Pianist Kevin Cole has performed with over 100 orchestras worldwide including sold out performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, BBC Concert Orchestra at Royal Albert Hall, and the National Symphony Orchestra at The Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall. He is regarded as the foremost interpreter of George Gershwin’s piano compositions and the first pianist to play all four of Gershwin’s works for piano and orchestra in one concert (Albany Symphony).
Cole’s most recent recordings include the first recordings of Gershwin’s Concerto in F (2022), Rhapsody in Blue (2023), and Second Rhapsody (2023) playing the new University of Michigan’s Gershwin Initiative original editions with the National Orchestral Institute + Festival under the baton of David Alan Miller for Naxos. Concerto in F was released in 2023. The two Rhapsodies will be released by Naxos and for all streaming platforms in January 2024 in honor of the 100th anniversary of Rhapsody in Blue.
An award-winning musical director, arranger, composer, vocalist, archivist, recording artist, and producer, Cole has garnered the praises of some of America’s greatest songwriters: Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen, E.Y. Harburg, Hugh Martin, Burton Lane, Marvin Hamlisch, Stephen Sondheim, and members of the Jerome Kern and Gershwin families. He has collaborated with Marvin Hamlisch, opened for Doc Severinsen and the Tonight Show Band, shared a concert evening with Broadway musical legend Barbara Cook, toured with Grammy-winning soprano Sylvia McNair, performed at the invitation of the prestigious Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, and served as Artistic Director for Ravinia Festival’s Steans Institute Musical Theatre Initiative. His collaborations with other creatives led to the 1995 Gramophone Album of the Year with soprano Dawn Upshaw (Oh, Kay! on Elektra/Nonesuch) and the smash hit revival of Babes in Arms with Broadway choreographer Randy Skinner (42nd Street) for Goodspeed Opera House.
Cole is a Steinway Artist and a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy. His many engagements include the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Boston Philharmonic, Nashville Symphony, Albany Symphony, Cincinnati Pops, Indianapolis Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Edmonton Symphony (Canada), Philharmonia Orchestra (UK), BBC Concert Orchestra (UK), Grant Park Symphony, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Utah Symphony and more. Among the conductors he has performed with are Stuart Chafetz, Robert Franz, Giancarlo Guerrero, Keitaro Harada, Lawrence Loh, David Alan Miller, Robert Moody, Edwin Outwater, John Morris Russell and Benjamin Zander.
Cole has crafted orchestral and concert programs that showcase the genius of American composers Marvin Hamlisch, Cole Porter, and George Gershwin. BLUE RHAPSODY, a program for symphonies with Cole as soloist for Rhapsody in Blue and Concerto in F in one performance, and COLE PLAYS GERSHWIN, a solo piano show for concert and festival series that includes Gershwin’s own arrangement of Rhapsody in Blue and Cole’s arrangements from the Gershwin songbook, are booking now in celebration of 100 years of Rhapsody in Blue (1924).
Edward Jablonski, author of the Encyclopedia of American Music and renowned Gershwin scholar said, “Kevin is the best Gershwin pianist since Gershwin himself – no one can touch him.” Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune declared: “…Cole stands as the best Gershwin pianist in America today.”
Current June 2023
Kevin shares a beautiful story of performing during a rain storm with Utah Symphony and opens up about his recent brain surgery.
Kevin plays Rhapsody in Blue with The Nashville Symphony Orchestra.
A behind the scenes look at rehearsal of Kevin with the Brussels Philharmonic preparing Gershwin's Concerto in F.