AKIKO SASAKI BIO
Akiko Sasaki has been teaching piano for eighteen years. She began playing piano at the age of five. She received her undergraduate degree in classical piano performance from the University of Denver under the instruction of Alice Rybak. Her success in Colorado led her to study abroad in London, at the Guildhall School of Music with one of England's foremost pedagogues, Benjamin Kaplan. Akiko continued her studies at the Manhattan School of Music where she received her Masters degree in classical piano performance, in the studio of Jeffrey Cohen. Since graduating, Akiko continued her studies in New York City with esteemed piano instructors Miyoko Lotto and Jose Ramon-Mendez at the New York University, and Julian Martin at the Juilliard School.
Akiko has collaborated with many prominent artists from around the world, including artists from the Metropolitan Opera, the Harlem Quartet and the Grammy Award winning Pacifica Quartet. Akiko has appeared as a soloist and a chamber artist throughout Europe and the United States, including venues such as Merkin Hall, WQXR's Green Space, Roulette, The Newman Center of Performing Arts, Chandler Center for the Arts, and as a winner of New York City’s Artist International competition, she gave her solo debut concert at Carnegie Hall in 2006. Sasaki is also a winner of the Lamont Concerto Competition and Notes at Nine Thousand Emerging Artist competition. Other distinguished accomplishments include winning the Allied Arts Music Award, the Bernstein Crossman Piano Award, the New York City Distinguished Artist Award presented by Mu Phi Epsilon, a selected artist for Frederic Chiu’s Deeper Piano Studies, and a 2014 winner of the Bettylou Scandling Hubin Award for World Music.
Akiko has found great fulfillment in teaching and has studied piano pedagogy with Carolyn Shaak, one of the leading piano teachers in the United States. In addition to to maintaining the Forte>Piano Studio in NYC and the Hudson Valley, Akiko's passion and devotion to music education led her to endeavor music programs to help students find creativity and gain performing experience. Akiko is the founder, factuly, and Artistic Director of the Lyra Music Festival and Workshop at Smith College in Northampton, MA. She revived and curates the Classics for Kids Concert series in Beacon, NY. She is also a founding member of Brooklyn's Musical Explorers and Performing Pianists of New York. Akiko is a member of the Associated Music Teachers League, Mu Phi Epsilon, Music Teachers National Association, New York State Music Teachers Association, and the Hudson-Catskill Music Teachers Association.
Students of Akiko have been admitted to the Manhattan School of Music Precollege Division, Mannes School of Music Precollege Division, and LaGuardia High School of performing Arts. Akiko is a former faculty member of the Kauffman Center's Lucy Moses School, New York City's public school for musically gifted children. In the past, she has also taught at Larchmont Music Academy, Merit Music, Mott Hall Middle School, and Florentine Yamaha School of Music. With her experience of working with diverse students of all ages, Akiko has learned to adjust to each students needs and strengths. Her lessons are creative and fun, while being focused on ear-development and proper technique.
"Akiko has transformed my children musically. They don't simply play better; they understand music and musicianship on a deep and dedicated level. I see it in the way their hands move on the keyboard, I see it in the level of confidence they exude when tackling a new piece of music and then there's the hearing it part! Akiko is a gifted, patient, but also highly demanding teacher. She sets lofty goals for the children and helps them get there."
-Mary Kay, parent