Lori Sims

Photo of Lori Sims
Lori Sims
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Professor of Piano and Assistant Director
(269) 387-4705
(269) 387-1113
1507 Dalton Center, Mail Stop 5434
Mailing address: 
Irving S. Gilmore School of Music
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5434 USA
  • Artist Diploma, Hochschule für Musik und Theater (Germany)
  • M.M., Piano Performance, Yale School of Music
  • B.M., Piano Performance, Peabody Conservatory
  • Professional Development Institute Facilitator
Research interests: 
  • Diversity Equity and Inclusion

Since winning the Gold Medal at the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition in 1998, American pianist Lori Sims has become firmly established as one of the most beloved and respected pianists in the music world today.

She has performed throughout North and South America, Europe, and China, including guest artist performances with the NordDeutscheRadio Orchester (Hannover, Germany) the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Utah, Indianapolis (IN), Rockford (IL) and Kalamazoo (MI) Symphony Orchestras. An avid chamber musician, Ms. Sims has been featured at the El Paso Chamber Music Festival (TX), and performed with Kalamazoo’s Fontana Chamber Music Players and Opus 21, a Princeton University-based chamber ensemble dedicated to contemporary repertoire. She also has performed with the Spokane (WA), Denver (Colorado), and Memphis (TN) Chamber Orchestras.

As a recitalist, Ms. Sims received critical acclaim from Bernard Holland in The New York Times for her 2000 Alice Tully Hall debut; she also has performed in Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center and Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall. In addition, Ms. Sims has made an unprecedented seven appearances at the prestigious Gilmore International Keyboard Festival in Kalamazoo, Michigan as a featured recitalist, chamber artist, and master class instructor.

Highlights of her 2019/20 concert season will include a solo recital in Bogota, Columbia, a duo piano recital with Yu-Lien The at Steinway Hall in New York, and a return to the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival for solo and duo piano performances. As the winner of the 1993 American Pianists Association, she has also been invited to perform at the organization’s 40th anniversary concert celebration in November 2019.

Ms. Sims joined the faculty of Western Michigan University in 1997 and was named the John T. Bernhard Professor of Music in 2003. She was also named Distinguished Professor in the College of Fine Arts in 2020. In high demand as an artist-teacher, she has performed and taught master classes at the Bay View Music Festival (Petoskey, MI); the Eastern Music Festival (Greensboro, NC); the Internationale Konsertarbeitswochen (Gosler, Germany); and Western Michigan University’s high school summer music camp (SEMINAR).

She has recorded three CDs on the Naxos label, including Lori Sims: Romantic; Lori Sims: American Music; and a live recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations which CD Classics called “a masterful, heartfelt, and simply beautiful performance.” She also collaborated with cellist Natalia Khoma to record a CD of works by Schumann, and with violinist Renata Artman Knific on a recording of three sonatas of William Bolcom.

Ms. Sims received her Bachelor’s Degree from the Peabody Conservatory, where she was a student of Leon Fleisher; her Master’s Degree from the Yale School of Music as a student of Daniel Pollack and Claude Frank; and an Artist Diploma from the Hochschule für Musik, Theater, und Medien in Hannover, Germany under the tutelage of Arie Vardi.