SEAN BENNETT MUSICAL BIOGRAPHY
(born February 14, 1979) is a classical pianist of American origin most notable
for being one of the most downloaded classical musicians in the history of the internet
(nearly 2 million downloads to date), one of the youngest to perform
Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto #3 at 14, the first to write-down, record, and
perform the famed Horowitz arrangements all in the same concert, and the
world's expert on the science behind why music sticks in peoples' thoughts (a
process he calls "Musical Imagery Repetition," or MIR).
Commonly regarded as a former child-prodigy, Bennett won a prize in a Disney song-arranging contest at 5, gave his debut concert at the age of 7 playing Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody #2, won national acclaim in the PTA Reflections composition contest at 10, and at 14, gained international attention after becoming the one of the youngest in the world to ever perform and record Rachmaninov's 3rd Piano Concerto.
At this point Baxter J. Noyes, angered at politics that interfered with a performance of the Rachmaninoff by "the greatest prodigy I've heard" awarded Bennett with a new Steinway B grand piano and funded him to receive studies and extended consultations with Juilliard and Curtis Faculty, including John Browning, Peter Serkin, Emanuel Ax, Jerome Lowenthal, Seymour Lipkin, Leon Fleisher, Dmitry Paperno, and Gary Graffman. Positive reviews by the Chicago Tribune, the Indianapolis Star, Ruth Laredo, Marvin Hamlisch, and John Bell Young, established him on the performing circuit through his teenage years.
At 19, after giving 400 solo concerts and performing with many orchestras, on NPR, regular radio, television, performing for the foreign consulates of 20 countries and Polish President Lech Walesa, and being named a winner in 50 local, national, and international competitions including the Kosciuszko National Chopin Competition and 7 awards from Steinway, Bennett retired from competitions. At this time, he set to study piano in isolation so he could release recordings directly to the public.
During his period of artistic isolation, Bennett studied Neuroscience at Harvard advised by MIT linguist Noam Chomsky and psychologist Richard Hackman as a USA Today All-USA College Team member. He won the coveted Gates Cambridge Scholarship for further graduate studies at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom, where he was elected chair of the Gates Council by 73% of voting scholars, allowing him to work with Bill Gates Sr. to promote Gates Foundation aims, and where he investigated why music sticks in peoples' thoughts so he could raise the bar for memorable music performances. It was during this period from 2002-2005 that by ear, Bennett became one of the first to transcribe, record, and perform the set of the famed Vladimir Horowitz arrangements in a 25 concert tour throughout the UK.
Due to a strong desire to see young people study music, in 1998, Bennett began releasing recordings for free download over the Internet. His first recordings on MP3.com and on Vitaminic.com were downloaded by over 300,000 music enthusiasts beginning in 1999, earning Bennett a rank in the top 10 classical artists among 240,000 on MP3.com and translation of his page into 17 languages. In May and October of 2004, Bennett was ranked as the #1 most downloaded classical artist on the Internet by Download.com, and ranked in the Top Ten for downloads of songs from all musical genres. He remains to this day the only classical artist on Download.com to have had a Top Ten selection. On Vitaminic, until their closure, he was in the top ten classical artists continuously for nearly 2 years. In September 2006, he became the 11th most viewed music channel on Youtube.com for the week and the #1 most viewed classical channel. To date, his download and view count on Youtube is over 1,000,000. His recordings are also available on 122 commercial download sites, cell phone mp3 providers, and coffeeshop music compilations, including many of the most well-known brands (iTunes, Napster, Starbucks, Rhapsody, RollingStone.com, eMusic, and others).
While releasing new recordings, Bennett has continued his research on MIR, has taught extensively at Cambridge University, investigated the neuroscience of teams for the Central Intelligence Agency and published the results, has been the Associate Director of MIND, a center for exceptionally gifted children, won the Bok Award recognizing the top student evaluation ratings at Harvard for his psychology teaching in 2004 with bestselling author Steven Pinker, and continues philanthropic work started with Bill Gates Sr.
Artistically, Bennett now prepares for his next generation of transcriptions and arrangements to be released on video directly to the public. He releases many free recordings in order to encourage more individuals to understand, appreciate, and learn the art of music. These recordings, while highly controversial have made and continue to make Bennett one of the most downloaded and fan-inspiring classical artists available on the Internet. Bennett currently lives in the Chicago area and charitably teaches a few advanced and prodigy piano students.