Concert pianist, pedagogue and clinician Andrew Focks continues to garner worldwide acclaim for his breathtaking intensity and freedom that inspires audiences to hear music in an entirely new way, combining brilliant virtuosity with profound depth and introspection. “Andrew Focks is not only a superb pianist, but an engaging, articulate, and creative musician. He is just what we need in the music world today: a born communicator!” (Jon Kimura Parker)
An award-winning pianist, Andrew Focks has performed as a solo recitalist, concerto soloist and chamber musician in venues throughout the United States, Hungary, Italy, Austria, Germany, England, and China. He has made successful solo debuts in concert halls around the world, including Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, and been broadcasted on television and radio. His command of an unusually vast repertoire has led to collaborations with a myriad of artists, most recently including members of the Grand Rapids, Canton and Akron Symphonies.
Greatly in demand as a pedagogue, Dr. Focks’ students have performed in venues including Millennium Park (Chicago), Severance Hall (Cleveland), Carnegie Hall (New York), Hollywood Bowl (Los Angeles), Mixon Hall (Cleveland), Olympiahalle (Munich), Sportpaleis (Antwerp), Barclaycard Arena (Hamburg), The Kennedy Center (Washington D.C.) and more. They continue to be frequent scholarship recipients and competition prizewinners at the regional and national levels. Alumni from Focks’ studio have graduated from such prestigious institutions as the Juilliard School, Boston University, Indiana University, and Cleveland Institute of Music. Dr. Focks works with students from a wide array of musical backgrounds committed to the exploration of music, and routinely instructs music teachers in the area.
Andrew Focks frequently gives masterclasses and lectures in the United States and Europe. His fascination with the mind-body connection has led to presentations and workshops on the psychology of music teaching and performance. Some of these principles are derived from his background as a martial artist. His holistic approach to teaching piano technique strengthens awareness and presence while simultaneously developing physical dexterity and heightened coordination. Dr. Focks also emphasizes the importance of “practical practicing” and guides students in developing a toolbox for effective problem solving. His versatile training explores the full syntax of music including composition, improvisation, ear training, history and theory, as illustrated in his presentation at the OhioMTA Annual Conference, “The Complete Musician: Getting Behind the Notes.”
Deeply committed to the future of the arts, Andrew Focks is President of the Northeast Ohio Music Teachers Association, and has appeared in hundreds of outreach concerts and events throughout the United States. He currently has a close association with ArtsConnect, a division of the Cleveland International Piano Competition. He has served on multiple arts committees and as chair for state music conferences. His article “A Conversation with Robert Levin” was the featured cover story of Clavier Companion (July/August 2016).
Born in Moers, Germany, Focks began his early music training in the Boston area with Patty Clark. At age 15, he was invited into the distinguished New England Conservatory of Music Preparatory Program to work with the celebrated pianist, Ya-Fei Chuang. He went on to study under full scholarships for his Bachelors and Masters degrees at Florida State University and Rice University, respectively, before receiving his Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance degree with a Certificate in Piano Pedagogy from the Cleveland Institute of Music. His studies were further supplemented at academies throughout the world, including seven summers at the Mozarteum Academy in Salzburg, Austria. During his education he performed in master classes for many of today’s leading pianists including Andras Schiff and Richard Goode. His mentors have included Robert Levin, Ya-Fei Chuang, Jon Kimura Parker, Daniel Shapiro, Read Gainsford and Arnaldo Cohen.
Dr. Focks currently serves on the piano faculty and music theory faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Music Preparatory & Continuing Education Division and is also an independent teacher in the Cleveland area. In addition, he works remotely with students and teachers from around the world and travels extensively as a teacher and performing artist.