Pianist Elizabeth Yao has been praised for her sincerity of expression and the “intelligent, emotional coherence” of her musical interpretations. She has been featured as guest soloist with the Coeur d’Alene Symphony as a winner of their 2017 Young Artist Competition and as a guest artist on Spokane Public Radio’s “From the Studio” Program for a live performance and interview. Other distinctions have included prizes and awards at the Indianapolis Matinee Musicale Collegiate Scholarship Competition, the Lima Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition, and the Ladies Musical Club Award Tour Competition. As a collaborator, she has played with the University of Washington Symphony Orchestra and the modern music ensemble Inverted Space. She and her husband Kyunghoon Kim make up the KKEYS Piano Duo, which produces content weekly for the YouTube channel Piano Sandbox.
Elizabeth has been a teacher at the Indiana University Young Pianists pre-college program since 2017, and has also taught as an Associate Instructor for college-level group classes and private lessons for the Indiana University Secondary Piano program. In 2016, as part of a trio, she was selected by the San Francisco Symphony as part of their Adventures in Music educational outreach program, an opportunity which allowed her to perform and talk about music to thousands of first-grade and second-grade students throughout the SF public school district.
As an arts administrator, Elizabeth is currently the manager of Project Jumpstart, the student division of the IU Jacobs School of Music’s Office of Entrepreneurship and Career Development. Through this role, she has coordinated dozens of events with guest artists, organized and produced the annual Jacobs School of Music Innovation Competition, and interviewed IU alumni and faculty such as Noa Kageyama (The Bulletproof Musician), Allegra Montanari, and Demondrae Thurman. She has also been executive assistant and scheduler for the IU Summer Piano Academy and Program Assistant for the Jacobs secondary piano program, as well as the Piano Department Assistant for the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Elizabeth graduated magna cum laude from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance (with Honors) and a Bachelor of Arts in Chinese. She completed her master’s degree at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music under the teaching of Mack McCray. She is currently a doctoral student at Indiana University, with double minors in Music Theory and Music History and Literature, under the tutelage of Distinguished Professor André Watts.
Elizabeth lives in Bloomington, Indiana, with her husband Kyunghoon and a feisty miniature poodle named Sergei.