Joel Schoenhals is Professor of Piano at Eastern Michigan University and Foreign Expert at Central China Normal University in Wuhan, Hubei, China.
Between 2012 and 2016, Schoenhals performed the cycle of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas, reaching thousands of Michiganders through over 70 community engagement concerts in salon atmospheres as well as in historic Pease Auditorium at Eastern Michigan University. Live video recordings of the complete cycle can be found on the music living project website and on his YouTube channel.
In Fall 2016, Schoenhals again will focus on reaching large audiences through many concerts in smaller, intimate settings and culminating in performances in Pease Auditorium. He will launch the Bach-Brahms Project, a two-year, four-concert series featuring the complete Partitas of Johann Sebastian Bach and character pieces of Johannes Brahms.
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 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.