PIANIST KYU BUTLER
Pianist, Educator, & Collaborative Pianist
Musical performance is born in those same sublime regions from which music itself has descended. Whenever the music is in danger of becoming earthbound, the performance must elevate it and help it to regain its original ethereal quality... It is the duty of the performer to liberate it from the redness of the printed page and bring it to life again.
Kyu Butler is a concertizing pianist and artist teacher based in St. Louis, Missouri. Please use the navigation menu to learn more about her career, accomplishments, piano lessons, and listen to videos and audio examples, and learn about upcoming performances.
Thank you for visiting!
A recipient of the Marina Grin and the Classical Music Awards, Kyu Butler is an accomplished pianist and has received 1st prize awards from many competitions including the Chosun Daily News Co. Music Competition, Korea Times Music Competition, The Korean National Students Competition, Samick Piano Competition, Choonchoo Piano Competition, Monthly Music Magazine Competition, Yookyoung Students Competition, and the University of Illinois Symphony Concerto Competition. Butler has trained with such masters as Leon Fleisher, Aldo Ciccolini, Menahem Pressler, Yefim Bronfman, Vladimir Feltsman, Boris Slutsky, Timothy Ehlen, Daniel Schene and many others in US, Europe, and Asia. Butler is actively performing at prestigious stages such as Krannert Center for Performing Arts, Seoul Arts Center, and Carnegie Hall. Butler performed as a soloist with the Korea Soloists Orchestra under the baton of her own teacher, Maestro Ian Hobson in 2018. In the 2019 - 2020, she was invited to perform at Blackburn College, St. Louis University, and University of Illinois at Springfield as a guest artist.
Butler received her Bachelor of Music from The Korean National University of Arts’ School of Music. Here she studied with Mr. Choong-Mo Kang, a former faculty member of the Juilliard School in New York City. Butler also received a Master of Music in piano performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Mack McCray. She also received her Professional Studies Diploma in Early Historical Keyboards with emphasis on Fortepiano from the Conservatory.
Currently, Butler is pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance and Literature and Master of Music in Vocal Coaching and Accompanying at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with full scholarship. Here she studies with the renowned pianist and conductor Dr. Ian Hobson. Butler has completed the Piano Pedagogy Internship with one of the famous Piano Pedagogy scholars, the late Dr. Alexander Reid, and also worked as an opera coach, Teaching Assistant, and studio accompanist at the University of Illinois. Butler recently became a NCTM (Nationally Certified Teacher of Music) in piano and has been certified as an Elementary Specialist by the Royal Conservatory of Music in Canada.
Butler runs a private studio in Saint Louis, MO. She is also an adjunct faculty at the Community Music School of Webster University. Her students have won local and nation-wide competitions, festivals, exams and auditions. One of her recipient students of the “State Certificate of Excellence” award at Royal Conservatory of Music Piano Exam was selected among 12 states in Midwest to perform at the Chicago Symphony Hall in March 2020. She frequently serves as an adjudicator at local and national level competitions, auditions, and festivals.
Butler’s current research focus on preventing injuries and wellness for pianists is influenced by personal experience. Butler’s work was selected for presentations at the Music Teachers National Association’s National Conference in Spokane WA, and at the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy in Chicago IL in 2019. Her superb presentation resulted in an invitation to write a paper for MTNA E-Journal, which will be published in September 2020. She presented her work at the World Piano Conference in 2020. As a pedagogue, Butler was invited to conduct masterclasses and a lecture at Kasetsart University in Bangkok, Thailand in 2019.
Butler is a Co-Vice President of Missouri MTA, and President of St. Louis Area MTA, as well as Chair of SLAMTA’s Young Artist Competition. She recently inaugurated as the first President and Artistic Director of World Piano Teachers Association USA-Missouri and created 32 Complete Beethoven Sonata Concerts with 18 pianists to celebrate 250th Anniversary of Beethoven's birth in fall 2020. Also she organized African-American Composers Series for fall 2020. Butler is a member of MTNA, The Federation of Music Clubs, Piano Teachers Round Table in St. Louis, The Korean National Association of Piano Pedagogy, and The Pianissimo - The Musical Arts Association of Korea.
Pianist Kyu Butler
Carnegie Weill Recital Hall Debut
Current Research Focus
Kyu Butler's current research topic is "Measuring up to Prevent Injuries: Handspan, Repertoire, and Alternatively-Sized Piano Keyboards." Kyu presented this at MTNA(Music Teachers National Association) National Conference and NCKP (National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy) in 2019. Her paper will be published in Sep 2020 at MTNA E-Journal.
