Collaborative Piano faculty member and Neave Trio pianist Eri Nakamura is driven by music’s power to inspire and to connect people with one another. In her performances with Neave, Eri and her trio members combine interdisciplinary art forms with their music to produce surprising and engaging concert experiences.
Renowned pianist Eri Nakamura has been praised for her “delicacy of touch” by the Wall Street Journal and as “a pianist of exceptional sensitivity” by MusicWeb International. UK-based Strad magazine echoed these comments by praising Ms. Nakamura’s “eminently sensitive pianism”. Eri Nakamura has toured extensively throughout the world, performing in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Italy, Spain, Finland, Serbia, as well as in her native Japan. Noted for her brilliantly expressive colors and virtuosic playing, she is equally at home as a soloist and as a collaborator with singers and instrumentalists alike. Ms. Nakamura was appointed as a member of the faculty in the Keyboard Studies and Collaborative Piano Department at Longy School of Music of Bard College in the fall of 2019.
Ms. Nakamura is currently the pianist of the critically acclaimed Neave Trio. With violinist Anna Williams and cellist Mikhail Veselov, the Neave Trio has earned enormous praise for its engaging, cutting edge performances. WQXR explains, “’Neave’ is actually a Gaelic name meaning ‘bright’ and ‘radiant’, both of which certainly apply to this trio’s music making.” The Boston Musical Intelligencer included Neave in its “Best of 2014” and “Best of 2016” roundups, proclaiming, “their unanimity, communication, variety of touch, and expressive sensibility rate first tier.”
Neave Trio has performed and held residencies at many esteemed concert series and festivals worldwide and has appeared frequently as soloists for Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with orchestras across the country. Most recently, the trio’s residencies included the Kaatsbaan Summer Festival (Tivoli, NY), the Mostly Modern Festival (Saratoga Springs, NY) and the Newport Classical Music Festival (Newport, RI). Neave Trio will perform the world premiere of a groundbreaking triple concerto by celebrated American composer Robert Paterson at the Mostly Modern Festival in the summer of 2023 with the American Modern Orchestra under the baton of legendary conductor Joann Falletta who is currently the Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic orchestra. Neave Trio’s visiting residencies include Brown University, University of Virginia and the MIT School of Architecture and Design in collaboration with dancer/choreographer Richard Colton. The Trio was Ensemble-in-Residence at Longy School of Music of Bard College from 2017 to 2022.
Neave Trio’s fifth and most recent album Musical Remembrances released on May 6, 2022 includes trios by Ravel, Rachmaninoff and Brahms. This album gained early support from BBC Radio 3’s Katie Derham and Andrew McGregor, as well as The Wall Street Journal, which wrote that, “Neave offers a fine, intelligently paced interpretation with many lovely touches… and expressive alchemy among the players.” Neave’s fourth album, Her Voice, featured all-women composers and included trios by Amy Beach, Rebecca Clarke, and Louise Farrenc. Her Voice was released internationally on Chandos Records on October 4, 2019 and was selected as a “Best of 2019” album by BBC Radio 3. Neave’s performance of Rebecca Clarke’s third movement in Her Voice was named by The New York Times as one of “The 25 Best Classical Music Tracks of 2019”. In November 2018, Neave released their third album, Celebrating Piazzolla, featuring The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires and all new arrangements of Piazzolla’s songs for piano trio and voice by Argentine arranger Leonardo Suarez Paz on Azica Records. Gramophone described their recording of The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires as “thrilling,” having “wild energy,” and “electrifying,” while Classics Today wrote, “the energetic edginess, the snap, the rhythm sound convincing, totally invigorating, and authentic”. Blog critic praised Ms. Nakamura specifically saying, “Pianist Eri Nakamura summons orchestral depth, by turns dark and brilliant, from the keys.” Neave released their second album, French Moments, on Chandos Records in June 2018. That album showcased works by Debussy, Fauré, and Roussel and was featured on WQXR’s list of “The Best New Recordings of 2018”. Neave’s 2016 debut album, American Moments, featuring works by Korngold, Foote, and Bernstein, was released to critical acclaim on Chandos Records. BBC Music Magazine praised, “Eri Nakamura’s clear-toned pianism is very classy indeed and enlivens throughout.”
