Kevin Class presently serves as Director of Collaborative Piano at the University of Tennessee. Prior to this appointment he served on the Opera Studies faculty of Indiana University where he administered and served as Music Director and Conductor of the Martina Arroyo Opera Program. Born in Belgium, Kevin acquired a diverse musical education in both Europe and the U.S. including studies with pianists Murray Perahia, Gyorgy Sebok, Daniel Blumenthal and Ralph Votapek. As a pianist, since his Carnegie Hall debut at the age of 19, Kevin has been a frequent soloist in such venues as Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Geneva’s Victoria Hall and Vienna’s Musikverein. Following several seasons of annual performances in The Netherlands and Belgium, including the complete piano sonatas of Schubert in Amsterdam, Kevin was named a Fellow of the Flemish Community by the Belgian government in 1998.
In addition to work as a piano soloist, Kevin has been long active as a conductor. Kevin most recently served on the Opera Studies faculty of Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music where he was Music Director and Conductor for Martina Arroyo’s Advanced Opera Program. Prior to that, Kevin spent four seasons as Resident Conductor and Guest Music Director of the Illinois Opera Theatre at the University of Illinois where he conducted numerous productions ranging from the operas of Mozart’s to French Grand Opera. As conductor of the Theatre’s Workshop productions, Class presided over performances of a series of American operas including Kurt Weill’s Street Scene, Hugo Weisgall’s Six Characters in Search of an Author and Russell Smith’s Unicorn in the Garden. With more than 40 operas in his active repertoire, conducting activities have found him on the podium at the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden and the National Opera Studio in London, as well as the National Opera Theatre La Monnaie in Brussels and was Principal Guest Conductor for Opera Illinois (Peoria) where he conducted Puccini’s Il Trittico to critical and audience acclaim. In orchestral repertoire he has appeared in front of the Chicago Youth Symphony, Northern Illinois Philharmonic, Peabody Conservatory Orchestra, the University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, and as Resident Conductor of the Illinois New Music Ensemble.
As a collaborative pianist, Kevin has long been active in both instrumental and vocal repertoire. In addition to leading a course on the violin sonatas of Mozart, performances this season also include recitals with cellist Wesley Baldwin and violinist Miro Hristov. A continuing project includes a partnership with mezzo-soprano Emily Langford Johnson presenting Frederic Rzewski’s monumental monodrama Antigone-Legende. This work illustrates Kevin’s commitment to contemporary music that has demonstrated by a number of world premiers of new works by composers such as Gunther Schuller, William Albright and William Bolcom.
Kevin combines his multiple specializations into an annual residency in Asia where he leads masterclasses and workshops for pianists, accompanists, singers and conductors. He is also Music Director/Conductor and teacher of Asia’s foremost training program for opera singers and conductors: Nami Island Opera Young Artist’s Program.