The South Haven Performance Series eagerly anticipates the arrival of internationally renowned pianist and former South Haven public school student Ikuyo Nakamichi. She will perform on Sunday, August 5, at 4:00 PM in Listiak Auditorium. A reception will follow the concert.
Nakamichi began her studies in Japan and, upon moving to South Haven during her middle school years, continued her studies with Dr. Phyllis Rappaport of Western Michigan University. After returning to Japan, she graduated high school and entered the Toho Gakuen School of Music. In her freshman year there she attracted attention when she won the first prize and the Masuzawa Prize at the 51st Annual Japan Music Competition.
This success led her to Munich where she studied on a Japanese scholarship. While in Munich, Nakamichi took top prizes in several competitions including the Mendelssohn Competition in Berlin. Thus began her performing activity in Europe.
Nakamichi, with a broad repertoire ranging from Classical to Romantic, subsequently performed with many leading orchestras including the London Mozart Players under Gunter Pichler, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra under Lorin Maazel, the English Chamber Orchestra under Pinchas Zuckerman and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra under Heinrich Schiff. She gave her debut recital in Carnegie Hall in 1999.
In the chamber music field, Nakamichi has collaborated with such renowned ensembles as the Hagen String Quartet, the Shostakovich Spring Quartet and the Berlin Philharmonic Octet. Her duo performances with clarinetist Richard Stoltzman and with violinist Josef Suk have won great critical acclaim.
After performing on European and US tours with Japanese Orchestras, Nakamichi received high praise from local reviewers who said, “The harmony between her outstanding technique and graceful, poetic sensibility was highly impressive” and “Her clear and bold grasp of the music were magnificent throughout.”
In 2002, Nakamichi undertook the momentous task of performing the complete Beethoven sonatas as well as explaining, analyzing and discussing them. For these performances, she was hailed as “the pianist of today who comes closest to the genuine beauty of Beethoven’s sonatas.” In addition, she has given a series of chamber concerts under the title “Ikuyo Nakamichi’s Beethoven Cycle.”
Besides her in-depth study of Beethoven, Nakamichi has intensely studied Chopin and Mozart. Her innovative nature has led to musical projects which incorporate theatrical performances.
With the desire to give children the gift of music, Nakamichi has embarked on a series of mini-concerts, including slides, which have become very popular. Out of a desire to “do what I can as a pianist and a human being, little by little,” she has been giving hospital and charity concerts. The humanity she brings to these wide-ranging projects has won her ever more fans.
Nakamichi conveys the joy of music in rich and varied ways. She is the author of several books about music including “Out of the Stage Lights,” has appeared frequently on radio and TV and contributes to newspapers and magazines. She holds an exclusive recording contract with Sony Music Japan International.
Admission to the concert is $10. Students are admitted free. There are no advance ticket sales. Doors will open 30 minutes before the performance.
The summer portion of the Series will conclude on Friday, August 31, with a concert by Grammy winner Rhonda Larson, flute, with backup musicians from her band, Ventus. Born and raised in the mountains of Montana, Larson entered the national music scene by winning first prize in the National Flute Association’s Young Artist Competition at the age of 22. Composing much of her own music, Larson’s visionary force showcases her gold flute and an array of ethnic flutes in a new and refreshing light.
Performances are provided thanks to the generous support of the South Haven Community Foundation, corporate sponsors and individual donors. A modest $10 admission is charged for the summer concerts while the holiday concert is presented free of charge as a gift to the community. Students are always admitted free.