The American pianist, ]effrey (Alan) Kahane, grew up in West Los Angeles, and began piano music at the age of four. His upbringing brought him exposure to all sorts of music. He fell in love with rock & roll at the age of ten, got a guitar, and taught himself to play the instrument. He joined numerous bands of kids his own age, played at school dances, and wrote and arranged songs. He expected to play rock or popular music as his professional career. He had, however, kept on studying piano. At 15 he was introduced to a new teacher, pianist/composer Jakob Gimpel (a student of Alban Berg), who reignited his love for classical music. Kahane studied piano and conducting at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (graduated, 1977), and with Howard Wiesel, Jakob Gimpel, and John Perry at the Juilliard School in New York. In 1977 he won 2nd prize in the Clara Haskil Competition, and in 1978 he made his debut in San Francisco; He entered the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition at the age of 24 in 1981. He finished a respectable fourth place. But as this particular competition was nationally televised by PBS, this also amounted to his network broadcast debut. These appearances attracted attention. In addition to playing fine performances, he had an enthusiasm for the music and telegenic qualities. These led to a concert career. In 1983 he won the Artur Rubinstein Competition in Israel.
]effrey Kahane made his Carnegie Hall debut in New York in 1983 at a Rubinstein Tribute Concert, and his London debut in 1985. He made numerous solo appearances, and soon became a favored accompanist for Yo-Yo Ma, Dawn Upshaw, and Joshua Bell. In 1983 he won an Avery Fisher Career Grant, and in 1987 the first Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Award. In the late 1980's he was invited to perform a W.A. Mozart piano concerto and conduct the work from the keyboard, at the Oregon Bach Festival. This has led to annual reappearances there in similar capacity. This led to an increase in the importance of conducting in his career. He has guest conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields.
]effrey Kahane has appeared as a pianist on records in the complete Schubert violin and piano works with Joseph Swenson (RCA), Bach's Sinfonias (Inventions) and Partita No. 4 (Nonesuch), L. Bernstein's Age of Anxiety Symphony (Virgin), Strauss' Burleske (Telarc), and Schoenfeld's Four Parables (Argo). In 1991 he founded the Gardner Chamber Orchestra in Boston, a group of young professionals and students in Boston, and led it for four years. In 1995 he had an opportunity to become music director of the Santa Rosa (California) Symphony Orchestra, a well-respected regional orchestra, most of whose members are professional musicians from the nearby greater San Francisco area. The orchestra has strong community support, and enjoys the highest per capita ticket sales (based on regional population) of any USA orchestra, requiring each program to be repeated three times. In addition, he is the Associate Conductor of the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival, a position he took in 1992, and Music Director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. In 2005-2006 season he became also Music Director of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. He is also Artistic Director of the Green Music Festival in Sonoma County
In 2005-2006 season ]effrey Kahane saw the continued fulfillment of his long-cherished dream of performing all 23 of the original W.A. Mozart piano concertos as part of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s celebration of the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth. In addition to a full and varied year of programs with his orchestras and festival, during the 2006-2007 season, he returns to Texas to conduct the Houston Symphony Orchestra in a concert featuring soloist Joyce Yang. He also plays and conducts with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Toronto Symphony Orchestra in 2007 and appears in recital with the San Francisco Performances series.
In 1988 ]effrey Kahane joined the faculty of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. His belief in the potential of orchestras for inspiring young people and bringing communities together, and of music as a means of understanding history, led to the development of two major educational projects with the Santa Rosa Symphony in co-operation with Santa Rosa High School. The second of these projects, centered around Sir Michael Tippett’s oratorio A Child of Our Time, won one of the first MetLife Awards for Excellence in Community Engagement from the American Symphony Orchestra League. In May 2005, Jeffrey was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts by Sonoma State University for his services to the Arts and Education.
Jeffrey Kahane currently resides in Santa Rosa, California with his wife, Martha (and with Django, one of the cani ufficiosi of The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra). They have two children, Gabriel, age 24, and Annie, 18. On the rare occasions when he is not thinking about music, he enjoys cooking for his family and studying ancient and modern languages.