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Sharon Mann

Sharon Mann headshot sitting at the piano


Office 324

Courses Taught

Applied Lessons

Chamber Music


DMA, Northwestern University

MM, Stanford University

BM, The Juilliard School

Awards and Distinctions

George Eastman Award

Notable Studio Wins

Grotian Steinweg artist - Ning Zhou

Grotian Steinweg artist - Ziqian Li

Honen, Busoni, Yamaha - Rachel Breen

Cliburn Junior 2023 - Andrew Gu

Distinguished Alumni

Sarah Cahill - internationally known 20th century expert, SFCM faculty, on KALW, recording artist, has commissioned 250 contemporary piano competitions

Daniel Walden, Phd (Musicology, Harvard) - Asst Prof. of Music at Yale, concert artist

Rachel Breen - currently rising star as concert pianist, prize winner numerous international competitions

Misha Galant - winner of Gilmore Young Artist Award, 2020

Cobi Ashkenazi - London; rising star in the field of piano mechanics, published; completing a combined doctorate at Royal Conservatory + Univerisity of London

Kevin Sun, DMA - Assistant Professor of Piano, U of Pittsburgh

Ning Zhou - Asst Prof of Piano in Xian University/ China and recently named a Grotian Steinweg Artist

Andrew Gu, age 16 - participated in the Cliburn Jr International competition 2023


What is your hometown?

Chicago, IL

What is your favorite recording?

Josef Hofmann in a live performance of Chopin’s Concerto No. 2 (2nd Movement!)

What are you passionate about outside of music?

Hiking on Mount Tamalpais.

Who were your major teachers?

Isador Buchhalter, Rudolph Ganz, Rosalyn Tureck, and Irwin Freundlich.

What is a favorite quote that you repeatedly tell students?

“You're the genius; I'm the boss!”

What question do you wish students would ask sooner rather than later?

“Where do you think I fit in this field?”

What was the defining moment when you decided to pursue music as a career?

I was eleven. From when I was perhaps eight, my family insisted that I attend the Chicago Symphony every week with my much-older sister. I remember sleeping on her shoulder in one concert. I had school the next day, and I really wanted to be home, sleeping. Suddenly, at that stunning spot in the development section of the first movement of Mozart's 40th Symphony, all that sound (coming into my ears year after year) made fantastic sense. It was a language. It was speaking! Right then and there, I sat up and fell in love with music.

What was a turning point in your career?

Playing the The Goldberg Variations for Rosalyn Tureck.

If you weren't a musician or teacher, what do you think you would be doing now?


What is your daily practice routine?

Always early. Very early. Before the day claims me. A sacred time.

If you could play only three composers for the rest of your life, who would they be?

Bach, Brahms, and Rachmaninoff.

From a music history perspective, what year and city are most important to you?

I would have loved to be a musician on the cusp of the classical/romantic era. Say 1827–28 Vienna. The co-mingling of the two ways of looking at music had to be very alive, confusing even, certainly exciting.

What are your most important collaborations?

Alain Marion, Mack McCray, and Michael Grebanier.

Who have you had the privilege of teaching?

After decades of teaching hundreds of students (many of them frankly extraordinary), I find it impossible to name only a few. Yes, a good many are celebrity students, having fared well in competition, having earned teaching positions, having secured a performing life, leading strong professional lives. Yes, some stand out. They were always the ones for whom music was a necessity...

That said, however, my most enduring, my most memorable moments have to do with being there when a young musical mind pitches forward and advances to a new level, a new understanding. These pure moments of teaching can come at any time and with a student at any level. These pure moments of teaching remain in my mind year after year. (Sometimes I think of the Piano Studio as a bewitching place for Alchemy.)

What are your academic publications?

Performing Bach on the Modern Piano, Stanford University

Creativity and the University: A View from the Studio, Ohio State University

What recordings can we hear you on?

Bach: The Six Partitas, Capella

What is your unrealized project?

To record The Well-Tempered Clavier. I'd also like to edit all 19 keyboard suites of J.S. Bach, including articulations. This could be highly personalized, like Schnabel's Beethoven.


Sharon Mann's early training on the piano began in Chicago with teachers Rudolph Ganz and Isador Buchhalter and continued with Irwin Freundlich and Rosalyn Tureck. She holds the country's first doctorate in piano/chamber music from Northwestern University in addition to her degrees from The Juilliard School and Stanford University. A respected soloist and ensemble player, Dr. Mann is widely acclaimed for her penetrating interpretations of Bach’s keyboard music: Her recording of the Six Partitas has recently been re-released by Cappella Records, and she has performed with such artists as Alain Marion, Michael Grebanier, Elaine Skorodin-Fuhrmann, and the Cavani String Quartet.

An appointee of Governor Richard Celeste, Dr. Mann was, for six years, Artistic Director of Ohio’s Governor’s Series, lecturing on radio directly from the state mansion. She has also served as Artistic Director of California’s Junior Bach Festival and as producer of the Soviet Emigré Orchestra.  

Dr. Mann has held faculty positions with the Itzhak Perlman Music Program, the Bowdoin International Music Festival, the California Summer Music Festival, St. Olaf College, and Mills College. She has taught internationally in Germany, Greece, Italy, and China (where she returns annually), as well across the U.S. in Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, and Utah. She is currently working on a new edition of the complete Bach Keyboard Suites.