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Professor Jeffrey Sharkey has worked as a pianist and composer in both the USA and UK. He was a founding member of the Pirasti Piano Trio, which recorded with ASV Records and toured throughout Europe and the USA. He maintained his performing profile in the USA, coaching chamber music as a faculty member of the Cleveland and Peabody Institutes, and in masterclasses and summer festivals throughout the country. He performed with the Baltimore Symphony and collaborated with members of the Cleveland, Orion, and Cavani Quartets.

His performances at RCS have sought to highlight the unique spirit of collaboration at the conservatoire. Jeffrey has recently collaborated with musicians from the RSNO, BBC Scottish Symphony as well as faculty colleagues. His concerts combined classical music with the jazz, Scottish traditional and ballet departments and he most recently collaborated with the drama and production departments to create a music drama on the letter of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.


Jeffrey is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music where he was the conservatory’s first double major in piano and composition. He earned a Master of Music degree in composition from Yale University and an MPhil from the University of Cambridge. His teachers have included pianists John Browning, Boris Berman, Constance Keene and Peter Frankl and composers Aaron Copland, Jacob Druckman, Earle Brown, John Corigliano and Robin Holloway.


Jeffrey became Principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in September 2014. Under his tenure, the Conservatoire has strengthened its international partnerships and developed its collaborative practices and disciplinary excellence. The RCS was recently ranked by QS as 3rd and 5th in the world for performing arts institutions. Jeffrey served as Director of Johns Hopkins University’s Peabody Institute from 2006 to 2014. He served on the Board of Singapore’s Yong Siew Toh Conservatory, an institution founded by the Peabody Institute, contributing to its strategic direction and helping it become one of the most important conservatoires in Asia.


Before his time at Peabody, he was Dean of the Cleveland Institute of Music. Jeffrey lived in the UK for thirteen years, serving as Director of Music at the Purcell School in London and Head of Academic Music and Composition  at Wells Cathedral School where he started the school’s composition department. 

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