One of America’s dynamic young concert artists, pianist Grace Nikae has been earning broad international recognition for her musical artistry since her debut at age eight as soloist with the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra and her news making solo recital debut at age thirteen in Kagoshima City, Japan. Hailed for her “poetic and fiery” playing and for her performances of “superb technique and powerful expressiveness”, Ms. Nikae has captivated audiences in North America, Europe, and Asia.
A prizewinner and the highest-ranking American at the 1998 Ibla International Piano Competition in Italy, Ms. Nikae also won the 2000 Artists International Auditions, and was presented in her solo recital debut at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in 2001 to critical acclaim. New York Concert Review described her as “…a musician able to summon a wonderful modicum of harmonic tension, musical lyricism and architectural coherence…”. Most recently, she received the first prize in piano in the 2002 Sorantin Young Artist International Music Competition. Ms. Nikae’s numerous other awards and prizes include the prestigious 1995 Sterling Scholar Award in Music, the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra Scholarship Competition, the Morning Music Club Scholarship Competition, the Mark Nevin Young Piano Scholarship Award, as well as the Paderewski Medal and the Cliburn Family and Liberace Memorial Scholarships from the National Guild of Piano Teachers.
As a soloist, Ms. Nikae’s extensive recital career has taken her to Canada, Hawaii, Italy, Holland, Spain, Japan, and throughout the United States, including performances at the 1996 National Book Awards Gala Ceremony, as resident pianist at the 1997 Viking Music Festival, at The Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC, at the Trinity Church Noonday Concert Series in New York, and at the Muskoka Lakes and Silver Bay Music Festivals. With the concerti of Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Chopin, and Rachmaninoff, she has appeared as soloist with the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra, Kagoshima Philharmonic (Japan), and on tour with the Iolani Concert Orchestra, including a 1995 performance at Carnegie Hall. As an active chamber musician, she has collaborated with the Isadora Duncan Dance Company in New York City, as well as with members of the Boston, Toronto, Harrisburg and Hartford Symphony Orchestras, and the Beijing Women’s Orchestra. In the 2001-2002 season, she completed two highly successful solo recital tours and masterclasses throughout southern Japan, as well as a performance of the Rachmaninoff First Piano Concerto, of which the Ohshima newspaper wrote, “The audience was carried along by a performance that ranged from the softest, most delicate and dreamy sounds to exciting lion-like roars that shook the piano.” Ms. Nikae’s 2002-03 season included solo and chamber music performances as well as masterclasses in New York City, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, Hawaii, and a solo tour in Japan. Her 2004 season includes major solo and chamber engagements throughout Holland, Spain, Finland, Switzerland, and New York as well as her solo recital debut at the Chicago Cultural Center, broadcast live on WFMT-FM Radio and Channel 25 TV, Chicago.
In New York City, Ms. Nikae was an active educator, and maintained a private studio and was on faculty at The Trinity School in Manhattan. She is also the founder and artistic director of The Renaissance Academy in Hawaii, a non-profit educational organization dedicated to providing academic and artistic enrichment, and to expanding the educational and cultural possibilities of the Hawaii community. She has studied and played for such esteemed artists as Constance Keene, Robert Shannon, Li Mingqiang, Ronald Turini, Robert McDonald, Oleh Krysa, Jeffrey Solow, William Purvis, Phillip Kawin, and Vladimir Feltsman. Her teachers include Martin Canin of The Juilliard School, Dr. Brandt Fredriksen of Manhattan School of Music, and the legendary Alexander Slobodyanik. Ms. Nikae is currently based both in New York City and The Netherlands. For more information, please visit her website at: www.gracenikae.com .