Japanese-American pianist Dr. Michiko Otaki, director of Keyboard Studies atClaytonStateUniversity, returns to the National Gallery of Art inWashington,D.C., on Sunday, Mar. 24 for a concert presented in honor of the 2013 National Cherry Blossom Festival. Otaki was specially requested by the Gallery after another Japanese artist pulled out of their scheduled performance due to illness. In celebration of the capital’s renowned Cherry Blossoms her program will include works by three 20th-century Japanese composers: Yoshimitsu Kurokami (1933-2002), Hajime Okumura (1925-1991), and Kunihiko Hashimoto (1904-1949).
Joining Otaki is her long-time recital partner, English violist Roger Chase. Chase and Otaki last appeared at the National Gallery together in 2007 and have made numerous recordings together, including Brahms Sonatas and many works by English composers of the early 20th-century. Michiko Otaki first performed at the National Gallery in 1993 with the Warsaw Wind Quintet.
The program, given in the West Garden Court at 6:30 p.m., opens with the 1906 Romance for Viola and Piano by Benjamin Dale (1885-1943) and includes the 3rd Violin Sonata by Frederick Delius (1862-1934) arranged for viola by Lionel Tertis, and Johannes Brahms’ Second Viola Sonata in E-flat major. Concluding the recital is the 1918 Phantasy for Viola and Piano, Op. 54 by York Bowen (1884-1961).
Next month Otaki and Chase will perform inHelsinkiat theSibeliusAcademyon Apr. 13, and on June 3 the duo will be heard in a broadcast recital onChicago’s Live from WFMT.
Otaki received degrees from the San Francisco Conservatory, Manhattan School of Music, andUniversityofMiami, and has performed and recorded with such renowned international ensembles as the Graffe String Quartet, Kodály String Quartet, Martinů String Quartet, Swiss Wind Quintet, Brno Chamber Soloists, Slovak Sinfonietta, Brno Chamber Orchestra, Bohemian Chamber Philharmonic, and the Pilsen Philharmonic.
Her most recent tour with the Graffe Quartet featured the first American performances of Bohuslav Martinů’s early Piano Quintet “Number Zero”, including itsNew Yorkpremiere. The 1911 work had its belated world premiere by Otaki and the Graffe Quartet inBrno,Czech Republicin 2012 and was recorded by them, a CD named “Recording of the Month” by MusicWeb International, calling it “a joy to listen to from start to finish.”
Born inLondon, Chase studied at the Royal College of Music withBernardShoreand inCanadawith Steven Staryk, also working for a short time with the legendary Lionel Tertis. He made his debut with the English Chamber Orchestra in 1979, and appeared as soloist at a Promenade Concert at The Royal Albert Hall inLondon. He has played as soloist or chamber musician in major cities throughout the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the Middle East, India, most of Eastern and all of Western Europe and Scandinavia.
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