Ms. Nakamura’s recent recitals include performances at the Mostly Mozart Festival in the David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, the Terrace Theater at the Kennedy Center, the Rockport Celtic Festival at Shalin Liu Performance Center, La Jolla Athenaeum, PS21- Performance Spaces for the 21st Century (NY), the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, Izumi Hall in Osaka, Japan, the D.O.O.R Hall and Aster Plaza in Hiroshima, Japan, BBC 3 Radio: “In Tune”, Blackheath Halls in London, the Norfolk and Norwich Chamber Music Series (United Kingdom), Tuupovaaran Ullakko in Finland, Kulturni Center Belgrade in Serbia, Begemot Art Gallery in Barcelona, and the Aosta Classica Concert Series and Teatro Romano in Italy. Ms. Nakamura has also appeared as a soloist with Tokyo’s Edogawa Philharmonic, the National Repertory Orchestra, and the Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra in Severance Hall. She has been featured on the Saugerties, NY Pro Musica Concert Series; the Muhlenberg College Recital Series; the Chamber Music Society at Yale; the International Chamber Music Courses in Positano, Italy; the Piano Plus! Concert Series in New York City; and the Zephyr International Chamber Music Festival in Courmayeur, Italy. Summer festival appearances include Tanglewood Music Center, Banff Centre, Aspen Music Festival, and Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. Ms. Nakamura served as the repetiteur for La Lingua della Lirica in Novafeltria, Italy, as well as for the Opera on the Avalon in St. John’s, Canada.
A prizewinner of many competitions, Ms. Nakamura was the first prize winner of the Yale School of Music Chamber Music Competition, the Miyazawa Piano Competition in Japan, the California State Division of the MTNA- Steinway & Sons Collegiate Artist Piano Competition, as well as the recipient of the Distinguished Musician Award at the IBLA Grand Prize International Piano Competition in Ragusa, Italy. In addition, Ms. Nakamura has received numerous awards and scholarships, including the Mu Phi Epsilon Rose Lobe Collaborative Piano Award, the Helen Curtis Webster Award, the William B. Kurzban Scholarship and the Rosa Lobe Memorial Scholarship at the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Henry & Lucy G. Moses Scholarship and Mary Clapp Howell Scholarship at Yale University, the Liberace Foundation Scholarship, and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Piano Award, and the Fine Arts Award in Piano.
Ms. Nakamura was born in Hiroshima, Japan and began her piano studies at the age of four with Mie Ishii. Ms. Nakamura holds a Professional Diploma in vocal collaborative piano from Mannes School of Music at the New School where she was a student of Cristina Stanescu and Vlad Iftinca. Ms. Nakamura studied with Sergei Babayan and Anita Pontremoli at the Cleveland Institute of Music where she received Artist Diplomas in both solo and collaborative piano. Ms. Nakamura also holds a Master of Music degree and Artist Diploma from Yale University School of Music where she was under the tutelage of Peter Frankl, as well as a Bachelor of Music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music under Mack McCray. Ms. Nakamura is a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, where she was a student of Victoria Mushkatkol and Stephen Perry. Other important chamber music influences include Ms. Nakamura’s work with Claude Frank and the Tokyo String Quartet at both Yale University and the Norfolk Music Festival, as well as her studies with Ken Merrill during his residency at Mannes and with John Perry at the Banff Centre and Aspen Music Festival. In 2016, Nakamura was selected as a Leonard Bernstein Piano Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, where she studied with Peter Serkin, Joseph Kalichstein, Garrick Ohlsson, Alan L. Smith, Kenneth Griffiths, Kayo Iwama and Margo Garrett. Ms. Nakamura has also worked with Dawn Upshaw, Sanford Sylvan, Stephanie Blythe, Renée Fleming and Frederica von Stade.
In master classes, Ms. Nakamura has performed for Murray Perahia, Leon Fleisher, Claude Frank, Jerome Lowenthal, Gilbert Kalish, Martin Katz, Warren Jones, Jorg Demus, and Boris Berman. From 2013 to 2015, Ms. Nakamura was a Collaborative Piano Fellow at the Bard Conservatory of Music, where she closely worked with the Vocal Arts Program led by Dawn Upshaw and Kayo Iwama.