Maki Namekawa studied piano at Kunitachi College of Music in Tokyo with professors Mikio Ikezawa and Henriette Puig-Roget. In 1994 she won the Leonid Kreutzer Prize in Japan. In 1995 she continued her studies with Werner Genuit and Kaya Han at Karlsruhe School of Music, where she completed her diploma as a soloist with special distinction. She then went on to perfect her artistry in Classical-Romantic repertoire with Edith Picht-Axenfeld, and in contemporary music with Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Cologne Musikhochschule), György Kurtág, Stefan Litwin, and Florent Boffard. She makes regular appearances at major international venues including Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York City, Cité de la Musique in Paris, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and Salzburg Festival. Namekawa has concertized with renowned ensembles such as the Royal Concertgebouw Orkest Amsterdam, the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, the Bamberg Symphony, the Dresden Philharmonic, and Bruckner Orchestra in Linz (Austria). With the participation of Philip Glass, she performed the world premiere of his entire cycle of 20 Etudes in 2013 at the International Arts Festival in Perth, followed by a number of further concerts worldwide. In 2019 she performed the world premiere of Glass’s Piano Sonata, commissioned by the Festival. Maki Namekawa gave her very first performance at the Ruhr Piano Festival in 2002, participating in George Antheil’s Ballet Mécanique under the baton of Dennis Russell Davies.
Dennis Russell Davies and Maki Namekawa met for the first time at the Ruhr Piano Festival in 2002. Then, in 2003, after the resounding success of their joint performance at the Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, they decided to start appearing regularly as a piano duo. In the US they have guested in New York City, San Francisco, and other major cities. In Europe they have performed at a great number of events, including the Rheingau Festival (Germany), Klangspuren (Austria), and the Transart Festival (Italy). They also make regular appearances at the Ruhr Piano Festival. In 2008, on the occasion of the Ruhr Piano Festival’s 20th anniversary, the audience acclaimed their world premiere performance of Philip Glass’s Four Movements for Two Pianos, commissioned by the Festival. The American premiere thereof took place in 2009 at Lincoln Center Festival. In 2013 they teamed up with Katia and Marielle Labèque to present the world première of Glass’s Two Movements for Four Pianos, another Festival commission. In 2017 the annual Ruhr Piano Festival Prize was jointly awarded to Maki Namekawa, Dennis Russell Davies, and Philip Glass, three artists who have cultivated a fruitful friendship with the Festival for many years.
Their recording of Alexander Zemlinsky’s arrangement of The Magic Flute for piano four hands was first published as part of the Edition Klavier-Festival Ruhr in 2006: the music press promptly acclaimed this world premiere release. Two further releases followed in 2007 and 2009: Zemlinsky’s arrangement of Beethoven’s Fidelio (Vol. 16), and the boxed set American Piano Music (Vol. 21) with works by Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland and Philip Glass. In 2010 the duo recorded Zemlinsky’s four-hand arrangements of Haydn’s oratorios The Seasons and The Creation as Vol. 24 of the Edition Klavier-Festival Ruhr.
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