Each year, Kentucky Performing Arts and its partners in the Gheens Great Expectations program select a young classical musician who will be featured as the soloist with the Louisville Orchestra. This year’s Gheens Artist is pianist Clayton Stephenson from New York City. In addition to being a highly accomplished artist and engaging person, Stephenson’s mission to reach and inspire young people is what separated him from dozens of other promising young artists who we considered last spring.
Clayton’s own beginnings in music are directly connected to his passion for outreach. Here he talks about how he received extra attention from a piano teacher that helped him become the very first musician to jump from Juilliard’s Music Achievement Program (MAP) to Juilliard’s very selective Pre-College Program:
Clayton’s career has been propelled by several organizations such From the Top and the Lang Lang Foundation, who have provided both performance opportunities and outreach experiences:
His gratitude for the opportunities that he has received fuels his passion for inspiring youth:
"I'm very lucky to be able to have this type of help, so I want to share this generosity that I've been given and give back to the communities that have helped me and helped others see the magic of playing piano and enjoying music." - Clayton Stephenson
This makes Clayton the ideal Gheens Artist – a world class performer with a big heart for youth and outreach. You can hear 2020 Gheens Artist Clayton Stephenson perform the Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Louisville Orchestra at the Gheens Great Expectations Concert which also features the Louisville Youth Orchestra, on Wednesday, February 5th at 6:30 PM in Whitney Hall. It is a free and un-ticketed event.