Lauded for his “impassioned and vigorous” playing (Pianomania), pianist Evan Mitchell has established himself as a bold and versatile artist. His richly varied schedule of over 50 appearances per year includes solo recitals, concerti, chamber music, outreach, and orchestral keyboard performances. His playing has been deemed “incredibly beautiful” (Fanfare), “amazing” (Fort Worth Weekly), and “no less than stunning” (Lima News). Evan’s new recording of world premieres with bassist Szymon Marciniak is earning rave reviews; most recently, Bass World called their performances “intoxicating,” calling this “a seminal recording.” He is also featured on the 2012 release “Piano de Pampa y Jungla: A Collection of Latin American Piano Music.”
Evan’s performances have been heard in New York’s Steinway Hall and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, in ten countries on four continents, and broadcast on WFMT (Chicago), WFHB (Bloomington), Classic FM 94.7 (Shanghai), and televised in North Texas. Recent highlights include debuts for the prestigious Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts (Chicago), at Merkin Concert Hall (NYC), and at several major venues in Shanghai. Evan has soloed in concerti with such ensembles as the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Lima Symphony Orchestra, Victoria Symphony, and Sherman Symphony Orchestra; worked with conductors including Jaap van Zweden, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Case Scaglione, Darryl One, Crafton Beck, and David Effron; and collaborated in recital with major artists including clarinetists Corrado Giuffredi and Michael Webster, flutist Leone Buyse, double bassist Gary Karr, plus members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the symphony orchestras of Cleveland and Rio de Janeiro (OSB). The 2016-17 season finds Evan opening the Sherman Symphony Orchestra season in October (Brahms, Concerto No. 2), playing everything from Bach and Beethoven to Stravinsky, Piazzolla, and klezmer on the Mount Vernon Music chamber series, and much more.
A passionate and articulate advocate for the arts, Evan looks constantly for ways to reach new audiences, and to inspire in others a love for music. The Texas Commission on the Arts recently named Evan to its Texas Touring Roster, a program that provides grants to nonprofit presenters in order to fund performances by the state’s finest musicians, poets, visual artists, and more. This season, Evan returns for a fifth year as a featured artist for Cliburn in the Classroom®, the signature educational outreach program of the Cliburn, which exposes more than 30,000 public school students annually to classical music and for which he has given more than 150 performances. Other performance affiliations include Avant Chamber Ballet and DFW-based Open Classical, whose motto – “Music that’s dressed down, not dumbed down” – summarizes a mission to present classical music in less formal, unconventional spaces. Evan’s enthusiasm for the music of our time is reflected in recent world premieres of works by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Frank Proto, Shang Lu, and Stacy Garrop, several of which have been recorded and released commercially.
Among other honors, Evan has captured first prize in the Kingsville International Young Performers Competition, Five Towns Competition, PianoTexas International Festival Concerto Competition, and the Twelfth Annual Competition in the Performance of Music from Spain and Latin America, in which he was also awarded the Jacques Klein Prize for Best Performance of a Brazilian Solo Piano Work. He won Fifth Prize at the 2012 World Piano Competition, and has received additional recognition in the Schmidbauer International Young Artists Competition, Music Teachers National Association Competition, and the BNDES International Piano Competition. Evan won a special audience award in the final concert of the 2009 PianoFest series (Freiburg, Germany), and was featured in the Rising Stars concert of the 2008 Toronto Summer Music Festival. Most recently, he gave a recital at Merkin Concert Hall in New York City as a quarterfinalist in the Honens International Piano Competition.
A native of Montclair, New Jersey, Evan holds degrees from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and is currently completing his Doctor of Musical Arts degree (May 2017) at Texas Christian University, where he studies with John Owings. His principal teachers have included Arnaldo Cohen and the late José Feghali, and he has worked with numerous artist-teachers including Dr. Yoheved Kaplinsky, Barry Douglas, and Ann Schein. Evan also recently joined the faculty of Tarrant County College.
“[In Liszt’s Totentanz,] Mitchell did not disappoint. [He] skillfully coaxed extremely difficult passages out of the piano with seeming ease... Mitchell’s overall performance was no less than stunning.”
“Pianist Evan Mitchell follows the music’s myriad directions [in his recording of Claudio Santoro’s Sonata No. 4] with seeming ease. The central Andante…is incredibly beautiful, while in the finale South America meets toccata-Prokofiev in a blistering mix, terrifically evoked by Mitchell.”
“This was particularly true of the First Concerto [by Prokofiev], played here by 25-year-old Evan Mitchell, who brought a playful feeling to the last movement, and handled the brutal octave passages with ease… [T]he fingerwork was amazing.”
“Mitchell, a student of Arnaldo Cohen, a Liszt specialist, obviously had taken lessons to heart. His playing of the Piano Concerto No. 1 was rock solid technically and evoked plenty of the excitement that Liszt wanted to engender in his piano music…”
“Mr. Mitchell opened the fantasia-prelude to the main theme of the concerto [Saint-Saëns, Concerto No. 2] with careful introspection. The initial melancholic solo line produced long arched phrases, closed with a delicate tapering of tone…here was a performer who truly understood the nature of the piece and could inspire an audience… Mr. Mitchell presented [the second movement] in perfect taste and style.”
“Evan Mitchell, who studies with Arnaldo Cohen in Indiana, performed Brahms’ First Sonata in C major, Op. 1, bringing out the exuberant and youthful brio that suggested the impressionable young German had learnt his Beethoven (notably the Hammerklavier) and Schubert (the Wanderer Fantasy) well. I’ll go as far [as] to say his impassioned and vigorous reading has, for me, effaced the overwrought performance that [major artist] gave in Singapore in 2003…”