Pianist & cultural activist


“A prodigious pianist” (Chicago Tribune, 2014) and someone who “likes to shake it up” (Chicago Tribune, 2016), George Lepauw is a cultural activist who uses music and the arts to bring people together for positive change. Passionate about artistic traditions and excited about contemporary developments, George is constantly exploring ways to make high-level creative expression meaningful to humanity at large, following upon Beethoven's idea of "brotherhood". 

Named Chicagoan of the Year (2012) for Classical Music in the Chicago Tribune and listed in Chicago Magazine’s Classical Music “Power List” (2013), George represents the ideal 21st century musician, intensely focused on his art and wholly engaged with the world. He first began performing professionally at age ten in Paris where he grew up, and has concertized ever since as a recitalist, chamber musician, vocal collaborator, and soloist with orchestra. He also occasionally works in other genres including world music, cabaret, pop, flamenco, jazz, and blues. In 2008 he founded the International Beethoven Project (IBP), a radical organization focused on innovation in the arts and on humanity’s creative potential, motivated by Beethoven’s indomitable spirit. IBP is now developing the Cities of Culture Initiative designed to rethink the connection between arts, culture and community, inspired by Beethoven’s legacy and upcoming 250th anniversary in 2020. Since January 2016, George also serves as the Classical Music and Film Director for the Chicago International Movies & Music Festival (www.cimmfest.org).

George grew up in an artistically engaged family: his sister Consuelo Lepauw is a violinist based in Chicago, his father Didier Lepauw was a First Violin in the Orchestre de Paris, and his grandfather Roger Lepauw was Principal Viola of the Orchestre de Paris and of the Opéra de Paris, while his mother Jane Lepauw is a writer and civic activist. George began piano studies at the age of three in Paris with Aïda Barenboim, mother of Daniel Barenboim, and furthered his studies with Elena Varvarova, Brigitte Engerer, Vladimir Krainev, Rena Shereshevskaya, Ursula Oppens, James Giles, and Earl Wild, among others. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. with a double major in English Literature and History, and received his Masters of Music in Piano Performance from Northwestern University. George is a frequent guest speaker and master class leader at universities and “ideas festivals” as well as on radio and television. He is also a founding member of the Chicago Ideas Co-op.

His current artistic projects, aside from leading the International Beethoven Project, include recordings and multimedia explorations of Johann Sebastian Bach’s complete Well-Tempered Clavier, Debussy’s Preludes, and Beethoven’s Sonatas. He also recently launched a podcast, a blog, and a Patreon page.





News & Updates



I am thrilled to announce the launch of my Patreon page! Its purpose is to gather friends and fans together in an effort to make some of my artistic visions come to life. This team building and crowd funding platform gives me the necessary freedom to create more meaningful art by offering a sounding board and financial patronage, and allows fans an intimate look at the trajectory I take from original idea to finished product. The projects I am throwing myself into now are: 1) a podcast, 2) a blog, and 3) a recording and film project focused on the complete Well-Tempered Clavier of Johann Sebastian Bach, with additional explorations of Beethoven Sonatas and Debussy Preludes, among others. Accidental side-projects may creep into this as well. Take a look at it yourself and consider lending your support! 


My Debussy Preludes recording is now streaming on SoundCloud! 


New podcast is live!

introducing "Through the stage door"

I’m pleased to announce “Through The Stage Door”, which is produced by the International Beethoven Project, but designed and hosted by me, George Lepauw. The purpose of this podcast is to freely explore the world of the arts, the people, the ideas and the principles that drive the creative fields. Through The Stage Door will give listeners unequalled access to the artists behind the art, to the leaders who shape the art world, and to the radicals past and present who continuously redefine art, and in so doing, our entire world. Through The Stage Door is your very own backstage pass, giving you complete access behind the scenes. This podcast is for anyone curious about the arts, whether you are an expert in an art field or just an onlooker. There may occasional expert speak, but these conversations are typically informal and designed for the general public of all ages.

Episode 1 is an in-depth interview with the piano duo and YouTube sensation Anderson & Roe, who have revolutionized the classical music video genre, producing nearly 50 high-quality videos of incomparable creativity, cleverness, and artistry. It's a little over 2 hours long, but I had a blast talking to these two brilliant minds and I highly recommend it to everyone remotely interested in music (of any genre), film and art. Enjoy, and help spread the word on social media! 

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