Praised as a “highly accomplished pianist….with wonderfully rhythmic and robust playing” (New York Concert Review), Katelyn Vahala is a passionate soloist, chamber musician, educator, and arts advocate in the Los Angeles area.
As Artistic Director and Co-Founder of the traveling outdoor concert series Insert Music Here, Katelyn brings carefully curated musical programs outside the concert hall and into nature – most recently through partnerships with the Eaton Canyon Nature Center, Ojai Valley Land Conservancy, and LA Times Festival of Books. Insert Music Here presents concerts in scenic locations with a hybrid grand piano and unique portable stage to expand access to the arts for new communities while supporting awareness for environmental conservation organizations.
In addition to winning the 2021 USC Thornton Concerto Competition, Katelyn is the first prize winner of the 2019 Rosalyn Tureck International Bach Competition, where she also won the contemporary music award. Upon completing her Masters degree, she was named a 2018 Outstanding Graduate at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. Katelyn’s upcoming engagements include performances in Leipzig as a Semifinalist in the Leipzig International Bach Competition, taking place in July 2022.
One of Katelyn’s greatest passions is chamber music. As pianist of the Callisto Piano Trio, Katelyn was a prize winner at the 2016 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, where the trio was the youngest ensemble to ever compete in the senior division finals. Since then, the Callisto Trio has toured throughout Holland and Slovakia as part of the International Holland Music Sessions’ Masters on Tour and has served as Artist-in-Residence at the Da Camera Society in Los Angeles.
Katelyn has performed in Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Het Concertgebouw, Salzburg Mozarteum, Bratislava Reduta Philharmonic Hall, St. Petersburg Union of Composers, Porto Casa da Música, and LACMA’s Bing Auditorium. Her past collaborations include performances with artists from the Juilliard and American String Quartets, as well as appearances with the Tandru Trio and the Julius Quartet. She has attended the Yellow Barn Young Artists Program, Perlman Music Program, Colburn Academy Piano Festival, and Port Townsend Chamber Music Workshop. Previous chamber music mentors include Ralph Kirshbaum, Seth Knopp, Itzhak Perlman, Roger Tapping, and Andrew Cook.
A recipient of the Heartwell Endowed Scholarship, Katelyn is pursuing a DMA in Piano Performance at USC’s Thornton School of Music with Dr. Lucinda Carver and Jeffrey Kahane. She completed her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Piano Performance at USC, in which she was a Trustee Scholar.