Welcome to Kyu Butler Piano Studio.
No students are considered too young to start learning piano. In fact, establishing proper techniques from an early age is fundamental for later development. Poor habits can also be difficult to unlearn later in life. Kyu's studio currently has students ranging in age from 4 years old to adults who are at an advanced level. Kyu Butler teaches piano as well as music theory.
Kyu has had extensive performing in Europe, Asia, and the United States. Kyu has also trained with legendary pianists throughout the world. Kyu is a Co-Vice President of the Missouri Music Teachers Association and chair of Young Artist Competition. When combined with her doctoral education, Kyu has acquired plenty of experience teaching young pianists. Kyu's students have competed in, and been successful in competitions, festivals, and auditions in US and abroad. Kyu is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music in Piano and Elementary Specialist from Royal Conservatory of Music in Canada .
Lessons are available for 30, 45, or 60 minutes, using a Steinway & Sons grand piano. Feel free to contact Kyu for an interview (Free of charge). For more information, please click "Policy" on top menu bar.
Kyu Butler Piano Studio is located in the Rock Hill (Ladue) area near Manchester & McKnight.
Currently, Kyu is offering both online and in-person lessons. Please inquire.
Kyu Butler provides Music Theory lessons. Kyu uses Royal Conservatory of Music(RCM) in Canada's "Celebrate Theory" as textbook. RCM annual level tests are in May and August in St. Louis area.
Level 1-4: Elementary
Level 5-8: Intermediate
Level 9 or above: Advanced
News & Events
1/19 Instruction begins for spring
2/05 PTRT Presentation
3/22-28 Spring Break (No Lessons)
4/11 Chopin Ballade Performance
5/16 Studio Recital
5/31 Last day of instruction for spring
Federation Festival (March)
Superior - highest prize
Amelia Polito (Superior+)
Amelia Polito - Superior
RCM Piano Exam (June & July)
Sienna Barnidge - First Class Honors
Natalie Chen - First Class Honors
Jonah Meyer - First Class Honors
Amelia Polito - First Class Honors with Distinction (State Winner)
Seamus Smith - First Class Honors (State Winner)
RCM Theory Exam (May)
Robert Quan - First Class Honors with Distinction
MMTA District Auditions (Sep)
MMTA State Honors Auditions (Oct)
RCM Piano Exam (Nov)
Robert Quan - First Class Honors
Andy Smull - First Class Honors
Siyona Chanda - First Class Honors
RCM Winners' Recital (Dec.)
Amateur Piano Competition
1st Place - Seung Yeop Lee
Sonatina Festival (March)
Superior - highest award
The Federation of Music Clubs(March)
Chloe Babel: Superior-
Natalie Chen: Superior
Caspar Koelz: Superior
Milo Nickelson: Superior+
Ayansa Samarasinghe: Superior
Yuma Samarasinghe: Superior
Emily Simmons: Superior
Gideon Weinberg: Superior+
RCM Piano Exam (May)
Ana Casares:Passed - First Class Honors
received an award "Center Certificate of Excellence"
Robert Quan:Passed -First Class Honors with Distinction
received awards "State Certificate of Excellence" and "Center Certificate of Excellence"
Seamus Smith:Passed - First Class Honors
Thomas Kane :Passed - Honors
Jonah Meyer:Passed - First Class Honors
received awards "State Certificate of Excellence" and "Center Certificate of Excellence"
Chloe Cheng:Passed - Honors
RCM Theory Exam (August)
Jan Riet: passed level 7
Robert Quan: passed level 8
MMTA District Audition (September)
Arch Cup (Oct)
MMTA State Auditions (Nov)
Honorable Mention (3rd prize)
Community Music School of Webster University
Missouri Music Teachers Association
Music Teachers National Association
World Piano Teachers Association
World Piano Teachers Association USA-Missouri
Royal Conservatory of Music
San Francisco Conservatory of Music
Pianists for Alternatively Sized Keyboards
Piano Teachers Round Table
St. Louis Area Music Teachers Association
"To send light into the darkness of men's hearts, such is the duty of the artist."
- Robert Schumann (1810-1856) -
For any performance or lesson inquiries. Please leave a message here below, or email her.