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 trained with masters such as Leon Fleisher, Aldo Ciccolini, Menahem Pressler, Yefim Bronfman, Vladimir Feltsman, Boris Slutsky, Timothy Ehlen, Daniel Schene and others in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Butler is an active performer and has played on prestigious stages such as the 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 2019 and 2020, she was invited to perform at Blackburn College, St. Louis University, and the University of Illinois at Springfield as a guest artist. In 2020 and 2021, she performed at the virtual Beethoven Celebration Concerts to celebrate his 250th birth anniversary, a program organized by Butler as President of World Piano Teachers Association USA-Missouri. She is scheduled to perform at the Chopin Complete Ballades and Scherzo Concert and is going to join and perform a project dedicated to the piano compositions of Lodi Luka from Italy.
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. Butler had her doctoral training at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with full scholarship. Here she studied with the renowned pianist and conductor Dr. Ian Hobson. Butler completed a 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 is a member of MTNA, Piano Teachers Round Table in St. Louis, The Korean National Association of Piano Pedagogy, and The Pianissimo - The Musical Arts Association of Korea.Butler currently 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. 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 was published in September 2020. She presented her work at the World Piano Conference virtually in 2020 as well. As a pedagogue, Butler was invited to conduct masterclasses and a lecture at Kasetsart University in Bangkok, Thailand in 2019 and Illinois Wesleyan University in 2020. As a clinician, Butler was invited to give a talk to Piano Teachers' Round Table members virtually in February 2021.
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 was 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 the 250th Anniversary of Beethoven's birth in fall 2020. She also organized African-American Composers Series, Women Composers Series, East Meets West, Young Virtuoso Series, Young Musician Series, Young Artist Series, and Rising Star Series to provide performance opportunities for music students and professionals. She also hosted the first Amateur Piano Competition with competitors from 6 different countries including Germany, France, South Korea, Canada, Japan, and the United States.