Yumi Okazaki, Pianist
Yumi Okazaki started dedicated piano studies under the direction of Sakae Hatori at the age of 13. She studied at Tokyo University of Arts with Professor Emeritus Yasuko Tani, earning Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees in piano.
In 1983, the Hungarian government awarded Yumi a scholarship with high distinction for studying at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Budapest, where she studied under Kornel Zempleni and Sandor Falvay, as well as Zoltan Kocsis, Oxana Jablonskaja, and George Sebők in the master classes.
Upon returning to Japan, Yumi embarked on a series of nationwide solo piano recitals and concerts with prestigious orchestras such as the Tokyo Philharmonic, the Nagoya Philharmonic, and the Kyushu Philharmonic, enthralling audiences with for her subtle yet powerful musical expression.
In 1986, Yumi won first place in the piano division at the the 5th Annual Music Competition in Iizuka sponsored by the Asahi Shimbun Company, winning the Grand Prix and the Minister’s Award from Japan’s Ministry of Education,
In 1989, Yumi released her debut CD from King Records, and her follow-up CD from Sony Records. With her elegant performance style, Yumi has been in demand at European couture houses for shows and events, as well as special events in other industries. Yumi also displayed her talent as an announcer for many Japanese network TV and radio stations such as TV Asahi, NHK E-TV, NHK-BS2, Radio Nippon, and TV Tokyo, which cover travel, fashion and music.
In 2003, Yumi signed with Sony Music Artists, and in 2004 her popularity grew with her unique concerts for preschool children and expectant mothers entitled, ‘Wakodo Presents: Yumi Okazaki’s Family Concert.’ She also published a book accompanied with a CD, ‘Listening to Classical Music Fosters Healthy Children (Kurashikku wo kiku to yoi ko ga sodatsu),’ and launched a series of classical music concerts to provide a positive influence on raising healthy children.
Yumi has expanded her repertoire beyond classical music by collaborating with a popular Japanese vocalist, Miki Asakura, with whom Yumi has performed at dinner shows and luxury cruise parties.
In 2007 she studied modern and jazz music and composition in the United States, and upon her return to Japan in 2009, she held a recital at Kioi Hall with the program including the vocal and jazz piano pieces. In 2011, Yumi performed at the ‘Save Japan’ concerts in Istabul and Tokyo, as well as a special concert with the Kurashiki Orchestra commemorating the 10th anniversary of Kaheita Okazaki Memorial Hall, named in honor of Yumi’s grandfather.
In 2013, Yumi performed at a charity concert for ‘Sailors for the Sea,’ an international non- profit organization under the leadership of David Rockefeller Jr. Later that year, Yumi performed another solo recital at Kioi Hall which was lauded by the critics as having a ‘delicate power of expression’. In 2014, under sponsorship of the Sailors for the Sea, she held a recital at the JT Art Hall Affinis featuring musical pieces on the sea. She also had solo recitals from 2014 to 2016 at JT Art Hall Affinis. Yumi organized the first Design K International Piano Competition in 2014 and has also served as a member of jury.
Since 2016 Yumi has performed at “ Yumi Okazaki Music Time Line” with Tokyo Universal Philharmonic Orchestra in junior and senior high schools all aver Japan. In the fall of 2017,
She played in Kibi Central Music Festival. In 2018, Yumi performed at the 120th Anniversary of Kaheita Okazaki’s Birth / the 40th Anniversary of the Japan- China Treaty of Peace and Friendship.
Held Beethoven program recitals in Tokyo, New York and Los Angeles in July 2019. The Tokyo recital was sold out, and the Carnegie Hall performance was very well received by local audiences. Joining the recitals was Alexander Ishizuka-Hobbs, a young spirited violinist who performed Violin Sonata No.9 “ Kreutzer”.
Yumi is a committee member of the Sony Foundation of Education, a member of the Japan Federation of Musicians and the Piano Teachers’ National Association of Japan, and an advisor for the Kids Earth Foundation.