LAKERS TOGETHER: Grand Valley is preparing for successful learning experiences when classes resume on Aug. 31. Learn more about the plan for fall in this handbook.
Pianist Mika Sasaki has established herself as a sought-after soloist, chamber musician, and emerging educator. Since her concerto debut with the Sinfonia of Cambridge (U.K.) at age seven, she appeared twice with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, and more recently with the 92Y Orchestra in New York City. She has performed at venues including the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie, Steinway Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Peter J. Sharp Theater, Palazzo Chigi Saracini (Italy), Minato Mirai Hall (Japan), Tokyo Bunka Kaikan (Japan), Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood, and live on WQXR radio. Her solo debut album “Obsidian: Mika Sasaki plays Clara Schumann” was released on Yarlung Records in 2016, highly acclaimed by the Online Merker as “illuminat[ing] the artistic inspiration and creative exchange between these three Romantic souls,” Clara Schumann, Robert Schumann, and Johannes Brahms.
A versatile pianist praised for her musicianship, Mika regularly appears at Carnegie Hall, the Juilliard School, and in various community venues and schools in New York City as a pianist of Ensemble Connect—a fellowship program of Carnegie Hall, Juilliard, and the Weill Institute in partnership with the NYC Department of Education, focusing on chamber music performance, teaching artistry, and entrepreneurship. As a soloist and chamber musician, she has been invited to festivals such as Music@Menlo, piano Sonoma, Accademia Musicale Chigiana (Italy), Taos, Icicle Creek, Yellow Barn, Mannes Beethoven Institute, Aspen and Estherwood (U.K.). She was a Leonard Bernstein Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, where her interpretation of Schubert’s Grand Duo for four hands was hailed as a “colorful reading of the work … [with] nuance and sensitivity to Schubert’s music.” (Boston Musical Intelligencer). She taught and performed as Artist Faculty at the Rushmore Music Festival in South Dakota and the Danbury Music Centre’s Chamber Music Intensive in Connecticut this summer.
An avid proponent of new music, Mika frequently collaborates with composers of her generation, whose pieces she has recorded and premiered. She has also worked with John Harbison, Jonathan Dawe, Robert Sirota, Peter Serkin, John Heiss, Michael Hersch, Justin Dello Joio, David Smooke, James Matheson, and Steve Drury. In New York City, she was featured in Milton Babbitt’s centennial celebrations at the Focus! Festival in Lincoln Center and at Spectrum in 2016, and appeared in contemporary programs at the Festival of Contemporary Music at Tanglewood, National Sawdust, Roulette, New York City Ballet Choreographic Institute, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Metropolis Ensemble. Most recently, she collaborated with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw in the world and NY premieres of Stucco & Brocatelle, commissioned by Carnegie Hall.
Born in Atlanta, Mika grew up in Demarest, New Jersey, and began her studies with Olegna Fuschi at the Juilliard Pre-College at the age of seven. After moving to Tokyo, Japan, in 2001 with her family, she returned to the U.S. to study with Benjamin Pasternack at the Peabody Conservatory, where she was a recipient of several honorary awards in piano and chamber music during the five-year BM/MM program. She is currently completing her doctoral studies as a C. V. Starr Fellow at the Juilliard School, where she teaches piano and keyboard skills in the Evening Division, and Piano Topics in the College Division. As part of her fellowship with Ensemble Connect, she also works with middle school students at I.S. 025 in Queens. mikasasaki.com.