The American pianist (and organist), Seán Brett Duggan, OSB, was born in Jersey City. His father was an engineer. When Duggan was four the family moved to Seattle. About three years later, they moved to the Cape Canaveral, Florida, area. Piano lessons for Duggan started at age 10 with the local church organist. He earned his Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance at Loyola University in New Orleans and his Master of Fine Arts degree at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh in 1979. For three years he was the Pittsburgh Opera Company’s pianist and assistant chorus master. He also taught piano at Carnegie Mellon and was a member of the Carnegie Mellon Piano Trio. Duggan left Pittsburgh to enter the Benedictine order at St. Joseph Abbey near Covington, Louisiana, in 1982, graduated summa cum laude with a Master of Arts degree in Theology from Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1988.
In September 1983, after entering the monastery, Séan Duggan won first prize in the Johann Sebastian Bach International Competition for pianists in Washington D.C., which entitled him, among other honors, to various concerts around the country and a two-month tour of Germany. In the “Bach Year”, 1985, he gave complete performances of J.S. Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier in New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Birmingham to critical acclaim. In 1991 he participated again in the Bach Competition in Washington D.C.; this time he was one of three first-place winners, and this entitled him to another round of concert engagements and a second tour of Germany.
Having a special affinity for the music of Bach, throughout the year 2000, the 250th anniversary of Bach’s death, Séan Duggan performed the complete cycle of J.S. Bach’s keyboard works eight times in a series of fifteen recitals entitled Bach On the Threshold of Hope in various American and European cities. For seven years he hosted a weekly program on the New Orleans NPR station entitled “Bach on Sunday.” He is presently in the midst of recording the complete (non-organ) keyboard works of J.S. Bach at Fredonia for commercial release, which will comprise 24 CD’s. His goal is to finish by 2013.
Séan Duggan has performed with many orchestras including the Louisiana Philharmonic, Buffalo Philharmonic, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Leipzig Baroque Soloists, Prague Chamber Orchestra, American Chamber Orchestra and Pennsylvania Sinfonia.
Father Seán Brett Duggan is a Benedictine monk of Saint Joseph Abbey in Saint Benedict, Covington, Louisiana. From 1988 to 2001 he taught music, Latin and religion at St. Joseph Seminary College in Louisiana and was director of music and organist at St. Joseph Abbey. From 2001 to 2004 he was a visiting professor of piano at the University of Michigan. Since then he has been associate professor of piano at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Fredonia. During the fall semester of 2008 he was also a guest professor of piano at Eastman School of Music. He has been a guest artist and adjudicator at the Chautauqua Institution for several summers, and is also a faculty member of the Golandsky Institute at Princeton, New Jersey. He continues to study the Taubman approach with Edna Golandsky in New York City.