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Interview #004 Sean Penzo Gives Mental Health Advice

Updated: Nov 5, 2023


Sean Penzo playing cello under a tree


What advice would you give to a young creative about mental health and the creative arts?


"Always put themselves before their art. There’s a lot of pressure in the arts world (especially in academia) to forego friends, sleep, relaxation, sometimes even food, for the sake of being productive. However, you create your best art when all of those things are fulfilled. You are a human first, and an artist second. It’s your humanity that fuels your art."

- Sean Penzo



About Sean Penzo

Born in Genova, Italy, and raised outside of Syracuse, NY, Sean Penzo is a composer and cellist known for a wide range of collaborations and compositions. He has held board positions in Ethos New Music Society and The Improv. Collective, among others. Penzo has attended several music festivals, including Sewanee Summer Music Festival in Sewanee, Tennessee, Alba New Music Festival in Alba, Italy, and highSCORE New Music Festival. He has composed for ensembles which have performed his music internationally including Sonic Apricity, Akropolis Reed Quintet, and Quartetto Zuena. During his undergrad at SUNY Fredonia, Penzo studied composition with Paul Coleman, Andrew Martin Smith, Rob Deemer, and Jamie Leigh Sampson, and cello with Natasha Farny. After Fredonia, he studied with Keith Fitch and Bryan Dumm in Cleveland, and graduated with a master's in music composition.

​ Penzo values performance just as much as composition. He enjoys working with live bands and playing the role of a studio musician--often recording remotely for clients of all genres. His recent endeavors have involved working with Shane Patterson, Todd Hobin, Isa Bruder, and Julia Goodwin.





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