Called “Pianistic fire” by the Charleston Post, Japanese pianist Yoshikazu Nagai has impressed audiences and critics alike with his fresh interpretations and dramatic presentation style across North America and abroad. Equally at home as both soloist and chamber musician, Mr. Nagai has performed internationally in such venues as the National Recital Hall in Taiwan, Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall in Canada, Castello de Donna Fugato in Italy, the John F. Kennedy Center, Seattle’s Benaroya Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, Carnegie Recital Hall in New York and with orchestras across the country. His extensive recital schedules in recent seasons have included acclaimed recitals in Taipei, Hong Kong, Italy, San Francisco, San Antonio, New York, Fort Worth, Seattle, Cleveland, Houston, Santa Barbara, Washington D.C., and New Orleans among others.
Mr. Nagai has also appeared at the Aspen Music Festival, the Sarasota Music Festival, Music Academy of the West, Spoleto Music Festival, Eastern Music Festival, the Philips Collection, and the International Piano Series in Charleston, South Carolina. In addition, his performances have been broadcast on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today”, RTHK4 (Hong Kong National Radio), RAI (Italian National TV), Interlochen Public Radio, KUHF-Houston, KBYU-Salt Lake City, WCLV-Cleveland, and worldwide over the internet.
Yoshikazu Nagai was born in Landstuhl, Germany, and grew up in Kent, Washington, where he began his musical studies at the age of eight. Since that time, Mr. Nagai has been a laureate of several international competitions, most recently capturing first prize at the 2002 Washington International Piano Competition and the Liszt Special Mention Prize in the 2002 IBLA Grand Prize International Piano Competition held in Italy. His other accolades include major prizewinner of the Concert Artists Guild International Music Competition (inaugural SVCCS performance prize), San Antonio International Piano Competition, Missouri Southern International Piano Competition, and the New Orleans International Piano Competition.
Mr. Nagai is on the piano and chamber music faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music as Professor of Piano and Chamber Music. He is also resident piano faculty at the Eastern Music Festival and School in Greensboro, North Carolina, and summer piano faculty at the Beijing International Music Festival and Academy, held at Central Conservatory in Beijing, China. Mr. Nagai is honored in the Who’s Who Among America’s Teacher’s and has been recognized by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (NFAA) for excellence in teaching. He frequently serves as juror and guest artist throughout the United States and Asia including recent masterclasses at the Shanghai Conservatory, Oberlin Conservatory, Lynn Univeristy, Lawrence Conservatory, and in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Mr. Nagai is former faculty at the Interlochen Arts Academy where he taught piano, chamber music and piano literature for eight years.
Students of Yoshikazu Nagai have gone on to some of the nation’s top universities and conservatories including Julliard, Curtis, Eastman, Manhattan School of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music, Oberlin Conservatory, San Francisco Conservatory, Colburn School of Music, University of Southern California, Berkley College, University of Michigan, Lawrence University, Indiana University, University of Maryland and Harvard University. Current and former students are top prizewinners of national and international competitions such as the 2007 Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition, 2006 Kosciusko Chopin Foundation Competition, 2005 Viardo International Piano Competition, Fort Collins Symphony Young Artists Competition, MTNA National Yamaha Piano Competition, International Institute for Young Musicians International Piano Competition, Lennox International Young Artists Piano Competition, Pinault International Piano Competition, Missouri Southern International Piano Competition, New York Piano Competition and bronze medalists at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.
Mr. Nagai studied with John Perry at Rice University and received his Master of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music where he was awarded the Malvina Podis Prize in Piano upon graduation with Paul Schenly. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Music degree from the University of Puget Sound where he studied with Duane Hulbert. Other teachers include Jerome Lowenthal, and Sergei Babyan.