Known for her heartfelt and elegant interpretations, pianist Stephanie Simone Pestana strives to remain faithful to the composer’s intentions while discovering new depths and maintaining a unique vision. Growing up in Michigan, Stephanie was one of the state’s leading young pianists. In 2013, she won performances in Grand Rapids’ Devos Hall as part of the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony concerto competition, as well as in Kalamazoo’s Miller Auditorium as part of the Michigan Youth Arts Festival. As a committed performer of duo and chamber repertoire, Stephanie has collaborated with a myriad of instrumentalists and singers of all backgrounds.
While studying at Michigan State University, she became interested in new music and for two years was the sole pianist for and traveled with the Michigan State University Wind Symphony to venues such as the Kauffman Center in Kansas City.
Before entering higher education in music, Stephanie enjoyed playing organ and directing the music ministry at her church in Grand Rapids. During her time as music director she co-founded and directed the Schola Sancta Caecilia, an acapella women’s choir. Schola Sancta Caecilia recorded two CDs; Stella Splendens and In Bethlehem for River City Studios.
Stephanie holds a Master’s degree in Piano Performance from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where she studied with Norman Krieger. Previously, a full scholarship made it possible to attend Michigan State University and study with Derek Kealii Polischuk. She has received additional coaching from Ann Schein, Tang Zhe, and collaborative pianist Anne Epperson. Stephanie has performed in masterclasses with Sergei Babayan and Roberto Plano.
As an artist of diverse outlets, she is enriched by many hobbies—reading, traveling, hiking, crafting, and cooking. Stephanie enjoys playing her guitar and singing folk music in her spare moments. Of critical importance to her is discovering the beauty and truth that is at the heart of music. She recognizes that this search can radiate into the every day and so strives to live a life centered on the good to be discovered in the world surrounding us. Stephanie’s deep desire is to bring the light of that goodness to listeners around the globe.