Prof Thomas Hecht
Head of Piano (Keyboard) Studies
Renowned American pianist and pedagogue Thomas Hecht is the founding Head of Keyboard Studies at the Conservatory.
Over the span of nearly three decades he has concertised internationally as concerto soloist, recitalist, chamber musician and as a member of the acclaimed duo-piano team Hecht & Shapiro, winners of the Munich International Two Piano Competition and USA National Duo Piano Competition. He was the former Head of Piano Studies and Artist-In-Residence at the School of Music at Victoria University in New Zealand and prior to that served for many years as Professor of Piano & Artist-In-Residence at the Cleveland Institute of Music.
Professor Hecht has performed in many of the world's cultural centres, appearing with leading orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, Stuttgart Symphony Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Orchestra, Johannesburg Festival Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. Highlights of recent tours include performances at the Lincoln Center in New York, Berlin Philharmonic Hall, the Kennedy Center in Washington, and recitals in Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Italy, Serbia, Montenegro, Germany, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Armenia, Artsakh, South Africa, and throughout all the major centres of Australia and New Zealand.
Thomas Hecht is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory where he won first prize in the concerto competition and the Kaufmann Award for excellence in chamber music. Later he was accepted for graduate studies at the Peabody Institute as a student of Leon Fleisher, who was so impressed with the young pianist's abilities that was soon asked to become his mentor’s teaching assistant, an honour which Fleisher - one of the great pianists of our time - had never before bestowed on any pianist. His merits and many noteworthy achievements were recently celebrated at Peabody where he was presented with the coveted “Young Maestro” Award, honouring alumni who have distinguished themselves in their performing careers.
Dr. Hecht also enjoys a well-deserved reputation as one of the leading teachers of his generation, having produced a multitude of first prizewinners in solo and two piano competitions throughout the United States, Europe and Australasia. He has given masterclasses at renowned institutions such as the Royal Academy, Royal Northern and Royal Welsh Colleges of Music, as well as at the Paris, Eastman, Oberlin, Peabody, Sydney and Beijing and Sichuan Conservatories. He recently served as Visiting Professor at the Peabody Institute under the auspices of the first YST-Peabody faculty exchange programme, while other guest residency invitations have included the Conservatoire de Paris, Sibelius Academy, Guildhall College of Music & Drama, the University of Trossingen and the Western Australia Academy for the Performing Arts.
His highly sought after piano class, which has nurtured young talents for over twenty five years on three continents-- has produced concerto soloists with the Singapore, New Zealand, Christchurch, Lamont, Lima, Kaunas, Peabody and Artsakh Symphony Orchestras, the Cleveland, Philippines, Singapore and Dnepropetrovsk Philharmonic Orchestras, the London Soloists Chamber Orchestra, the Melbourne and Wellington Youth Orchestras, the Auckland Philharmonia, the Singapore Festival Orchestra and Orchestra of the Music Makers. Two of his Singaporean protégés, Abigail Sin and Mervyn Lee, have been named Young Steinway Artists.
Throughout his career he has represented USA, New Zealand and Singapore on jury panels of the Gina Bachauer, Geneva, Isangyun, Ibiza and Paralympic International Piano Competitions in addition to the national piano competitions of Japan, Thailand, Australia and South Africa. He receives regular invitations to summer piano festivals, including performances in Sydney, Beijing, Wellington, Lausanne, Chethams, Taichung, Bavaria, Artsakh and Brasov (where he is Honorary Professor of Piano at the University of Transylvania), and continues to be in demand for workshops and pedagogy conferences throughout the world.
Thomas Hecht is a Steinway Artist and records for the Azica, Elysium and Atoll labels. labels.
"Hecht obviously believes in this music, and plays it with loving care and commitment. He is more of a poet than a showman…he reveals a tempered, lyrical approach far removed from the pyrotechnics of Horowitz but equally engaging in its own right.”
- Opus Magazine