Praised by the NY Times for her “impressive musicality, crisp touch, and expressive phrasing,” Japanese pianist Rieko Aizawa has performed in solo and orchestral engagements throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe, including Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, Boston’s Symphony Hall, Chicago’s Orchestra Hall and Vienna’s Konzerthaus.
At the age of thirteen, Ms. Aizawa was brought to the attention of conductor Alexander Schneider on the recommendation of the pianist Mitsuko Uchida. Schneider engaged Ms. Aizawa as soloist with his Brandenburg Ensemble at the opening concerts of Tokyo’s Casals Hall. Later that year, Schneider presented her in her United States début concerts at the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall with his New York String Orchestra. She has since established her own unique musical voice.
Highlights have included acclaimed performances with the New Japan Philharmonic under Seiji Ozawa, the English Chamber Orchestra under Heinz Holliger, the Festival Strings Lucerne in Switzerland with Rudolf Baumgartner, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra under Hugh Wolff, the Curtis Institute Orchestra with Peter Oundjian, the St. Louis Symphony with David Loebel, and a wonderfully received performance with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra. Ms. Aizawa also has a great interest in exploring unusual repertoire. In October 2007, the St. Paul Pioneer Press said of her performance with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra conducted by Hans Graf: “the Salieri Piano Concerto in C was played so splendidly by Rieko Aizawa. Hers was a graceful reading. …Aizawa’s performance lent the work a respect it rarely receives.”
Ms. Aizawa is also an active chamber musician. The youngest-ever participant at the Marlboro Music Festival, she has also performed as a guest with string quartets including the Guarneri and Orion Quartets. Ms. Aizawa is a founding member of the Horszowski Trio and Duo Prism with violinist Jesse Mills, which received first prize at the Zinetti International Competition in Italy in 2006. With Mr. Mills, Ms. Aizawa became co-artistic director of the Alpenglow Chamber Music Festival in Colorado in 2010.
March 2005 marked the release of Ms. Aizawa’s first solo recording of Shostakovich’s and Scriabin’s “24 Preludes” on the Altus Music label. Her second album of Messiaen and Faure preludes will come out in 2012.
Ms. Aizawa received her master’s degree from the Juilliard School, where she worked with Peter Serkin. She is also a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where she was awarded the prestigious Rachmaninoff Prize and studied with Seymour Lipkin, Peter Serkin, and Mieczyslaw Horszowski as his last pupil. Ms. Aizawa is a Steinway Artist.
“Every student has unique qualities. When I meet new students, I try to immediately figure out their strengths and needs in the most careful way, so that I can help them build a path towards their individual goals. During the journey, I give them challenges from every possible perspective. Together we navigate the vast repertoire, so that each student can cultivate his or her potential, both musically and technically.
I am fortunate to have studied with legendary musicians, such as Peter Serkin and Mieczyslaw Horszowski, who taught me the traditions with so much inspiration. They let me reach a place where I strongly believe in my own musicianship. I feel a need to share this legacy and musical sensibility with the next generation.”