Named one of Canada’s “hot classical musicians under 30” by CBC Music, Tristan Teo began playing the piano when he was three years old. Now only twenty-six, he is enjoying an eminent worldwide career and has been awarded numerous accolades at many international piano competitions, including the 2016 Hilton Head and 2017 Van Cliburn. Since his orchestral debut with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra at age eleven, he has performed with the Minnesota Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and Gulf Coast Symphony, among many others. Inspired by his mentor Sasha Starcevich who instilled in him a passion for teaching, Teo has strongly advocated for bringing music education from the studio to the concert hall, impressing audiences with the honesty and sincerity of his playing as well as his ease with speaking from the stage.
Teo has given solo concerts in the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Lithuania, in venues such as Salle Cortot in Paris and Alice Tully Hall in New York. He has also been a featured artist on radio stations such as CBC Radio Canada and WQXR New York, where he performed to a sold-out audience at The Greene Space. In addition, Teo has been invited to give several master classes, including one for the Young Pianists Series in Knoxville, Tennessee. Recent engagements have included performances at the Aurora Cultural Center in Toronto, The Harvard Club in New York, and the South Orange Performing Arts Center in New Jersey. During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, he recorded a virtual solo concert for the Vancouver Recital Society at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts.
In May 2022, Teo received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from The Juilliard School, where he also attained his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees under the tutelage of eminent pedagogues Jerome Lowenthal and Yoheved Kaplinsky. At age twenty-four, he is the youngest doctoral candidate to receive a DMA from Juilliard. Working with renowned music theorist Steven Laitz, Teo completed his doctoral dissertation on the Ukrainian jazz composer Nikolai Kapustin, whose music he was introduced to at a young age and has since championed. Upon completion of his doctorate studies, Teo was awarded a Juilliard Career Advancement Fellowship for outstanding artistry and leadership.
Teo has held many teaching positions in Juilliard’s college division in both music theory and keyboard skills. During his time at Juilliard, he was a proud recipient of a Kovner Fellowship and was appointed adjunct faculty to the music theory department at Juilliard, the youngest ever to be awarded such a position. He has also been a featured artist in residence at pianoSonoma, a summer music festival where he coached adult musicians in guided rehearsals and performed with them in master classes and community concerts. Teo is currently serving on the faculty of Smith College as the Iva Dee Hiatt Visiting Artist in Piano, where he holds his own studio and gives regular performances for audiences of Massachusetts’s Five College area. Teo also has a keen interest in composing and conducting. In addition to studying conducting with Jeffrey Milarsky, he has written works for violin-piano duo, chamber orchestra, and percussion ensemble, all of which have been performed at Juilliard. In his spare time, Teo enjoys cooking, playing video games, and collecting Lego.