Pianist siblings kick off Heidelberg’s New Music Spring series

Mar 14, 2014

In the first of three concert weekends in Heidelberg University’s New Music Spring 2014 festival, the School of Music & Theatre will welcome highly accomplished pianist siblings Mari Akagi and her brother, Kei Akagi for a concert at 8:15 p.m. Thursday, March 20.

Mari Akagi, a 1972 Heidelberg graduate, received her master’s degree from The Cleveland Institute of Music before returning to her native Japan, where she is a teacher and frequent performer. Her repertoire includes the performance of contemporary solo and chamber music and premiering new works (more than 60 to date). In addition to performing across Japan, she has given concerts and lectures abroad. Mari is the recipient of the Miyagi Prefecture Arts Prize for young Artists and is on the faculty of Miyagi Gakuin Women’s University in Sendai, Japan.

Internationally known as a pianist and composer, Kei Akagi has been a mainstay of the international jazz world for more than two decades. He is best known for his work as a member of the Miles Davis Band in the late ‘80s. He has recorded 12 CDs as a solo artist and has appeared on more than 40 CDs as a sideman and accompanist. He also has written numerous original works for his own and others’ recordings with more than 30 compositions currently in publication. He is a professor of music at the University of California Irvine, where he directs the jazz studies program.

For their Heidelberg concert, Mari will present works by contemporary Japanese composers and Kei’s program will feature jazz works. Together, they will perform two recent works for duo piano.

In its 25th year, the New Music Spring 2014 series has taken on a different approach in 2014, spreading out a series of concerts over three weekends – March 20, March 29 and April 4-5. On March 29, the School of Music & Theatre will welcome the cutting-edge ensemble, the Akropolis Reed Quintet, known for performing innovative, living repertoire with acclaimed precision. The weekend of April 4-5 will feature two Meet the Composer events along with concerts by guest artists Nicholas Omiccioli, a 2006 Heidelberg alumnus; Yugoslavia-born Vera Stanojevic, a music professor at Ball State University; and Jonathan McNair, who is on the faculty at the University of Tennessee-Chatanooga.

All of the concerts will be held in Brenneman Music Hall and are free and open to the public. The festival is made possible through the support of National Machinery Foundation, Friends of Heidelberg Music, the university’s Community Engagement Committee and alumni Ted and Jane Hieronymus.

Call 419-448-2073 or visit www.heidelberg.edu/academiclife/depts/music for additional information.