Sean Kleve

Founding member

Percussionist, Composer, Conductor, and Harpsichordist Sean Kleve is the founder of Madison Wisconsin’s premiere experimental percussion ensemble, Clocks in Motion.  The group is dedicated to performing new and classic works for percussion instruments while promoting and supporting the education and future of new music. 

Clocks in Motion has toured extensively throughout the United States and has commissioned dozens of new compositions from composers such as Marc Mellits, Andrew Rindfleisch, John Jeffrey Gibbens, Filippo Santoro, and countless young and emerging composers. As a performer of new music outside of Clocks in Motion, Sean has worked closely with a number of important composers and artists including Steven Schick, Charles Wuorinen, Steve Reich, Paul Lansky, Gunther Schuller, Krzysztof Penderecki, John Heiss, and Joan Tower.

Not only known for his performances of contemporary music, Sean has also been successful in the orchestral field. Sean can be heard on the debut recording by the Chamber Orchestra of New York and has also performed with the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, the Dubuque Symphony, the Beloit-Janesville Symphony Orchestra, the Youngstown Symphony, and the Erie Philharmonic.  In addition, Sean is a substitute percussionist with the Madison Symphony Orchestra and the Madison Chamber Orchestra.

As a long-time performer of Bach on modern and non-traditional instruments, Sean recently dove into the wide world of harpsichord and historical performance. Sean’s particular interests center upon an understanding of figured bass improvisation, historical tuning, the music of J.S. Bach, and early Italian Baroque music from the 17th century. Sean performs solo recitals and chamber works on the harpsichord. He was a participant at the 2022 Madison Bach Musicians Summer Workshop and is the owner of an Italian Cristofori/Ferrini Harpsichord built by David Sutherland in 1984. Sean’s principal harpsichord teachers are Trevor Stephenson and Jason Moy.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Sean completed his Bachelor of Music degree in Percussion Performance at Baldwin-Wallace University and his Master of Music degree at the Manhattan School of Music.  Sean completed his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in classical percussion with a minor in music theory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2014. Sean commissioned five new experimental compositions and professionally recorded the pieces for his doctoral project. Sean was a recipient of the Paul Collins Fellowship (2010-2013), which is awarded to outstanding graduate performance majors and determined by a committee of performance faculty.  Sean’s principal teachers include Anthony Di Sanza, Duncan Patton, Chris Lamb, Steve Schick, She-e Wu, and Josh Ryan.

Sean lives in Madison, Wisconsin with his wife, two kids, two dogs, and a massive board game collection. Sean maintains a small private teaching studio of pianists, harpsichordists, and percussionists of all ages.

Clocks in Motion is:

Sean Kleve

Sean Kleve