Kat Souponetsky

composer, pianist and educator

USA

Author

About

Kat Souponetsky (née Katerina Kramarchuk) is a composer, pianist and educator based in Philadelphia whose music has been described as "quick-witted, tightly constructed and ruefully introspective, with propulsive, sometimes jazzy rhythms and suave textures" (The Oregonian). Her works have been performed and broadcasted across the globe at respected venues such as The Louvre, Bargemusic, The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Dresden Music Festival, Peter Jay Sharp Theater, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Le Fontainebleau Château, U.S. Airways radio, and the Isabelle Stewart Gardner Museum. She has been commissioned by chamber music groups and institutions such as Curtis Institute of Music, Dolce Suono Ensemble, Portland Chamber Orchestra, New York Choreographic Institute, The Rock School for Dance Education, The Mousai, ensemble39, and PRISM Saxophone Quartet. In a previous season, she was the recipient of the first ever commission by Philadelphia Inquirer, as a part of their new media initiative in the arts. She has also been commissioned by the Chamber Music Northwest Festival where she was the first protégé composer in residence in 2012. In 2011, she was the first composer to be commissioned by One Book One Philadelphia. That same year, her Shadows for orchestra was selected by the EarShot New Music readings, which resulted in a performance by the Pioneer Valley Symphony. An aspiring film composer, Souponetsky has completed her first score for “The Projectionist”, an Australian silent film, which was chosen to be screened at Juilliard’s “Beyond the Machine” Festival in 2013.

As a classical pianist and while in high school, Souponetsky has performed with the Portland Chamber Orchestra, and was the winner of DownBeat Magazine Student Music awards, the MTNA State Piano Competition, and All Classical 89.9FM competition in Portland, OR among others. While focusing primarily on classical piano performance, she became interested in jazz. She has performed at numerous jazz festivals and received awards for her outstanding performances. For three consecutive years, Souponetsky has performed her music for solo piano at the popular show "Ten Grands" in Portland, OR.

When not composing for the concert stage, Kat actively teaches piano, composition and music theory. Recently, she started teaching at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. In 2013, she was a teaching fellow at the Curtis Summerfest's Young Artist Summer Program where she taught composition classes, coached chamber groups, and performed with the participants. She recently self-published her "Original Piano Solos" in 3 volumes and "Original Jazz Piano Solos" with her company, Kat Sounds Music. Her goal is to inspire students to love music as much as she does while nurturing their enthusiasm to practice piano.

Born in Kishinev, Moldova to a musical family, Souponetsky began her musical studies at age 6 at the "Ciprian Porumbescu" Lyceum of Music. In 2002 her family moved to the United States. Souponetsky holds a Bachelor of Music in Composition from Manhattan School of Music, an Artist Diploma in Composition from the Curtis Institute of Music where she studied with Richard Danielpour and David Ludwig, and a Master of Music in Composition from The Juilliard School where she studied with Christopher Rouse and was the recipient of the Gitta Steiner Cartwright Scholarship. Kat currently resides in the Philadelphia area.

Videos

Sheets

Interview

What does music mean to you personally?

Music is an essential part of who I am. To me, when I’m making music as well as listening to it, it’s the ultimate experience of spiritual elevation, emotional fulfillment and dopamine boost.

Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?

Yes, as well as emotional and intellectual stimulation.

If you were not a professional musician, what would you have been?

A Doctor.

The classical music audience is getting old, are you worried about the future?

I am staying positive about the future of classical music. I think many young people are interested, and it’s important to cultivate the taste and love for classical music from a young age. This is what I have been trying to do with my own piano students.

What do you envision the role of music to be in the 21st century? Do you see that there is a transformation of this role?

I think that while musical styles continue to evolve and change, the main role of music, which is to elevate oneself at the soul level, will remain the same.

Do you think that the musician today needs to be more creative? What is the role of creativity in the musical process for you?

With the technological progress and the change in the music industry, a musician has to find ways to fit in in order to get their music heard. Those may include collaborating with visual artists or blending musical genres. I’m a big fan of blending the “old” with the “new”. My dream is to collaborate with a favorite house electronic music producer and bring my piano compositions into the electronic music world.

Do you think we as musicians can do something to attract the younger generation to music concerts? How would you do this?

There are many young talented classical musicians who have effectively used social media in order to market classical music to the young generation. That’s just one example of an effective strategy.

Tell us about your creative process. What is your favorite piece (written by you) and how did you start working on it?

My creative process is similar for all the pieces that I’ve written. I sit down at the piano and start to improvise until a good idea catches my ear. Then, I stick to it until its potential gets realized into a coherent composition. Sometimes, there is a specific plot, theme or purpose (such as composing specifically for my piano students) to the piece, other times, it completely depends on the mood I’m in. The best pieces are when the two elements come together.

Can you give some advice for young people who want to discover classical music for themselves?

Start with Chopin, Bach and Mozart. The YouTube algorithm will do the rest :)

Do you think about the audience when composing?

The music I compose comes from a personal desire to express my passion, emotion and creative energy. I do hope that it touches the hearts of those who listen.

What projects are coming up? Do you experiment in your projects?

I am currently working on my second album of solo piano music which may incorporate some electronica.