Frost Chopin Academy connects professionals, students

This year’s Frost Chopin Academy will take place virtually from July 7-10. Photo: Jenny Abreu for the Frost School of Music
By Amanda M. Perez

This year’s Frost Chopin Academy will take place virtually from July 7-10. Photo: Jenny Abreu for the Frost School of Music

Frost Chopin Academy connects professionals, students

By Amanda M. Perez
The Frost School of Music showcases pianist Frédéric Chopin with an academy and festival dedicated to the composer’s craft that brings together masters and novices.

Regarded as one of the most well-known pianists of the Romantic era, Frédéric (originally Fryderyk) Chopin’s music still lives on today. Interpreting the composer’s music always has been elusive and challenging. But musicians continually try to grasp his artistry. In an effort to study Chopin’s work, the Frost School of Music’s Chopin Academy and Festival connects some of the world’s specialists—who have devoted their lives to the composer’s music—with young pianists. 

Kevin Kenner, assistant professor of piano in the Department of Keyboard Performance, is one of the many people who has studied and admired Chopin’s music. In 2018, he decided to bring that passion to Frost, creating the Frost Chopin Academy—a place where experts of the craft share wisdom, talent, and their fascination for Chopin with young, aspiring pianists.

“I first became intrigued with his music at the age of five when I began listening to my older sister, who was studying the piano,” said Kenner. “Chopin’s music is just such colorful music, and it has such a rich array of harmonies and some of the most memorable melodies.”

Kenner’s long-standing dedication to Chopin’s music led him to winning the International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, Poland, in 1990 which he credits with launching his career.

“I feel like at this point in my life, I want to share what I discovered throughout the years. And I want to associate with other people who have spent their lives trying to better understand [Chopin’s] music and share it with the next generation,” explained Kenner.  

In partnership with the Chopin Foundation of the United States, and with the generous support of the M. Lee Pearce Foundation and the Miami Salon Group, the Frost Chopin Academy offers pianists up to age 30 the opportunity to take lessons, attend workshops and lectures, and perform within a densely packed few days at the Frost School. This year’s Frost Chopin Academy will take place virtually from July 7-10. 

Jingen Chen, a junior majoring in piano performance, is one of the few students selected to take part in the academy. Those who are admitted have the opportunity to take private lessons with master teachers that allow teacher and student to address more pertinent performance issues that relate to each student’s specific needs. 

“I feel so honored to be accepted into the Frost Chopin Academy, because I am now going to have many opportunities to listen to helpful suggestions from distinguished Chopin specialists that will help me further understand Chopin’s spirit,” said Chen. “I’m really looking forward to gaining insight into Chopin’s music and playing his music through this wonderful learning experience.” 

In addition to the private lessons, the academy will feature specialized master classes and lectures fashioned to help participants with specific issues surrounding the performance of Chopin’s works. Guest artists will also share their specialized knowledge of Chopin’s life and works during lectures that will be open to the public. Every evening, live recitals of Chopin’s music will be performed by the instructors and available for all to attend. 

“This year’s virtual events will be packed into 12 events in four days. The nice thing about what we’re doing this year is that everything is free of charge,” noted Kenner. “Even if you are not one of the selected students to take part in the academy, anybody can register to join in on the webinars that are taking place during the day, and they can listen to the concerts livestreamed in the evening.”

According to Kenner, there have been many advantages to pivoting into a virtual setting. “There are no geographical restrictions, so we can now accept really fine students and master musicians who can teach from anywhere in the world,” he said. “For example, some teachers will be tuning in from as far away as Berlin and Cambridge, England.”

Kenner states that academies like these help Frost accomplish its goal as a school of excellence. “I think that the Frost School really emphasizes to its students the importance of being an effective performer. Bringing world renowned performers to our school in this kind of setting reflects our values of what is important to our school. We want to be a magnet for excellence,” he pointed out. 

The relationships built during the academy, Kenner indicated, have helped create other opportunities for Frost students. “The Frost Chopin Academy has led to a very interesting exchange between our faculty and master musicians from around the world,” said Kenner. “Some of our piano professors have been teaching remotely to students in Poland, and we are looking forward to having some Polish professors come and visit us during this next academic year to work with our students.”

Visit for more information about upcoming programming.