Dr. Curtis Pavey is a pianist, harpsichordist, and educator serving as the Assistant Professor of Piano Pedagogy and Performance at the University of Missouri. Prior to his appointment at MU, Pavey served on the faculties of the University of Cincinnati and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Passionate about keyboard works from the 16th to the 21st centuries, he feels equally at home performing or teaching from the piano or the harpsichord.
Dr. Pavey has presented talks at many prominent conferences including the Music Teachers National Association National Conference, the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy, the Piano Pedagogy Collegiate Symposium, and the Ohio/Kentucky Music Teachers Association Conference. At NCKP 2023: The Piano Conference, Pavey presented a lecture recital on the music of Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre, and a presentation on historic improvisation titled “Make It Your Own: Improvising in Baroque Styles.” In July 2023, he was invited to present a live webinar for MTNA titled “Reimaging the Baroque: Reflections from Performance Practice,” which is archived on the MTNA website. The Frances Clark Center’s From the Artist Bench series includes his video teaching demonstration and performance tips for Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre’s Suite in A Minor; another video on Ravel’s Prelude in A Minor is forthcoming on their Inspiring Artistry series. At the Frances Clark Center, Dr. Pavey serves as Manager of Online Publications, assisting with online courses, social media, and the Piano Inspires Discovery Page. He also serves as manager of the Journal of Piano Research and a digital copy editor for Piano Magazine. His research focuses include Baroque piano pedagogy, historic improvisation, early French music, the music of Maurice Ravel, music by Cuban composers, and composers from underrepresented backgrounds in the classical music field.
As a pianist, Pavey engages audiences with intellectual and thoughtful interpretations, striving to make meaningful connections between repertoire old and new. Pavey has performed as a soloist in the Oklahoma Mozart Festival, the Edward Auer Summer Piano Workshop (EASPW), the Great Lakes Chamber Festival, Montreal’s Kin Experience, and the Madison Performing Arts Foundation. In Cincinnati, he gave the world premiere performance of composer Grace Choi’s Voyage, a work for solo piano. In August 2021, Pavey was named a finalist in the 2021 Beardsley Cup Piano Prize Competition. He has a special interest in the music of Maurice Ravel and is currently working to learn his complete piano music. In 2020, he received a Teacher Enrichment Grant from the Music Teachers National Association that supported private piano lessons on Ravel’s piano music with Canadian pianist and Ravel specialist, André Laplante. In 2016, Pavey won the EASPW Chamber Music Competition and performed Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E-flat Major, Op. 44 with guest artists including Sarah Kapustin, Godfried Hoogeveen, and Marcus Thompson. The following year, he won the EASPW Solo Piano Competition. He has performed in master classes for renowned pianists Julian Martin, Emile Naoumoff, Su Bin, Bruce Brubaker, Olga Kern, and Malcolm Bilson, and worked privately with Jerome Lowenthal, Peter Bithell, Jon Nakamatsu, Crystal Lee, and Amy Yang.
In 2021, Pavey was recognized as a member of Diapason Magazine’s “20 Under 30 – Class of 2021,” recognizing rising stars in the organ and harpsichord field. The same year, he was a semifinalist in the Jurow International Harpsichord Competition. In 2022, he was selected to serve as a member of Early Music America’s Emerging Professional Leadership Council, helping to spread awareness and passion for early music in North America. Pavey was acclaimed by Peter Jacobi of the Herald Times, who described him as “an artist of considerable finish and even more promise” after his opening debut recital in the Bloomington Early Music Festival as an “Emerging Artist.” In October 2017 and January 2018, he performed Bach’s Harpsichord Concerto in A Major, BWV 1055 with the IU Baroque Orchestra. As a continuo player, Pavey has performed in the Bloomington Early Music Festival and the Oregon Bach Festivals. He has coached with many distinguished early music specialists including Elisabeth Wright, Jacques Ogg, Wilbert Hazlezet, Alexander Weimann, John Butt, Debra Nagy, Dana Marsh, Stanley Ritchie, Richard Egarr, and Bruce Dickey.
Dr. Pavey regularly collaborates in a number of ensemble settings. He was chosen to perform amongst CCM faculty pianists James Tocco and Dr. Dror Biran in Stravinsky’s Les Noces. With pianist Helena Hyesoo Kim, he performed a four-hands piano recital in Madison, Indiana at the Madison Performing Arts Foundation Series, and at the Kin Experience in Montreal, Quebec. In 2019, Pavey performed works of Handel as well as Schubert’s complete Die Winterreise, D. 911 with bass-baritone Daren Small. Working with contemporary composer Hojin Lee, he performed her Four Miniatures for Flute and Piano (2009) in a concert of the composer’s works.
Pavey received his Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance from the University of Cincinnati where he studied with Professor James Tocco. He completed a cognate in harpsichord under the tutelage of Dr. Michael Unger and a cognate in piano pedagogy under the joint direction of Dr. Michelle Conda and Dr. Andy Villemez. His doctoral project is a textbook titled An Introduction to Early Music and the Harpsichord, which was used at the University of Cincinnati in the Fall 2022 semester. Prior to his studies in Cincinnati, he studied at Indiana University where he graduated from the Bachelor of Music – Piano Performance and Master of Music – Piano Performance and Early Music Harpsichord. During his time at IU, he worked with Professors Edward Auer, Elisabeth Wright, Lee Phillips, and Evelyne Brancart.