Kevin Kwan Loucks

Kevin Kwan Loucks, D.M.A., E.M.B.A. (born 1982) is a Korean–American classical pianist, educator, and arts entrepreneur. He is currently Director of Innovation and Program Development at Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California.[1] He is Co-Founder of Chamber Music | OC[2] and is a founding member of the award-winning piano trio Trio Céleste.[3] He previously served as President of the Music Teachers' Association of California, Orange County Branch.[4]

Kevin Kwan Loucks
Pianist Kevin Kwan Loucks
Loucks addressing an audience at the Orange County Great Park on March 31, 2012
Background information
Birth nameKevin Kwan Loucks
Born (1982-04-08) April 8, 1982 (age 37)
South Korea
Occupation(s)Musician, educator, arts entrepreneur
Years active2000–present
Associated actsThe Krechkovsky/Loucks Duo, Trio Céleste, Chamber Music OC

Early life and formal educationEdit

Loucks, a Korean adoptee, grew up in Santa Rosa, California, where he was active in the instrumental music program as an honors student at Santa Rosa High School.[5] He attended the University of California, Irvine, where he received the Dean's Award for Excellence upon graduating with a bachelor of music degree in 2004.[6] While a student at UC Irvine, Loucks attended the Aspen Music Festival and Music@Menlo where he worked closely with cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han.[7] Loucks moved to New York City to continue his piano studies with Julian Martin at The Juilliard School where he studied chamber music with pianists Yoheved Kaplinsky, Seymour Lipkin, and cellist Fred Sherry. At Juilliard, he received the Luba and George Goldberg Prize and the Susan Rose Fellowship before graduating with a master of music degree in 2006.

He took a year off to concertize before enrolling in the doctoral program at Stony Brook University in New York where he served as head of piano for the Pre-College Division and was teaching assistant for the Emerson String Quartet and the university's graduate chamber music department.[8] He worked with pianist Christina Dahl, violinists Pamela Frank and Philippe Graffin, cellist Colin Carr, and the Emerson String Quartet, and was awarded a doctor of musical arts degree from the university in 2014. He was the recipient of the Dean's Fellowship for Professional Activities, the Ackerman Memorial Award for Service in Chamber Music, and the Distinguished Travel Award from Stony Brook's Graduate Student Organization. During his studies at Stony Brook, Loucks also attended programs at The Banff Centre in Canada where he worked with pianists Marc Durand and Robert McDonald.

In 2017, Loucks graduated with an Executive Master of Business Administration degree from the Argyros School of Business and Economics at Chapman University in Orange, California where he studied entrepreneurship, finance, management, and strategy. He finished his executive education at Stanford Graduate School of Business where he studied marketing and innovation, brand management, and digital marketing strategy.

Performance careerEdit

Loucks has concertized as both soloist and chamber musician throughout Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, and the United States. He performed as soloist with the Bratislava Chamber Orchestra, the Seoul National University Virtuosi, and the California Chamber Orchestra, and has been featured in prominent international concert venues including Weill Recital Hall and Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, Chicago Cultural Center, the Daejeon Cultural and Arts Center, the Kennedy Center, Kumho Art Hall, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall, Martinu Hall in Liechtenstein Palace, Merkin Concert Hall, the Moulin d'Andé, Prösels Castle, IBK Chamber Hall and the Recital Hall at Seoul Arts Center, Soka Performing Arts Center, and BP Hall at Walt Disney Concert Hall.[9]

Emerson String Quartet violinist Eugene Drucker and Loucks in recital at Soka Performing Arts Center on February 10, 2014

As a collaborative artist, Loucks has been featured in recital performances with Rachel Barton Pine, Denis Brott, James Campbell, Colin Carr, Paul Coletti, Robert deMaine, Glenn Dicterow, Karen Dreyfus, Eugene Drucker, Philippe Graffin, Alan Kay, Edgar Meyer, Frank Morelli, Johannes Moser, Lara St. John, Kyung Sun Lee, Stephen Prutsman, Roger Tapping, Raphael Wallfisch, Carol Wincenc, and Peter Zazofsky. He has also appeared with numerous ensembles including the Afiara, Arneis, Beaubliss, Cecilia, Jupiter, Lyris, Rus, and YUL String Quartets, and has performed and recorded as a member of Gruppo Montebello, an All‐Star Ensemble of acclaimed faculty and alumni from The Banff Centre.[10]

The Krechkovsky/Loucks DuoEdit

Violinist Iryna Krechkovsky

In 2004 Loucks met concert violinist and future wife Iryna Krechkovsky at a music festival in Italy where the two were scheduled to perform together.[11] Later that year they formed the award-winning Krechkovsky/Loucks Duo and have since performed hundreds of recitals together throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.[12] They have performed the majority of the violin/piano repertoire with particular interest in the music of Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Corigliano, Debussy, Gershwin, Janacek, Mozart, Saint-Saëns, Szymanowski, and Tchaikovsky. The Duo has also premiered numerous compositions written for them by composers including Samuel Adler and Philip Lasser,[13] and have worked closely with John Corigliano in New York City.[14]

