ROCHELLE SENNET, Pianist

"Technically accomplished, dynamic, and nuanced..." American Record Guide

Photography by Bauwerks--Chicago, Illinois.  Makeup by Amy Banas.  

Dr. Rochelle Sennet has established herself as a well-known performer, teacher, and scholar.  Her recital programs showcase her versatility at the keyboard, with frequent performances of works by Bach, Beethoven, and African American composers such as H. Leslie Adams, Jeffrey Mumford, James Lee III, and Pulitzer-Prize winning composer George Walker. She received the Bachelor of Music degree from San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the Master of Music degree from University of Michigan, Artist Diploma from Texas Christian University, and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from University of Illinois.  She was co-winner for the Krannert Center Debut Artist Competition, national finalist at the MTNA Steinway & Sons Young Artist piano competition, and a prize winner in numerous competitions such as the Kingsville International Piano competition, San Antonio Tuesday Musical Club Piano Competition, and the US Open Music Piano Concerto Competition.  She is currently Associate Professor of Piano at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

In 2012, her recording of George Walker’s Piano Concerto was released on the Albany Records label, and she was the first pianist record this difficult work since Natalie Hinderas in 1976.  Robert Schulslaper of Fanfare Magazine described her performance of Walker’s concerto: “Rochelle Sennet plays the concerto…with supreme confidence.”  She is also featured on this recording, performing on Walker’s triple concerto, Da Camera.  George Walker himself praised her performance of his music.  Her most recent solo CD, entitled “Alkebulan’s Son: The Solo Piano works of James Lee III,” was released in May 2014 on Albany Records, and received rave reviews in American Record Guide.  She also recorded eighteenth-century composer Leopold Kozeluch’s second piano concerto and three harpsichord sonatas for four-hands with the Classical Chamber Players, which was released on the Mark Records label during the summer of 2013.  

Recent performances include solo appearances at the Nizhny Novgorod State Conservatory and Balakirev Music College in Russia, where she gave the international debut of James Lee’s Piano Sonata No. 1, Eastman School of Music in Rochester, Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Hastings College in Nebraska.  She performed Samuel Barber’s Piano Concerto with the Blue Lake Festival Orchestra in Michigan, which was broadcast live on WBLV-Blue Lake Public Radio.  She also recently gave the world premiere of James Lee III’s Concerto for Piano and Winds with the Morgan State University Symphonic Band in Baltimore, Maryland.  She has also made guest appearances as a soloist with ensembles such as University Philharmonia Orchestra in Michigan, the Sewanee Festival Orchestra in Tennessee, and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Orchestra.  She also performed Etude Fantasy by Oscar-winning composer John Corigliano at University of Illinois concert, in which the composer was in attendance and praised her performance.  As an accomplished chamber music performer, she was a co-founder of Duo MemDi, a piano-violin duo established in 2010 with Russian international violin performer Igor Kalnin, on the principles of diversity and performing works by memory, a rarity in the field of chamber music.  Recent Duo MemDi performances have included appearances at the Tashkent State Conservatory, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie, Luther College, and numerous outreach events throughout the United States.  

As a committed scholar and educator, she has presented frequent guest lectures, is an advocate for outreach performances, and is in demand as an adjudicator at piano competitions.  She has presented lecture recitals at the College Music Society National Conference, the College Music Society Great Lakes Regional Conference in Dayton, Ohio, and the Illinois State Music Teachers Conference.  Other appearances include solo recitals as well as being invited as masterclass clinician at the Tashkent State Conservatory in Uzbekistan, University of New Mexico at Las Cruces, Flint Institute of Music in Michigan, and the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music in Milwaukee.  She has also served on the piano faculty at the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp since 2006, and is currently the headmaster for the Illinois Summer Youth Music Advanced Piano Camp. As an adjudicator, she was invited to judge competitions such as the Sejong Music Society Piano Competition, Zelpha Wells Piano Competition in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Walgreens Concerto Competition in Highland Park, Illinois.

©  2017 Rochelle Sennet