Miki Sawada is a musician who is free-spirited in her pursuit of adventure while showing deep commitment to fully realize classical music’s capacity to nurture community and civil society. Currently she is preparing a three-week solo tour in Alaska in the upcoming summer 2017, driving and camping with a piano in a truck. Accompanied by a documentary filmmaker, she will attempt to capture the essence of Alaskan communities as well as to contribute to them through classical music performance.
Most recently, Miki performed as the pianist of Lincoln Center Stage, an initiative by Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts which presents world class chamber music on board Holland America Line’s cruise ships. Miki’s performances have been featured at venues and occasions such as: Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Helsinki Music Centre, the Oneppo Chamber Music Series at Yale, Toronto Summer Music Festival, Aurora Music Festival (Sweden), Music on Main (Vancouver), Chicago Symphony Center’s Macy’s Day of Music, the Banff Centre, Spectrum NYC, New Music New Haven, PianoFest in the Hamptons, Art Base (Brussels), Moulin d’Andé (France), and radio stations WQXR (NYC) and WFMT (Chicago). In the summers, she teaches and performs as a faculty member of Point CounterPoint and Catskill High Peaks Festival.
Thirsty for music beyond standard repertoire and the standard modern piano, Miki has pursued historical performance and contemporary music performance with equal commitment and passion. She won the Yale chamber music competition by performing Beethoven on fortepiano, and has appeared as a concerto soloist playing Bach on harpsichord. She has championed the works of her composer-peers, and numerous solo pieces have been dedicated to and premiered by Miki. She is in high demand in contemporary music ensembles, and can be heard on numerous recordings of premieres as part of Atlantic Music Festival’s Contemporary Ensemble, Norfolk Contemporary Ensemble, New Music New Haven, and Transfer Is Available. In total, she has premiered more than forty works of new music.
As an educator and thinker, Miki finds ways to connect people with the power of classical music offstage. Miki was a resident musician and founder of the piano program at Music Haven, an organization that seeks to empower youth by providing mentoring and tuition-free music education to students from underserved communities in New Haven. Miki is also the director of NewMusic4us, a project through which young and emerging composers write beginner-level chamber music pieces for young students, with the goal of connecting composers and young students so as to re-evaluate our attitudes toward contemporary music and music education.
Miki received her formal training in solo piano performance. She received training at Yale School of Music (Artist Diploma) with Wei-Yi Yang, Eastman School of Music (Master of Music) with Natalya Antonova and Northwestern University (Bachelor of Music) with James Giles.
Miki’s non-musical loves include camping, backpacking/hiking, trail running, reading, writing, and horses. Her writing has been featured in Clavier Companion magazine; she has been a foster mom to many dogs.