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jean-david-coenJean-David Coen is professor of piano and music history at Willamette. He received the first prize from the Paris Conservatory, and has degrees from the Juilliard School, Yale University and the University of Southern California.

Coen started his studies with Jack Previn (conductor Andre’s father) and continued with Adele Marcus. Further extensive work with Jeanne-Marie Darre, Sascha Gorodnitzky, and Claude Frank familiarized him with the great French, German, and Russian traditions. Jean-David’s doctoral work with renowned artist/teacher John Perry culminated in his becoming a faculty member at the Aspen Music Festival, a member of the Board of Trustees, and Perry’s assistant for 24 years.

His performances have been featured numerous times on National Public Radio. He has collaborated frequently with artists such as violinist Robert McDuffie and cellist Yehuda Hanani.Coen has been a visiting professor of music at the Thornton School at U.S.C. and has toured China with Trio Oregon.  His 2008 performance of the Beethoven Diabelli Variations at the Aspen Festival concluded a four-year-long cycle of Beethoven’s piano works.

Jean-David has taught students who have won numerous international prizes including several recent Gilmore awards. In Oregon, Jean-David’s students have won all major state competitions and he has adjudicated and been clinician for the last three years of OMTA Classical, Romantic and Baroque festivals.  Jean-David resides in Portland with his daughter Isobel.

Excerpt from a reflective article on teaching:

Jean-David Coen can play sonatas and concertos to packed venues without breaking a sweat. Yet when the professor of music and renowned pianist first began teaching classes at Willamette, he could not avoid a twinge or two of stage fright. “Every class used to feel like a performance,” he remembers.
This admission says a great deal about the importance Coen attaches to his teaching. Like every great performer, however, he always rises to the occasion. “I’m in love with the material, so that makes it easy. A liberal arts college is a wonderful place to explore music. Making all of the cultural connections and the connections with intellectual history is very important to me.”

So is helping students to cultivate their critical faculties and use them instinctively. That skill, says Coen, is as essential to good performance as it is to good scholarship. “Whatever piece you perform, the pianistic and technical demands are always going to be there. However, one’s understanding of style; the analysis of the piece; your ability to take it apart and peel away the layers of meaning; and heart – all of those things are necessary for a good interpretation.”

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