Jose Ramon Mendez, piano
Described as "an artist with a polished sound and tremendous constructive power" and hailed by the Hoja del Lunes de Madrid, as "the Spanish pianist of his generation," Jose Ramon Mendez is one of the most exciting Spanish pianists of today.
Recent performances include Rachmaninov’s second concerto with the Williamsport Symphony, Chopin's first piano concerto with the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra and Manuel de Falla's "Nights in the Gardens of Spain" with the Nittany Valley Symphony, as well as numerous solo and chamber music performances in the United States, Europe, and Asia. His playing has been featured on WQXR's "Performance Today" and on Classical KMFA. He has been a guest performer at many music festivals, including Caramoor Festival, Barge Music Series, Festival Internacional de Piano de las Islas Canarias, Music at Penns Woods, Amalfi Coast International Music Festival, "Tocando el Cielo," Musica en Compostela, the Stony Brook International Piano Festival, and the Santander International Music Festival to name a few. As a chamber musician, Mendez has collaborated with such distinguished artists as Karl Leister, Itzhak Perlman, Michael Tree, Pascual Martinez-Nieto, and Pinchas Zukerman.
Mendez received his first music instruction from his father and by the age of seven was already performing on Spanish television and radio stations. He made his solo debut at the age of eleven at the Oviedo Philharmonic Society in Oviedo, Spain, the youngest performer ever to do so in the history of the society. He first gained international recognition when he performed Liszt's first piano concerto under the direction of Sergiu Commissiona at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Since then, he has concertized extensively in his native Spain, the United States, Italy, England, Portugal, Holland, and Japan to great acclaim. With his poetry, intellect, and masterful technique, he has been praised by critics and celebrated by audiences around the world.
At the age of 18, Mendez's success brought him to the United States, where he began his studies at Manhattan School of Music in New York City. He completed his Bachelors and Masters Degrees in piano performance with renowned pedagogue Solomon Mikowsky and went on to finish his Doctorate of Musical Arts under the tutelage of Byron Janis and Miyoko Lotto. During his stay in New York, he won top prizes in many international competitions, including Pilar Bayona International Piano Competition, Hilton Head Island International Piano Competition, Frederick Chopin Competition in New York, and Hermanos Guerrero International Piano Competition, among others.
Mendez's professional teaching career began in 1996, when he was invited to teach master classes at the Gijon School of Music. Mendez also taught as assistant teacher to Miyoko Lotto at the Perlman Music Program, a program for gifted young musicians founded by the world famous violinist Itzhak Perlman. Since then, he has given master classes in numerous cities in Spain, as well as in the United States at top music schools such as Oberlin Conservatory, Northwestern University, University of Michigan, and Manhattan School of Music. He serves on the faculty of the Gijon International Piano Festival in Gijon, Spain, as well as frequently being invited to perform and teach at various festivals.
Formerly on the faculty at The University of Texas at Austin, he formed part of the Artist Piano Faculty at New York University in New York City from 2007 to 2014. From 2014 to 2018 he served in the piano faculty at The Pennsylvania State University. Currently he is Associate Professor of Piano at the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University. Jose Ramon Mendez is a Yamaha Artist.