Sun King Community Partner Spotlight: American Pianists Awards

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


The YouTube clip serves up its clickbaity title in deadpan—no exclamation point required: “Steven Lin performs through earthquake in Japan.”



The video from 2012 shows a younger Steven playing a beautiful sonata by Haydn, head down then arched back, fingers dancing, feet working the pedals, music flowing gracefully through his upper body. At the 1:50 mark, the picture starts to shake. The pianist continues to play. The shaking intensifies, the mic pics up sounds of shuffling. Steven continues to play. A minute into the magnitude 6.1 earthquake, the shaking dissipates, and Steven smoothly transitions into the next section, completely focused and delightfully immersed in his music.



Now 27-years-old, Steven Lin has used this focus to propel his budding career to the top for young American pianists: he is one of five finalists for the 2017 American Pianists Awards and in the running for the $100,000 top prize including professional management and a recording contract!


The American Pianists Association (APA) is an Indianapolis-based nonprofit that works to discover, promote and advance the careers of young, world-class, American jazz and classical pianists. Winners receive cash and two years of career assistance, making this one of the most coveted prizes in the music world and the largest for American jazz pianists. Since its founding in 1979, the APA has supported 45 winners and regularly brings world-class musicians to Indianapolis for both the competition and to bring the beauty of music to non-traditional venues and underserved audiences.


The Premiere Series (happening now!) provides the first live juried performances of the five American Pianists Awards finalists. Over the course of five months, each finalist makes an initial appearance on stage in Indianapolis. Discovery Week (April 2017) is the culmination of the American Pianists Awards, when all five finalists return to the city for adjudicated performances across multiple genres. The week concludes with the finals with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and naming of a winner.



From left: 2017 Awards finalists Drew Petersen, Henry Kramer, Alex Beyer, Sam Hong and Steven Lin


  • Steven Lin’s Premiere Series concert is November 6 at the Indiana History Center; he will perform a solo recital and Beethoven’s concerto No. 1 with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra.
  • In partnership with Sun King Brewing, the American Pianists Association is hosting a young professionals meetup before the concert . Enjoy complimentary Sun King beer, so­ft drinks and small bites. Network with young professionals from leading YP and affinity groups from across the city. Learn the nuances of classical music from recent school of music grads. And experience the beauty of music with the American Pianists Awards.

  • For more about Steven and the American Pianists Awards visit or @APApianists on Twitter and Instagram.
  • Finally, life of a world-class musician involves lots of travel and practice. But these people can have some fun along the way; check Steven’s Instagram for some highlights from the summer: