Pianist Elizabeth Schumann has a diverse career portfolio of projects, recordings, and performances which have brought her all over the world as recitalist, chamber musician, and concerto soloist. The Washington Post noted her playing as “deft, relentless, and devastatingly good—the sort of performance you experience not so much with your ears as your solar plexus.”
The first place winner of both the Bösendorfer International Piano Competition and the Pacific International Piano Competition, Elizabeth has won over 25 prizes and awards in other major national and international competitions, including the Cleveland International Piano Competition and the Hilton Head International Piano Competition. Elizabeth was honored with the prestigious Gilmore Young Artists Award, and was highlighted in a PBS Television documentary on the Gilmore Festival.
She has performed solo recitals and chamber music concerts worldwide, in such venues as the Kennedy Center, Vienna’s Bösendorfer Saal, Toronto’s Koerner Hall, and Montreal’s Place des Arts. Featured at the International UNICEF benefit concert for Hurricane Katrina Victims, the Cannes Film Festival, the Gilmore Festival, Australia’s Huntington Festival, the Musica Viva chamber music series, the Ravinia “Rising Stars” Series, and National Public Radio's “Performance Today”, her recitals have been broadcast live on public radio and television in cities around the world, including Washington D.C., New York, Sydney, Cleveland, Montréal, Dallas, and Chicago. Elizabeth gave the world premiere performance of Carl Vine's Sonata No. 3, which the composer dedicated to her.
As a dedicated chamber musician and proponent of community engagement, Elizabeth is a core member of the Ives Collective, Chameleon Arts Ensemble, and Ensemble San Francisco, a piano quartet dedicated to inspiring a more inclusive world. Elizabeth and her sister, Sonya Schumann, formed the Schumann Duo to engage diverse audiences with innovative combinations of piano music, theater, literature, art, and technology. The Schumann Duo’s tours of the US, Canada, and Australia were acclaimed by critics and audiences alike. In response to declining funding for arts education in the United States, Elizabeth devised and directed Piano Carnival, a Schumann Duo project to introduce free, high quality classical concert music to children in areas without arts education. Over 20,000 copies of Piano Carnival have been distributed for free, and multimedia lesson plans and the Piano Carnival iPad and iPhone applications are available free online. Elizabeth also conceived and created Son et Lumiére, an ongoing performance series that transforms outdoor urban spaces with live music accompanied by large scale video projections to reach beyond the concert hall and bring music into accessible public spaces. The goal of the series is to allow audiences to meet music on their own terms and experience its power without barriers of price or pretense.
Carrying on the pedagogical tradition of her teacher, Sergei Babayan, Elizabeth is the Billie Bennett Achilles Director of Keyboard Studies at Stanford University, where she focuses on integrating classical music training with strategies from neuroscience, psychology, biomechanics, and ergonomics. Her research aims to improve training and practice methods to develop skilled, resilient performers, with a broader goal of applying these insights to life beyond music. She served on faculty at Itzhak Perlman’s Perlman Music Program, Summer and Winter Performing Arts at Juilliard, and the Crowden Chamber Workshop. She is the owner and director of the Schumann Studio, a classical recording space in San Francisco.She is the director of the Schumann Studio, a classical recording space in San Francisco.