DR. AKIKO KONISHI received her early training in Philadelphia and Los Angeles, and subsequently completed her undergraduate studies at Rice University as a double major in Music and English. She continued her graduate studies at Yale University and University of Houston, under the guidance of renowned pianists Peter Frankl and Abbey Simon. She has appeared as soloist with the Shepherd School Symphony (Rice University), D'Angelo Competition Orchestra, Oakland Symphony, Rio Hondo Symphony (California), Symphony North Houston, and the Chicago Federation of Musicians Orchestra, and performs extensively in guest artist venues across the United States. As an active chamber musician, she has performed with members of the Houston Symphony in the Channing Chamber Series, and recently toured Italy and Bulgaria as a winner of the Mercadante International Chamber Music Competition. Her performances have been broadcast on Houston Public Radio’s “The Front Row,” and Italian National TV (RAI). Additional honors include finalist prizes in the Ima Hogg Houston Symphony Concerto Competition and the F. Awerbuch International Piano Competition (New York), as well asgrand prizes in the Entergy Young Texas Artist Competition and the Rio Hondo Symphony Concerto Competition.
During the past seasons, she has appeared in a guest artist recital at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and with the Triton College Orchestra (Rachmaninoff Second Piano Concerto). Other engagements included repeat performances with the Chicago Federation of Musicians Orchestra (Schumann and Grieg Piano Concertos). In addition to her work with instrumentalists, she has collaborated with vocalists through the Yale Opera Program, and, since the summer of 2013, has been on the chamber music faculty of the Chautauqua Institute in New York. Her upcoming engagements include a concerto performance of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with the Triton Jazz Ensemble in May 2017.
Akiko currently teaches Applied Piano, Chamber Music, and Ear Training courses at Triton College in River Grove, IL. She is also a member of the piano faculty at the Music Institute of Chicago. Her students have won numerous awards, most recently in the American Protégé International Competition (New York), the Musichorale Scholarship Competition (Chicago), and the Roberta Savler Memorial Contest (Chicago). A member of the Chicago Area Music Teachers Association since 2014, she will complete her proposal this year on “Piano Transcriptions of the Romantic Era” as a national recipient of the 2016-2017 MTNA Professional Development Grant.
Sofi is completing her sophomore year at Walter Payton College Prep, and she attended Rogers Park Montessori School through 8th grade. She has been studying classical piano since the age of 7, and has competed in competitions such as Roberta Savler and the Sonatina Festival. Sofi has also been a reading tutor for younger children this winter at Jenner Elementary school. She is an avid volleyball player, playing year-round club volleyball.
A Junior at Northside College Preparatory High School, Ben has studied classical piano for ten years. He has won awards for his piano performances and is a performing member of NCP’s elite Jazz Band program. Ben also combines his classical training with his love of pop music to create piano covers of current artists’ hits, earning him a spot in an MTV advertisement featuring his piano cover of Machine Gun Kelly’s “At My Best.” Ben is a Montessori graduate with experience assisting preschool and elementary-aged children in the classroom and spent his last three summers as a big brother at his Wisconsin Northwoods sleepaway camp.