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Jiayan Sun

Assistant Professor of Music; Associate Chair for Performance Activities

Jiayan Sun


Sage Hall


Praised by the New York Times for his “revelatory” performances, and by the Toronto Star for his “technically flawless, poetically inspired and immensely assured playing,” pianist Jiayan Sun has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Hallé Orchestra, the Chinese and RTÉ (Ireland) National Symphony Orchestras, the Fort Worth and Toledo Symphony Orchestras, the Toronto and Aspen Concert Orchestras, and the Suwon Philharmonic Orchestra, and he has conducted from the keyboard the Meiningen Court Orchestra. He has collaborated with prominent conductors, such as Sir Mark Elder, Michail Jurowski, Stefan Sanderling, Leon Fleisher, David Hayes, Thomas Crawford, Daejin Kim, Kerry Stratton and Xincao Li. His performances have been broadcast by the BBC, the RTÉ, China Central Television and classical music radio stations in North America. He has performed at and participated in the Verbier Festival, the Gstaad Menuhin Festival, the Klavier-Festival Ruhr, the Aspen Music Festival, the Sarasota Music Festival and PianoTexas. Under the mentorship of Sir András Schiff, he was invited to give a number of solo recitals in Europe as part of Schiff’s “Building Bridges” project.

Sun has been awarded prizes at many of the major international piano competitions, including third prize at the Leeds International Piano Competition, second prize at the Dublin International Piano Competition, fourth prize and the audience prize at the Cleveland International Piano Competition, and first prize at the inaugural CCC Toronto International Piano Competition. Playing early keyboard instruments and studying historical performance practice have played a significant role in Sun’s musical activities, with critically acclaimed appearances with the American Classical Orchestra in Alice Tully Hall.

Hailing from Yantai, China, he received bachelor’s, master’s and doctor of musical arts degrees from The Juilliard School under the tutelage of Yoheved Kaplinsky and Stephen Hough. His other mentors include pianists Malcolm Bilson, Richard Goode and Robert Levin, and harpsichordist Lionel Party. His devotion to the art of composition led him to study with the composer Philip Lasser. As the Iva Dee Hiatt Visiting Artist in piano at Smith College, he presented Beethoven’s complete piano sonatas in chronological order, in addition to yearlong series devoted to the music of Schubert and Chopin.


D.M.A., M.M., B.M., The Juilliard School

Personal website

Selected Works in Smith ScholarWorks