Stephen Mulvahill

finalist photo
Year: 
2016
Winner: 
Winner
Place: 
Second Place
School: 
UNC School of the Arts

Hailed as a “dynamic and engaging” performer, pianist Stephen Mulvahill was born to be a musician, but discovered it late. When he was thirteen, his parents bought a piano, and in one summer his interests abruptly shifted from his dream of being a professional skateboarder to falling head­over­heels in love with music. He progressed quickly, and his pre­college career was marked by both distinguished musical accomplishments and outstanding intellectual achievements, culminating with the prestigious National Merit Scholar award upon entering college.

While earning his bachelor’s degree in piano performance at the University of Houston, Mr. Mulvahill simultaneously maintained an active career in the school’s Honors College. The extensive training he received in critical thinking and writing, philosophy, political theory, and engaging with great thinkers across history has added invaluable perspective and sophistication to his musical activities. While at UH, Mulvahill continued to distinguish himself musically, taking first prize in the San Jacinto Young Artist Competition, performing two solo recitals for Houston Methodist Hospital’s Crain Garden Performance Series, and establishing himself as a highly sought­after collaborative pianist with a reputation for intelligent, insightful, and sensitive partnering.

Mr. Mulvahill entered the master’s program in piano performance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in the fall of 2014, as a recipient of several piano scholarships, and he is currently involved in a variety of musical activities. Highlights from 2015­16 include performing with the Giannini String Quartet at Lincoln Center in New York City as part of the CMSLC Master Class Series, giving solo performances across North Carolina and Virginia, performing with the UNCSA Symphony in Orff’s Carmina Burana, teaching a growing studio of piano students, and playing for weekly contemporary worship services at First Presbyterian Church of Winston­Salem.

Mr. Mulvahill’s musical artistry springs from a simple captivation with music, a probing and eager intellect, and an expressive nature that connects deeply with the language of music.

His creative impulses have also found outlets in composition, improvisation, and writing poetry. Outside of his artistic pursuits, Mr. Mulvahill enjoys reading, forests, mountains, soccer, coffee, and connecting meaningfully with people, a quality that has led him to places as diverse as Peru, Panama, Mexico, and the housing projects in his own community to do mentoring work with children and youth. Mr. Mulvahill holds a B.M. degree in piano performance from the University of Houston and an expected M.M. in piano performance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. His principal teachers include Dmitri Shteinberg, Tali Morgulis, and Hugh Thompson.