About Emma and Jacob

Nineteen-year-old pianist and arranger Emma Taggart commands the stage with a personality that is at once engaging and unique.  Pioneering an avant-garde style of performing via a combination of music and dialogue, she has stunned audiences across the world, both as a solo artist and as the secondo member of the piano duo Taggart Squared, alongside her younger brother Jacob.  Together, they have given hundreds of solo and duo concerts, placed in national and international competitions, and been featured multiple times on prestigious programs such as NPR’s From The Top and MPR’s Minnesota Varsity.  

Emma has received acclaim as the top prizewinner in the United States International Duo Piano Competition, the LaCrosse Symphony Concerto Competition, and the Young People’s Symphony Concert Association’s Concerto Competition, which included an engagement to play Grieg’s Piano Concerto in a series of twelve concerts with the MN Orchestra. Other past achievements also include co-winner of both the Dakota Valley Symphony Concerto Competition and the Golden Valley Orchestra Concerto Competition, regional winner and national finalist in the MTNA Pianoduo Competition, and top prizes in the United States International Duo Piano Competition, the Thursday Musical Competition, the Great Composers International Competition, the MN State Fair Talent Competition, and the North Star Concerto Competition.  She is a three-time recipient of the Schubert Club Special Awards Grant and has also received, among others, the Wildwood Series Young Artist Award and the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award, accompanied by a $10,000 scholarship.  Most recently, Emma was awarded second prize in the college division of the Bruce P. Carlson Student Scholarship competition hosted by the Schubert Club. 

Emma has taken masterclasses with pianists such as Anderson and Roe, Nelita True, Oxana Yablonskaya, and Julian Martin.  She has been a featured soloist with the Dakota Valley Symphony, the Minnetonka Orchestra, the Golden Valley Orchestra, the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra, and the Minnesota Orchestra– playing Grieg’s Concerto in A Minor as well as Saint Saens’ Carnival of the Animals alongside her brother Jacob.  Emma has also been named the 2018-2019 Featured Artist of the Nicholson Brothers’ Classical Music Series at the Hanifl Center for the Performing Arts.

Outside of the United States, Emma is a regular attendee of acclaimed music festivals in Italy, Spain, Azerbaijan, and Russia.  She has performed concertos with the Milan Chamber Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of St. Petersburg and appeared in concert in St. Petersburg’s famed Marble Palace.  She has been awarded the Grand Prix of the “Grand Piano in Palace” Int’l Piano Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia, the Norma, Italy International Music Festival Award, the Varallo, Italy International Piano Festival Performance Award, and– with a unanimous decision by the jury– the first place in the Maria Herrero International Piano Competition in Granada, Spain.  

Outside of the classical world, Emma has been invited to perform at Minneapolis’ Orchestra Hall as part of a benefit concert given by Sheila E: Prince’s former drummer and fiancée. She has also opened for the iconic rock band The Goo Goo Dolls.  She is an avid arranger and is proud to have two of her works performed on national radio.  

Emma currently studies with the renowned concert pianist Simone Dinnerstein at the Mannes School of Music in New York City. She is in her second year of Mannes’ undergraduate Piano Performance program.  Before studying with Simone, she studied with Juilliard graduate Dr. Reid Smith for fourteen years. 

Jacob Taggart, at only fifteen years old, has already established a career as a successful classical pianist.   Marked by an engaging and energetic personality, his daring interpretations have captivated audiences and juries across the United States and Europe. 

His prowess has already been recognized with top prizes and awards in multiple major competitions.  As a solo artist, he has received first place in the Great Composers International Competition, the Young Artist Scholarship Competition, and the Golden Valley Orchestra Young Artist Concerto Competition.  He also remains one of the youngest winners ever to capture the grand prize of the preteen division of the MN State Fair Amateur Talent Competition.  Most recently, Jacob was awarded first place in both the Dakota Valley Symphony and LaCrosse Symphony Concerto Competitions. He will appear with both orchestras later this season. 

Jacob also performs as the primo member of his sibling piano duo Taggart Squared, alongside his sister Emma.  Together, they have performed hundreds of concerts and appeared on some of the nation’s most prestigious stages.  They have been featured twice on National Public Radio’s From The Top, debuting two of Emma’s original arrangements.  They appeared in 6 feature concerts alongside the Minnesota Orchestra, playing Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals.  And most recently, they received 1st place in the West Central Division of the MTNA piano duo competition, as well as an invitation to compete at the national finals during the MTNA National Conference in Spokane, WA. 

At only age 7, Jacob attended his first festival, the Accademia Tadini International Music Festival, in Lovere, Italy, where he played a solo recital, and made his orchestral debut, playing the Bach Concerto No. 5 with the Milan Chamber Orchestra.  In 2017, he attended the Grand Piano in Palace International Piano Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia, where he was awarded the Grand Prix and performed Mozart’s Concerto No. 9 in E-flat major, K. 271, with the Chamber Orchestra of St. Petersburg. 

Jacob was a prize winner in both the 2020 and 2021 Minnesota Orchestra Young People’s Concerto Competition.  He also received Honorable Mention and Semifinalist Prizewinner at the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition in 2020 and 2021 respectively. Most recently, he was awarded the Honorable Mention in the Schubert Club’s Bruce P. Carlson Student Scholarship Competition.

Jacob has performed in masterclasses with Anderson and Roe, the Unison Piano Duo, and Vincenzo Balzani.  Outside of the classical world, he has been featured on stage at Paisley Park and Orchestra Hall with Sheila E., Grammy-nominated singer, and Prince’s former drummer and fiancée.  He has also opened for the iconic rock band, The Goo Goo Dolls.

Jacob is in 11th grade at St. Agnes High School in St. Paul.  He began lessons with Dr. Reid Smith of Dellwood at age four and continued with Reid until his recent passing in the summer of 2021. Jacob now studies with Dr Paul Wirth at the Wirth Center for the Performing Arts.