Joel Schoenhals is Professor of Piano at Eastern Michigan University. Between 2012 and 2018, Schoenhals performed the cycle of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas, the complete Bach Partitas, and the complete character works of Johannes. In addition to performing around the world, Schoenhals reached thousands of Michiganders through over 125 house concerts throughout Southeast Michigan. Live and unedited video recordings of his performance can be found on YouTube.
Schoenhals is a prolific recording artist. His discography includes the Bach Six Partitas, Chopin Preludes and B Minor Sonata, Bartok For Children, Schubert and Schumann Fantasies, Rachmaninoff and Schubert Musical Moments, Schubert-Liszt piano transcriptions, Schubert Waltzes, Drew DeFour’s piano solos, and several chamber music recordings. Fanfare wrote of his recording Schubert and Schumann Fantasies, “Schoenhals has a real feel for the core of Schubert’s writing. There is no denying the beauty, ravishing at times. The lasting impression of this disc is something to really treasure.” Fanfare also wrote of his other new release, Chinese Piano Music. “Consummate technical skill and polish. Schoenhals’ tonal palette is massively varied. The recording is simply staggeringly good. This is a pure winner.” Schoenhals has also received praise for his recordings Bartók’s For Children, Lieder of Schubert Transcribed for Piano by Franz Liszt, and Musical Moments of Schubert and Rachmaninoff on Fleur de Son Classics. “These are rich and romantic readings (Musical Moments), beautifully played and recorded. There is no more sensitive and poetic recording of the Schubert. A wonderful program, played with great sensitivity and tone” (American Record Guide).” “Seek this one out and find one of the greatest releases of the year (Liszt). Now if someone would only help me to close my jaw, hung open by the second track. Only then can I return to mundane existence” (American Record Guide).
Schoenhals is currently performing and recording the works of Navajo composer Connor Chee. His commission of Chee’s seminal work Sandpaintings for Piano, a set of sixteen pieces based on Navajo melodies and themes, serves to broaden the landscape of the piano literature.
Schoenhals holds a Master of Music, Doctoral of Musical Arts, and Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music. He earned his undergraduate degree in piano performance at Vanderbilt University. From 1998-2010, he was a faculty member of the Summer Piano Program at the Chautauqua Music Festival in Chautauqua, New York. Over the past decade he has held guest professorships at Nanchang University and Central China Normal University in China.
Joel Schoenhals lives in Ann Arbor with his wife and two children.