"What inspired me to play the piano," Katie recalls, "is that my mom had wanted me to start piano from the age of three, but I apparently had no interest! Then, when I was four years old, we went to a concert given by the Labèque sisters and I was completely captivated! I told my mom the next day that I wanted to become a pianist, and I started piano lessons that day!” Under the tutelage of her mother, Bobette Mahan, Katie rapidly became proficient on the piano and gave her first solo recital two years later at the age of six! She continued piano lessons with her mom until she was eighteen. Katie’s father Harv Mahan, who is a solar energy physicist at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, was her first manager. Katie's life has always been filled with music and today she is recognized as a piano virtuoso.
Her mentor, when she was a young piano student, was Howard Waltz, who had been on the piano faculty at the University of Colorado for many years. He had also been her mother's teacher.
A Golden, Colorado native, Katie received a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance Degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she was a full-tuition scholarship student. She studied there under the direction of Robert Spillman. She was graduated with the highest honors. Katie also studied with pianist-conductors Daniel Lipton in Germany and Robert Ward in Austria, and with the celebrated French pianist, Pascal Rogé. She made first her orchestral debut in 1999, when she performed Gershwin’s Concerto in F with the Breckenridge Symphony, led by Gerhardt Zimmermann.
Her profound musical talent, technical mastery and depth of musical understanding has been compared to “Clara Schumann,” a German musician and composer, who was considered one of the most distinguished pianists of the Romantic era, during the 1900’s.
Katie has performed a wide repertoire, ranging from Bach to Gershwin in famous concert halls throughout the USA, Europe, Canada, the Middle East, Russia and Japan. She has performed under the direction of such celebrated conductors as Jiri Belohlavek, Marin Alsop, Grant Cooper, and Robert Lehrbaumer. Her musical interpretations have been described as unique, daring and innovative. Her graceful, charming stage presence is always greeted by appreciative audiences.
Although Brahms, Rachmaninov, Chopin, Mozart, Schumann, Bach, Beethoven, and Ravel are among Katie’s favorite composers, she says she particularly likes, “to bring to life, Debussy’s magical images and impressions and enter into his surreal world of color, nuance, and sensuality.”
Katie often builds her season programs around particular composers, such as the music of Debussy and Gershwin, which she performed during the 2012 season. Highlights of her schedule included all-Debussy recitals, which celebrated the 150th anniversary of the composer’s birth - with performances in New York City, South Carolina, and the Strathmore “Music in the Mansion Series” in Maryland, alongside recital appearances in Monte Carlo, Berlin, Munich, Baden-Baden, Dubai, Vienna, Eisenstadt, Seefeld, London and Colorado. Concerto appearances included the Wiener Residenz Orchester, the Hopkins Symphony Orchestra, the Denver Philharmonic, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, the Littleton Symphony Orchestra, and the West Virginia Symphony.
Katie has been featured in numerous international magazines including, Senses, a lifestyle magazine in Germany, Leaders magazine, in the Czech Republic, OK! magazine in the Middle East, and Celebrity News in Dubai. Katie is also going to be featured in upcoming issues of two German publications, New Metropolis, and Airport Magazine. She has been interviewed on radio and TV in the USA, Germany, Canada, France, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and she is also scheduled to be interviewed on a well-known German TV talkshow, Talk with Udo Walz.
With a social awareness, Katie has performed for various charity organizations, and she plans to soon establish the Katie Mahan Music Association - a non-profit foundation, which will promote awareness of classical music among school-aged kids and support young aspiring classical musicians.
Katie is a Steinway artist and she was previously awarded the prestigious Classical Superstar Award by the Berliner Salon - a Berlin-based foundation dedicated to discovering and furthering the careers of young and gifted individuals in the arts and sciences in Germany and abroad. She is managed by Paradise Productions, a talent management organization, based in Berlin.
Katie has recorded several independently released CDs that feature highly imaginative and diverse repertoires, including: “Rêverie,” an all-Debussy album; “Liebestod,” containing works of Chopin and Liszt; a recital program of Brahms, Rachmaninov, and Prokofiev; and “Fantasy,” containing works of Schumann and Schubert.
Katie currently has a project to record three new CDs at the Emil Berliner Studios in Germany in 2013, which she said is, "the number one recording studio in the world." The studio is named after Emil Berliner (1851 - 1929), the inventor of the gramophone and the gramophone record. The CD's will be presented to the Deutsche Grammophon, DECCA, and Phillips labels for distribution by the Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music content company. Katie described the distribution of her upcoming CDs by Universal as, "an exciting project - the biggest career break I have ever had." She said the first CD will be an, "all Chopin album and next one will be an all Beethoven program, and the third recording will be an all Debussy CD." Another project Katie has planned is a musical video of Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue."Although she focuses on classical pieces, she has premiered a few new pieces, by a Canadian composer, and has performed works by contemporary Asian composers, including one well-known Chinese composer, Tan Dun, who composed the score for the movie, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” She emphasized, however that, "otherwise, my passion is strictly Classical."
On the personal side, Katie likes traveling, shopping and cooking. She says she particularly likes sushi, chocolate, red wine, and champagne. She is interested in sports, is a NY Yankees fan, and watches ESPN. Her favorite reading subjects are music and history. The pianists she admires most are Horowitz, Martha Argerich, Lang Lang, Sviatoslav Richter, and Glenn Gould. In addition to classical music, Katie also likes Latin pop and jazz .
One of the highlights planned for Katie’s schedule for the 2013 Season is a performance at one of the pre-event Golden Globe Award parties in Hollywood in January. In February, she is scheduled to perform solo recitals in the famous Konzerthaus in Berlin and the Prinzregenten Theatre in Munich, Germany. Other scheduled performances will be posted on her website at:
by Mel Fenson from an interview with
Katie Mahan and from information derived
from her website.