Known for her verve and sensitivity, Japanese pianist Futaba Niekawa pushes the boundaries of her artistry as a soloist and collaborative pianist across genres and disciplines. She has performed throughout the United States, Canada, England, Spain, Taiwan, and Japan and to date has released five recordings (PARMA Recordings, Petrichor Records), and her live performances have been recorded for radio broadcast.
In demand as a collaborative pianist, Niekawa has performed with Atar Arad, James Campbell, Charles Castleman, Gabriele Ragghianti, and the members of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, among others. She has been engaged as a collaborative pianist at the Banff Centre, New England Conservatory, Meadowmount School of Music, and the IU Summer String Academy. Praised as “a beautifully balanced duo” by Gramophone Magazine, Niekawa’s long-term duo partnership with violinist Kerry DuWors, duo526, has led to numerous performances, recordings, and artist residencies at the Banff Centre and Avaloch Farm Music Institute. Niekawa’s passion for multi-disciplinary collaboration and performing music of her generation have developed into artistic partnerships with composers, dancers, poets, and visual artists. In her leisure time, she improvises.
Niekawa is currently a Lecturer in Music (Chamber and Collaborative Music) at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. Her dedication to pedagogy, mentoring, and performance practice is shown through workshops at duo526’s annual Sonata Seminar, and invitations as a guest teacher at universities across North America.
“Having done both undergraduate and doctoral degrees at Eastman (BM 05’ and DMA 13’), almost half of my adult life is indebted to and wonderfully influenced by my time there. I am thankful for the excellent performance standards and high academic expectations, which trained me in the kind of disciplines that I have called upon in the professional world. However, the best takeaway is the open Eastman spirit and its inviting community. I was and still am constantly inspired by my peers with curiosity, humility, and boundless creativity. I have met friends, collaborators, and mentors for life, and I sincerely think of each of their influences in my musical life very often!”