Lauded as “technically fearless with…an enormous, rich sound” (La Scena Musicale), pianist Michelle Cann made her orchestral debut at age fourteen and has since performed as a soloist with prominent orchestras such as the Atlanta and Cincinnati symphony orchestras, The Cleveland Orchestra, the New Jersey Symphony, and The Philadelphia Orchestra.
Ms. Cann’s 2022-23 season includes an appearance with the Los Angeles Philharmonic as part of the Rock My Soul festival, return engagements with the Cincinnati and New Jersey symphonies, and debut performances with the Baltimore, National, New World, Seattle, and Utah symphonies. She makes her debut at Carnegie Hall with the New York Youth Symphony and performs recitals in New Orleans, Little Rock, Sarasota, Toronto, and Washington, D.C. She also performs duo piano recitals with her sister and frequent collaborator, pianist Kimberly Cann. Together, the Cann Duo’s “sheer verve and evident passion is something to behold” (Mountain Xpress).
A champion of the music of Florence Price, Ms. Cann performed the New York City premiere of the composer’s Piano Concerto in One Movement with The Dream Unfinished Orchestra in July 2016 and the Philadelphia premiere with The Philadelphia Orchestra and Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin in February 2021, which the Philadelphia Inquirer called “exquisite.” She has also performed Price’s works for solo piano and chamber ensemble for prestigious presenters such as Caramoor, Chamber Music Detroit, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, San Francisco Performances, and Washington Performing Arts.
Ms. Cann is the recipient of the 2022 Sphinx Medal of Excellence, the highest honor bestowed by the Sphinx Organization, the 2022 Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Award, and the Cleveland Institute of Music’s 2022 Alumni Achievement Award. She has won top prizes in competitions, including the Blount Slawson Young Artists Competition and the Wideman International Piano Competition. Additionally, she has served on the juries of the Cleveland International Piano Competition, the Kauffman Music Center International Youth Piano Competition, and the piano competition of the Music Academy of the West.
Embracing a dual role as performer and pedagogue, Ms. Cann is frequently invited to teach master classes, give lecture-demonstrations, and lead teaching residencies, including the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival and the National Conference of the Music Teachers National Association. A staunch believer in the power of music to build community, she has served as the director of two children’s choruses in the El Sistema-inspired program Play On Philly and was among the first class of ArtistYear fellows at the Curtis Institute of Music. Through ArtistYear, she worked with community partners City Year, Teach for America, and AmeriCorps to provide arts education and access to underserved communities in Philadelphia.
Ms. Cann has appeared as cohost and collaborative pianist with NPR’s From The Top, collaborating with actor/conductor Damon Gupton, violinist Leila Josefowicz, and violinist and MacArthur Fellow Vijay Gupta. She has also been featured on WRTI-FM and WHYY-TV in Philadelphia. Her summer festival appearances have included Bay Chamber Concerts, the Taos Chamber Music Festival, Yellow Barn, Perlman Music Program, Music Academy of the West, Geneva Music Festival, and Pianofest in the Hamptons, where she serves as artist in residence.
Ms. Cann holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in piano performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she studied with Paul Schenly and Dr. Daniel Shapiro, and an Artist’s Diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with Robert McDonald. Ms. Cann joined the Curtis piano faculty in 2020 as the inaugural Eleanor Sokoloff Chair in Piano Studies.