Trio CélesteEdit

At the recommendation of pianist Wu Han, Loucks formed Trio Céleste in 2012 with Krechkovsky and cellist Ross Gasworth who performed together with Krechkovsky during their graduate studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music in 2006 and 2007. The trio has since established itself as one of the most active and dynamic chamber music ensembles in the country with major recital performances in Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seoul, and Toronto.[15]

Trio Céleste performing Beethoven's Triple Concerto at the Marcus D. Hurlbut Theater on July 12, 2014

In their inaugural season, Trio Céleste was selected as winners of the prestigious Beverly Hills Auditions in Los Angeles[16] and were appointed Artists-in-Residence at the Claire Trevor School of the Arts at the University of California, Irvine,[17] where they also direct the annual Summer Chamber Music Festival.[18] The ensemble also makes up the core of Chamber Music | OC, both as principal performers and as organizational administrators.[19]

The trio’s first major performance project, “The Complete Piano Trios of Ludwig van Beethoven” included three separate performances of the entire piano trio cycle of Beethoven in Irvine, San Francisco, and Toronto, as well as multiple performances of the Triple Concerto with the UC Irvine Symphony Orchestra at the Irvine Barclay Theater and the Capistrano Conductor's Institute Orchestra at the Marcus D. Hurlbut Theater in Southern California.[20] “The American Project” took place in June 2015 featuring world premieres by Christopher Dobrian and jazz flautist Nicole Mitchell as well as established works by John Adams, Samuel Adler, John Corigliano, and Eugene Drucker, and "The Evolution of Ludwig van Beethoven" with music critic Timothy Mangan explored the creative evolution of Beethoven through his music for violin, cello, and piano.

Trio Céleste recorded their debut album with Grammy Award winning recording engineer Jesse Lewis at Soka Performing Arts Center in June 2015. The album, released on the Navona label, debuted at No. 5 on iTunes for new classical music releases, and No. 10 on for chamber music releases[21] and has received critical acclaim from major publications including The Strad who said, "The US West Coast-based Céleste Trio may have been formed only four years ago, but judging from its first disc it has an important career ahead of it...The playing in Beethoven’s early Piano Trio in G major is not only accomplished but unfailingly stylish – crisply turned yet high in character...The second movement is a rapt fusion of slow, pliantly lilting siciliana, prayer-like solemnity and twinkling delicacy. Constellations – ten newly commissioned variations based on the opening theme from the second movement of Beethoven’s Trio – are novel if not all successful...In Dvořák’s ‘Dumky’ Trio, the players contrast sparkling exuberance in the fast sections with heart-rending tragedy in the slow ones – the Poco adagio of the second movement is especially mesmeric in its frozen motion. They vividly realise the composer’s ambition to combine the ‘melancholy and delirious joy of life… in the same being’."[22]

The ensemble recorded their second album in June 2018 featuring Beethoven's Archduke Trio and Tchaikovsky Piano Trio in A minor, Op. 50 with recording engineer Louis Ng at Soka Performing Arts Center.

Professional ActivitiesEdit

International Arts Mentoring ProgramEdit

The Krechkovsky/Loucks Duo in recital at Merkin Concert Hall on April 23, 2013

The Education and Culture Association of South Korea created the International Arts Mentoring Project in 2010 to bring music performance and arts education to underprivileged children throughout South Korea.[23] Loucks was invited to lead and direct the artistic operations of the project that included the selection of over fifty student to take part in over two weeks of mentoring and formal concert performances in Busan, Seoul, and Yongin. The program featured private lessons and master classes for pianists and string players, interdisciplinary performance projects with actors and dancers, and a weeklong arts camp that culminated in a formal performance tour of the country.[24]

Orange County Great ParkEdit

In 2011 Loucks was selected as Artist-in-Residence at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California.[25] He conceived and developed an eight-concert chamber music series that featured Canadian cellist Denis Brott, Alarm Will Sound clarinetist Bill Kalinkos, The Krechkovsky/Loucks Duo, and Trio Céleste among others. Each individual program included unique interactions with the audience, public workshops, lectures, and special programs for kids.[26] It was through the success of this residency that then Mayor of Irvine, Sukhee Kang, convinced Loucks and Krechkovsky to move to Irvine, California.[27]

Chamber Music | OCEdit

Launched in 2012 by Loucks and Krechkovsky, Chamber Music | OC is a unique arts initiative designed to address what Loucks says are many of the complex issues facing performers and audiences alike: "It is a project that embodies the most important elements shaping classical music today – a commitment to the art of performance, educating the next generation of young musicians, and the necessity to contribute to one’s community through the arts.”[28]


The Performance division of Chamber Music | OC is designed to provide residents of the greater Orange County area with world-class chamber music performances presented by rising stars and established veterans in the classical music world. Distinguished guest artists have included Colin Carr, cello; Yuri Cho, violin; Paul Coletti, viola; Robert deMaine, cello; Glenn Dicterow, violin; Karen Dreyfus, viola; Eugene Drucker, violin; Grace Fong, piano; Philippe Graffin, violin; the Jupiter String Quartet; Alan Kay, clarinet; Kyung Sun Lee, violin; the Lyris Quartet; Julian Martin, piano; Robert McDonald, piano; David Samuel, viola; Philip Setzer, violin; Trio Céleste; Ben Ullery, viola; and William VerMeulen, horn. The 2016/2017 season was capped by the organization's sold-out Carnegie Hall Debut at Zankel Hall featuring the world premiere of a new work by composer Paul Dooley.


