PANOS KARAN (Panayotis Karanikolos) was born in Chania, Greece and graduated from PIERCE in 2000. In high school he proved to be an all-around prodigy, with special affinity for music and sports. He is a concert pianist and was educated at the Royal Academy of Music. At age 19, he made his professional debut performance at the Southbank Centre. Other venues include Carnegie Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall London, Suntory Hall Tokyo, Hermitage Theatre (St. Petersburg), Konzerthaus (Vienna and Berlin), St Martin-in-the-Fields (London), Tokyo Opera City, Athens Concert Hall, Teatro Sucre (Ecuador) and Carnegie Hall. He was laureate at the 2004 “Jose Iturbi” International Piano Competition in Valencia, Spain. His performances have included Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concertos No. 2 and 3 and the complete cycle of Beethoven’s Piano Concertos. In 2010, he founded the charity organization Keys of Change, with the motto “Can music change the world? We believe it can.” Projects have taken him to the Amazon, India, Japan, Uganda, Siberia, Bosnia, and Sierra Leone. Panos lives in London.
“If I can leave this world even a bit better than I found it, then mine is a life worth living.”
Q.: What are three enduring lessons you learned during your studies at PIERCE?
- It is not whom you know, but who you are.
- You can be whoever you want.
- Reality starts from dreaming.
Q.: Describe PIERCE in three words.
Accepting, forward thinking, life changing.
Q.: What is one of your favorite PIERCE memories?
My first recital in the PIERCE theatre during Open House, when I was 14.
Q.: What do you miss most from your days at PIERCE?
Sneaking into the theatre during lunch break in order to rehearse, playing on one of the best pianos available in Greece – a Steinway grand.
Q.: Where was your favorite spot on campus?
A tiny corner behind old sets in the backstage area of the theatre.
Q.: Who was your favorite professor and why?
The athletics coach Costas Iliopoulos. He taught me the importance of continuous hard work, the importance of winning and the value of losing.
Q.: Have you kept in touch with any of your classmates?
I am in touch with several friends from the athletics team. I am also still very good friends with a classmate I met on the first day of school while waiting for the bus to PIERCE.
Q.: Did having studied at PIERCE help you during your later studies and beyond?
Pierce has been my home since I was 12 years old and it still is up to this day. Not only have its doors been open for help and advice after graduation, but also I am particularly proud that ACG was by my side for my Carnegie Hall debut.
Q.: What’s the greatest piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Who said elephants can’t dance?
Q.: What (or who) inspires you?
Traveling and being in a new place that challenges me.
Q.: Your motto in life?
If I can leave this world even a bit better than I found it, then mine is a life worth living.