Bio

Sharon Su is a concert pianist, which simply means that she’s in the profession of wiggling her fingers and waving her head around, despite these generally not being socially acceptable activities. She has been called “personable and insanely talented” (Emily Fransen, Welcome to My Nerd Brain), praised for “gorgeously inward and thoughtful” playing (author M.T. Anderson), and referred to as “tart” (in a good way) by Joshua Kosman of the San Francisco Chronicle. She has been written about in the LA Times, SF Chronicle, VAN Magazine, TIME, BBC, Washington Post, Huffington Post, and other outlets. Most importantly, though, she has recently been hailed by her mother as being “pretty good at noise-making.”

 

 

Sharon can often be seen creating some kind of noise in public and has performed as a soloist throughout the US (where she was born and raised, despite many unsolicited “Where are you really from” inquiries) and Europe (where her tenuous grasp of German, French, and Italian has created many embarrassing situations despite her allegedly having studied these languages). Since 2019, Sharon has maintained 50/50 gender balance on every full solo program she’s performed (which is not an endorsement of the gender binary so much as it is an imperfect solution within historically informed work), which given the state of classical music means that she is often pointed to as an “expert in women composers.” 

She is the 2023 winner of the Hedwig Holbrook Prize from the Turn the Spotlight Foundation, with which she was a 2023 Fellow, mentored by Kathleen Kelly. In June 2023 she performed the workshop premiere of Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel’s Piano Concerto, a work spearheaded by the Ballets Russes Arts Initiative and arranged by Patricia Wallinga. Sharon has written a chapter debunking common myths about Clara Schumann for an upcoming book published by Clemson University Press.

An amusing pandemic project—in which she made a music video using footage of her playing Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons—got her featured in the documentary Virtual Cultures in Pandemic Times (2022) and the book Playing With Reality by Alex Humphreys (2022). She appeared with the Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Italy in 2015 and 2017 and in 2017 completed a residency with Chamber Music Silicon Valley.

Her recordings of piano works by Clara Schumann, Cècile Chaminade, Louise Farrenc, Florence Price, Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, and Maria Szymanowska have been hailed for “breathtaking clarity and passion” (Elizabeth de Brito, The Daffodil Perspective). In her self-led journey to learn about these remarkable composers, she has discovered that they led fascinating lives and has become known for telling their stories in funny and relatable ways in her concert talks and online. She is also unafraid of being gently critical of some classical music traditions (if you couldn’t tell from this bio) and has unintentionally generated discourse with pieces like an infamous article satirizing classical music writing, a blog post about the specific hurdles of performing music by women composers, and a piece about the impossible burdens placed on women on the stage. She has given lectures on her work and research to conservatories like the Royal College of Music and the Conservatory of Music at the University of the Pacific and organizations like the Music Teachers’ Association of California. She writes occasionally for VAN Magazine and weekly for her own newsletter demystifying the creative process around her work.

 

 

 

 

 

Sharon has been poking piano keys since the age of five; at sixteen she made the questionable decision of pursuing degrees in music because her brain hadn’t finished developing yet and so she did not realize what a bad idea it was. Teachers she has confused and disappointed include Yoshikazu Nagai, Gideon Rubin, Frank Wiens, Rex Cooper, and Marina Grudskaya. She also used to play the violin, but it’s better for humanity’s sake that she stopped.

Sharon is self-represented, which is why she’s allowed to have a bio like this. She spent her twenties getting by on a combination of gigging, teaching, coding, designing, and modeling, if you were wondering how one embarks on a career in music. She lives in Los Angeles with her patient husband and extremely adorable cat.

 

 

 

For those wondering why Sharon has such a silly bio, see her blog post on the subject.