Jean Wentworth



Competition Winner

Born: 1928

Died: October 10, 2017 (New York)

Jean Wentworth, concert pianist and professor of piano, was a winner of the Walter W. Naumburg Competition in 1954. She  enjoyed a career as a piano soloist, chamber musician, and piano four-hand team with her husband of 68 years, Kenneth. Together they toured worldwide, commissioned works by leading American composers, and created a distinguished discography of both contemporary and classical repertoire. They performed together into their 80s.

Her personal and professional union began with Kenneth while they were both studying with the same teacher, Irwin Freundlich, a the Juilliard School. In the early 1960s, they each received a Fulbright scholarship to India, where they taught at the Calcutta School of Music and performed. Later, they made multiple concert tours abroad, sponsored by the US Information Service.

Wentworth was a respected Debussy scholar and teacher of piano, music history and chamber music. She taught at Sarah Lawrence College from 1970 to 2014. Wentworth was an ardent environmentalist and supporter of AIDS-related causes, following the death of her son Jonathan from AIDS in 1994.

Excerpt from The New York Times review, April 28, 1969

Jean Wentworth Plays a Piano Recital

"Jean Wentworth's piano playing had something of the subdued, intimate quality one might associate with a musicale in somebody's living room...The Beethoven Bagatelles (Op. 126) were delightful." A.H.

The one-piano, four hand team: Jean Wentworth and Kenneth Wentworth


1954 Naumburg Competition

First Prize

Commissioned Works

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Naumburg Performances

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Recording Awards

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