Japanese pianist Akira Wakabayashi is one of Japan’s prominent virtuosos, highly acclaimed around the globe. He is known for his extraordinary technique, and dynamic expression even comparable to an orchestra.

Akira Wakabayashi studied under Hiroshi Tamura at The Tokyo University of Arts, and Hans Leygraf at the Mozarteum Academy in Salzburg and Universität der Künste Berlin. He won the second prize in the piano category at the 51st Music Competition of Japan in 1982. He received the second prize at the 37th Busoni International Piano Competition in 1985. In 1987, when he was only 22 years old, he was awarded the second prize at Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition, which has thrown him into the public limelight.

Since then, he has been very active giving concerts and recitals throughout the country. He performs with number of orchestras within Japan and overseas. He gave his acclaimed New York recital debut at Carnegie Hall (Weill Recital Hall) in 2002. He has achieved immense successes in Music Toronto’s Chamber Music Series in Canada and in the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series in Chicago, for which he has been re-invited. Other appearances include the performances at “la Folle Journee” de Nantes festival in France, and in the Amorina Piano Recital Series in Stockholm. He has steadily broadened his scope and gave master classes at “Royal Northern College of Music” in Manchester, UK. The orchestras he has collaborated with include the major Japanese orchestras for example NHK Symphony Orchestra, and renowned overseas orchestras such as The Berliner Symphoniker, St.Petersburg Academic Symphony Orchestra, Russian National Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra, the Limburg Symphony Orchestra, The Pasdeloup Orchestra, and Scottish Chamber Orchestra. He has also worked with many notable conductors. They include Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Gerd Albrecht, Alexander Lazarev, Daniel Harding, Osmo Vänskä, Vladimir Spivakov, Gerhard Bosse, and Hartmut Haenchen.

In the chamber music field, Wakabayashi has jointly performed with a number of Japanese and overseas distinguished musicians including Kolja Blacher, Steven Issarlis, Tsuyoshi Tsustumi, Karl Leister, Francois Leleus, Radek Baborak, Leipzig String Quartet, and Vienna Octet. His performances in this field with these musicians are always appealing. His recent concerto performances, where he plays his instrument as well as takes the role of conductor, have been receiving a great attention. In late years, he has also done a number of collaborations with Rieko Suzuki, violinist and his wife; their performances conveying their deep insights into the music are highly appraised for their artistry.

Wakabayashi’s works have been released on various labels such as Denon, Live Notes, and Octavia to date. In the spring of 2013, he and Rieko Suzuki have jointly released “Brahms: Violin Sonatas No. 1, 2, and 3,” (King International label), “Schubertiana”,“Mozart Violin Sonatas Vol.1” (Octavia Records). As a soloist, he has released “Rachmaninov: Piano Sonata No.2, Preludes” in the autumn of 2013, “Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Nos. 8, 14, 23 Fur Elise” in January, 2014, “The Nutcracker Edition fpr piano by Tchaikovsky” in November, 2014,“Liszt Piano Works” in June,2015 (Octavia Records). Four solo albums were selected as “Highly Recommended Discs” in the magazine “Record Geijyutsu” (‘The Art of Records’) .

His solo recital in January 2014 at the main hall of the Suntory Hall was a big success and received great responses. It went on air in the “Best of Classic” program of NHK FM.

Akira Wakabayashi keeps pursuing quality sounds for his ideal music he images in his mind. He does so intensely for: refining his expressions, like “Espressivo (expressively)” and “Cantabile (in a smooth, lyrical, flowing as you sing a song,)” which require some extra caliber since piano is not suitable for sustaining drones; seeking a way to express, for instance, “an explosive fracture” with piano, which only a large size orchestra group could do seemingly; and creating sounds so that each of them, even the faintest one, could have a universe within. Only a true virtuoso can achieve rich and profound musical expressions with a full array of sophisticated sounds.

He has received the Idemitsu Award in 1992, the Mobil Award (Incentive Award) in 1998, and Hotel Okura Music Award in 2004. Currently, he is a special-appointment professor of Toho Gakuen School of Music, a professor on the faculty of music of Kunitachi College of Music, and Coaching Faculty of Suntory Hall Chamber Music Academy.

Official HP of Akira Wakabayashi: http//www. Wakabayashi-akira.com


若林 顕(ピアノ)Akira Wakabayashi, Piano

常人離れした技巧。オーケストラに匹敵する表現力。 世界に飛翔する、日本を代表するヴィルトゥオーゾ・ピアニスト

 東京芸術大学で田村宏氏に、さらにザルツブルク・モーツァルテウムやベルリン芸術大学でハンス・ライグラフ氏らに学んだ若林は、1982年第51回日本音楽コンクールピアノ部門第2位。 1985年、第37回ブゾーニ国際ピアノ コンクール第2位入賞。さらに1987年には弱冠22歳でエリーザベト王妃国際コンクール第2位受賞の壮挙を果たし、一躍脚光を浴びた。

 その後、国内外の多数のオーケストラとの共演や全国各地でのリサイタルなど、多忙な演奏活動を展開している。2002年にニューヨーク・カーネギーホール(ワイル・リサイタル・ホール)で鮮烈なリサイタル・デビューを果たし、カナダ・トロントにおけるMusic Toronto Chamber Music Seriesやシカゴでのマ イラヘス=リサイタル・シリーズにて大成功を収めて再招聘されるほか、フランス・ナントにおける音楽祭『ラ・フォル・ジュルネ』、ストックホルムにおけるアモリナ・リサイタルシリーズなどにも出演。また、英国マンチェスターの「ノーザン・カレッジ・オブ・ミュージック」でマスタークラスを行うなど、活動領域を着実に拡大している。共演したオーケストラは、NHK交響楽団をはじめとする国内の主要なオーケストラのほか、ベルリン交響楽団、サンクトペテルブルク交響楽団、ロシア・ナショナル交響楽団、エーテボリ交響楽団、ノールショピング交響楽団、リンブルク交響楽団、パドゥルー管弦楽団、スコットランド室内管弦楽団といった海外の名門オーケストラも多数。その中には、ゲンナジー・ロジェストヴェンスキー、ゲルト・アルブレヒト、アレクサンドル・ラザレフ、ダニエル・ハーディング、オスモ・ヴァンスカ、ウラディーミル・スピヴァコフ、ゲルハルト・ボッセ、ヘルムート・ヘンヒェンといった名指揮者との共演も多い。



2014年1月には、サントリーホール(大ホール)でソロ・リサイタルを行い、大きな反響を得た。その模様はNHK-FM「ベスト・オブ・クラシック」でも放送された。 持続音を保持できない特性を持つピアノで、ピアノの限界を超えた“エスプレッシーヴォ(表情豊かに)”や“カンタービレ(歌うように)”を表現するために、あるいは巨大なオーケストラのみに可能な真の爆裂を表現するために、そしてどんな微かな音にも宇宙を宿すために、若林顕はひたすら理想の音楽を思い描き、音を追究する。多彩で深い音色、豊かで奥行きのある音楽表現は真のヴィルトゥオーゾのみが紡ぎだせるものである。

 1992年出光音楽賞、1998年モービル音楽賞奨励賞、2004年ホテルオークラ賞受賞。 現在、桐朋学園大学特任教授、国立音楽大学招聘教授、サントリーホール室内楽アカデミー・コーチング・ファカルティ。

オフィシャルHP http://www.wakabayashi-akira.com/