Kymry Esainko


Pianist Kymry Esainko is known for his wide-ranging musical versatility. Principal pianist for the Santa Rosa Symphony since 2002, he has worked with many conductors including Francesco Lecce-Chong, Bruno Ferrandis, Jeffrey Kahane, Joana Carneiro, and John Adams, performing on piano, celesta, harpsichord, portativ organ, and synthesizer.

Kymry’s work as a vocal and choral accompanist has taken him to concert halls around the world including Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, the KKL in Lucerne, and Basilique Sainte-Clothilde in Paris. He recently toured with Persian tombak player Homayoun Shajarian and has accompanied artists as varied as vocalist Ute Lemper and cellist Johannes Moser. Back home in Oakland, Kymry enjoys accompanying the Pacific Boychoir Academy, which his son Kai attends, as well as the Piedmont Children’s Choirs which his daughter Stella sings in, and the Oakland Symphony Chorus.  He can also be found playing piano with various symphony orchestras including Marin, Oakland, Monterey, and the Sun Valley Summer Symphony. An avid chamber musician, he has formed trios with fellow SRS colleagues Kathleen Reynolds, Alex Volonts, Laura Reynolds and Carla Wilson, performing at Schroeder Hall, the Maybeck Studio in Berkeley, and Preston Hall in Mendocino. A versatile jazz and improvisatory pianist, Kymry has played for Matt Small’s Crushing Spiral Ensemble, the Full Spectrum Big Band, and the Club Foot Orchestra, which performed an original score to Fritz Lang’s Metropolis at the SFJAZZ Center and a marathon silent film retrospective at SF’s Castro Theatre.

In December 2008, mere days before Kymry’s son Kai was born, he played the Bach Keyboard Concerto No. 1 in D minor with the Santa Rosa Symphony at the Luther Burbank Center. Kai’s due date was long past, and he assumed he’d be the father of a newborn on this show. He even set up a whole contingency plan so that his wife Becca could still see the show – principal flutist Kathleen Reynolds agreed to hold his newborn while he performed the Bach, since there was no flute on that piece. The naive planning of a foolish father-to-be. As it happened, there was no need for such histrionics – Kai was only too happy to stay contentedly in the womb for a few more days while Kymry sweated onstage. The happy occasion of Kai’s birth was merely six days after his final Bach performance. You might say Kai let his dad have his big debut before he made his.

Kymry was born in San Francisco and grew up in Sacramento, Calif. He started playing piano at age 7 and much, much later, graduated from Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music with degrees in piano performance and American history. He studied classical piano with Frank Wasko, Peter Takacs, and Sanford Margolis, and jazz piano with Neal Creque and Ed Kelly. He lives in Oakland with his vocalist/trombonist wife Becca, his son Kai, daughter Stella, and a menagerie of cats and dogs.

A portrait of Kymry Esainko and a piano