|miki sawada, pianist|
Miki Sawada is a musician who is free-spirited in her pursuit of adventure while showing deep commitment to fully realize classical music's capacity to nurture community and civil society. She recently completed "Gather Hear Alaska," in which she traveled for three weeks in Alaska with a piano in a van. Accompanied only by a filmmaker, she gave 25 performances in community hubs such as cafes, bars, parks, schools, mostly focusing on rural communities. The project explored the idea of the piano as a central object of a gathering place - how we as humans can't help but be drawn to a piano to sing, play, listen, and gather - and to also explore the social possibilities of classical music when taken out of a concert hall and into community gathering spaces.
In the 2016-17 season, Miki presented a solo recital on the Dame Myra Hess concert series in Chicago which was broadcast live on WFMT radio. Other season highlights include a debut recital with cello partner Lukas Stasevskij at Helsinki Music Centre, solo recitals in Japan, Belgium, and the U.S., and contemporary music performances in New York City at venues such as Spectrum NYC, Dimenna Center, Roulette, the Living Gallery, and Scholes Street Studio. Miki’s performances in the past have been featured at venues and occasions such as: Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lincoln Center Stage on Holland America Line, the Oneppo Chamber Music Series at Yale, Toronto Summer Music Festival, Aurora Music Festival (Sweden), Music on Main (Vancouver), Chicago Symphony Center’s Macy’s Day of Music, the Banff Centre, New Music New Haven, PianoFest in the Hamptons, Art Base (Brussels), Moulin d'Andé (France), and radio stations WQXR (NYC) and WFMT (Chicago). In the summers, she teaches and performs as a faculty member of Point CounterPoint and Catskill High Peaks Festival.
Thirsty for music beyond standard repertoire and the standard modern piano, Miki has pursued historical performance and contemporary music performance with equal commitment and passion. She won the Yale chamber music competition by performing Beethoven on fortepiano, and has appeared as a concerto soloist playing Bach on harpsichord. She has championed the works of her composer-peers, and numerous solo pieces have been dedicated to and premiered by Miki including works by composers Paul Kerekes, Charlie Usher, Phong Tran, and Andrew Noseworthy. She is active in numerous contemporary music ensembles, and can be heard on numerous recordings of premieres as part of Atlantic Music Festival’s Contemporary Ensemble, Norfolk Contemporary Ensemble, New Music New Haven, and Transfer Is Available.
As an educator and thinker, Miki finds ways to connect people with the power of classical music off of the stage. Miki was a resident musician and founder of the piano program at Music Haven, an organization that seeks to empower youth by providing mentoring and tuition-free music education to students from underserved communities in New Haven. Miki is also the director of NewMusic4us, a project through which young and emerging composers write beginner-level chamber music pieces for young students, with the goal of connecting composers and young students so as to re-evaluate our attitudes toward contemporary music and music education.
Miki received her formal training in solo piano performance. She received training at Yale School of Music (Artist Diploma) with Wei-Yi Yang, Eastman School of Music (Master of Music) with Natalya Antonova and Northwestern University (Bachelor of Music) with James Giles.
Miki's non-musical loves include camping, backpacking/hiking, trail running, reading, writing, and horses. Her writing has been featured in Clavier Companion magazine; she has been a foster mom to many dogs.