production of the Hot Air Music Festival, an annual new music marathon in San Francisco that is free to the public.

Through the years, Sun has studied piano in the studios of Tien Hsieh, Lorna Peters, Thomas Schultz, Sharon Mann, and Alexander Kobrin. A teacher himself, he has taught public high schoolers in San Francisco and cochlear implant users at the Hearing and Speech Center of Northern California. Now a DMA candidate at the Eastman School of Music, he teaches Eastman and University of Rochester undergraduates as instructor of record for Primary Piano and Secondary Piano courses.

Outside of piano, Sun has a degree in biology and classics from Stanford, and he has published original psychiatry research in Nature, Elsevier, and Frontiers journals. His other research interests include predictive processing of music in autism and linguistic-melodic relationships in vocal music.

School of Music Responsibilities

  • Collaborative Pianist


  • San Francisco Conservatory of Music, M.M.
  • Stanford University, B.S.