The Education division of Chamber Music | OC was anchored by the Young Artist Program, the only full-scholarship program of its kind in the country. The program provided a unique and comprehensive musical education that featured chamber music coachings and performance classes, musicianship and eurythmics workshops, career development seminars, participation in distinguished guest artist master classes, community outreach performances, and the Rising Stars Recital Series. Select members and alumni from the Young Artist Program appeared in Carnegie Hall in April 2017, and have since gone on to pursue their studies at the Eastman School of Music, The Juilliard School, Northwestern University, the Peabody Institute of Music, Princeton University, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and Stanford University, among others. The Young Artist Program was converted into a formal Pre-College Program in the Fall of 2018 under the direction of Krechkovsky and in residence at Chapman University.[29]


The Community Outreach Division of Chamber Music | OC aspires to make the benefits of music widely accessible through collaborations with local schools and community organizations. The program offers a range of single- and multi- session workshops designed to give participants the opportunity to enjoy and learn about how music can positively affect their well-being. Partnering organizations include the Irvine Adult Day Health Services, Human Options, and the Orange County Children's Therapeutic Art Center. The Community Outreach division was directed by Michelle Gasworth from 2012 - 2018.[30]

Grand Canyon ResidencyEdit

In 2013 Chamber Music | OC was selected from over five hundred applicants to be Artists-in-Residence at the Grand Canyon National Park where they performed, gave public master classes, and led educational outreach projects throughout the South Rim in August 2014.[31]

Awards and recognitionEdit

Loucks has been called "impeccable" by La Presse, Montreal;[32] "a shining talent" by Völser Zeitung, Italy;[33] and a pianist of “exhilarating polish, unity and engagement” by The Orange County Register, California.[34] He has been featured in live performances on National Public Radio's Performance Today, CBC Radio 2, KUSC, WFMT, the Public Broadcasting Service, KABC-TV Los Angeles, and the Korean Broadcasting System. He was a top prize winner at the Schlern International Competition in Italy,[35] the International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition in Boston,[36] the Beverly Hills Auditions in Los Angeles on two separate occasions,[37] the Music Teachers' Association of California Duo-Piano Competition, the American Prize in Piano Performance,[38] and the Emerging Artist Award from Arts Orange County. Loucks was also named one of Orange County's most influential people by OC Weekly [39] and in 2018, was nominated for the Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award by the Orange County Business Journal.


Loucks currently resides in Santa Barbara, California and Irvine, California with his wife and musical partner, violinist Iryna Krechkovsky. He is an avid outdoorsman having earned his Eagle Scout in 2000, and is also an active day trader.


  1. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ "New Group Plays Classic Tunes". Laguna Beach Independent Newspaper, The "Indy" – Laguna Beach News.
  3. ^ Michael. "Music Festival Salon 102612".
  4. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Pianist Kevin Kwan Loucks has performed in The Kennedy Center, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, La Maison Française Embassy".
  7. ^ "Kevin Kwan Loucks". Archived from the original on November 29, 2014.
  8. ^ "Concert Pianist & Artist-in-Residence Kevin Kwan Loucks To Perform Recital at Great Park". Archived from the original on October 1, 2014.
  9. ^éleste
  10. ^ "Gruppo Montebello – InstantEncore".
  11. ^ "Encinitas concert series to feature historic violin". The Coast News.
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Five questions with Chamber Music OC cofounder Kevin Kwan Loucks". The Orange County Register.
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^éleste
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ "美입양 피아니스트, 고국 꿈나무 키운다".
  24. ^ "美입양 피아니스트, 고국 꿈나무 키운다".
  25. ^ "Great Park Launches New Artists-in-Residence Program". Archived from the original on August 25, 2014.
  26. ^
  27. ^ "Five questions with Chamber Music OC cofounder Kevin Kwan Loucks". The Orange County Register.
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^ "L'héroïque Rachel Barton Pine". La Presse.
  33. ^
  34. ^ "Chamber festival soars with double bass". The Orange County Register.
  35. ^
  36. ^ "CMFoNE: 2005 Chamber Music Ensemble Competition".
  37. ^ "Stony Brook Students Win the Beverly Hills Auditions". Stony Brook Music Department.
  38. ^ david. "The American Prize: PIANO WINNERS, 2012".
  39. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)

External linksEdit