In Memoriam: Phillip Kawin

College Faculty:

Precollege Faculty:

In Memoriam
September 30, 1956 to September 9, 2021

Beloved pianist, and teacher at Manhattan School of Music, Phillip Kawin passed away in New York City on September 9, 2021. He lives on in his music, in his students, and in the hearts of all those who love him.

The Phillip Kawin Memorial Scholarship Fund

Pianist Phillip Kawin (September 30, 1956 to September 9, 2021), an alumnus of Manhattan School of Music, a longtime member of the School’s piano faculty, and Chair of MSM’s Faculty Council, nurtured and developed the talents of hundreds of aspiring artists. His grateful students, colleagues, and friends are now establishing a scholarship at the School in his memory.

To contribute to the scholarship fund, please click here or send a gift to:

Phillip Kawin Memorial Scholarship Fund
Manhattan School of Music
Office of Advancement
130 Claremont Avenue
New York, New York 10027

Or call the MSM Advancement Office at 917-493-4595.


Phillip Kawin developed a highly individual pedagogical approach that established him as a much sought-after artist teacher. His concepts evolved through an eclectic background of training that combined a variety of artistic and esthetic influences. He created a teaching methodology that presents the principles of technique and musicianship in a detailed analytical approach—an approach that did not ignore the intuitive aspect of music-making. Mr. Kawin studied with Jules Gentil at the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris, in New York City with Howard Aibel (who was Rosina Lhevinne’s assistant), and later with Dora Zaslavsky (who had studied with Backhaus and Bauer) at Manhattan School of Music. In 1989, Mr. Kawin was appointed to the college faculty of Manhattan School of Music, where he worked with a select studio of advanced, gifted pupils from diverse corners of the globe.

Mr. Kawin’s students have won top honors in the Young Concert Artists Auditions as well as in the Martha Argerich International, Jacob Flier International, World Piano, Kosciuszko, Thelonious Monk International (jazz piano), Melilla in Spain, Heida Hermanns, Soulima Stravinsky International, Josef Hofmann, Mieczyslaw Munz, Leschetizky, and Long–Thibaud Crespin International competitions. Phillip Kawin was in constant demand at premier international conferences and festivals, having given his renowned lectures and insightful master classes in Russia, Hong Kong, Israel, China, Korea, Taiwan, the U.S., and throughout Australia. He was in residence for more than 18 years at the PianoSummer at New Paltz (New York) International Institute/Festival, and taught regularly at the Summit (New York) Music Festival, the International Academy of Music in Castelnuovo di Garfagnana (Italy), and the Beijing International Music Festival & Academy (China). He was a guest adjudicator for such competitions as the Beethoven International Piano Competition Vienna, Bösendorfer (four times), USASU International Piano Competition, Sydney International, Van Cliburn Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs, and the Tchaikovsky International Competition for Young Musicians. He is featured on five DVDs for Excellence in Music, Inc., recorded live at the World Piano Pedagogy Conferences.

Phillip Kawin received critical acclaim for his performances in venues all over the world—from Sydney’s Angel Place Recital Hall to Beijing’s Forbidden City Concert Hall. As recitalist and soloist with orchestra, Phillip Kawin performed in the U.S., Korea, Italy, Spain, Russia, Asia, and Australia. Kawin’s performances may be heard on the Master Performers Distinguished Artists Label. He released a critically acclaimed recording of works by Beethoven, Liszt, Schumann and Prokofiev. He recorded an all-Schubert CD for Master Performers Label released in 2015. Most recently, Mr. Kawin gave master classes at both the DMZ and the Busan international festivals in South Korea; the Harvard Club in New York (the first-ever class at that historic venue); Summit Music Festival; and for the Sibelius Academy in Finland, through the Symposium and Practicum in Synchronous Distance Learning. Phillip Kawin was a Steinway Artist.

Kawin served as a faculty representative for the Manhattan School of Music Board of Trustees (2008–2011) and most recently as Chair of the College Faculty Council. He was a member of the Manhattan School of Music College faculty since 1989 and of the Precollege faculty since 1986.

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