Azumi Nishizawa, pianist
Born in Tokyo in Japan, Azumi Nishizawa is at this time considered one of the finest Japanese pianists. She studied with Michiko Okamoto and Ikuyo Kamiya at the Toho Gakuen Conservatory of Music in Tokyo, and was subsequently selected as an outstanding pupil by the famous French pianist and pedagog Dominique Merlet at the Geneva Conservatory, where she won First Prize for Virtuosity. During that period, she won many international competitions in Japan and Europe. She began her solo career in 2002 offering concerts in the main music halls in France, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Japan and China.
In addition to several Japanese tours, she is a regular guest at a number of international music festivals including the Societe des Artes in Geneva (Switzerland), the International Chopin Festival en Paris, the Kyoto Music Festival, the Spring Music Festival in Vicenza, Summer Classics in Madrid, the Torreciudad Festival in Huesca, Encuertros Manuel De Falla in Granada, Music Festival in Jaen, and International Music and Dance Festival of Ubeda.
She has in parallel taken an interest in the performance of chamber music, playing among others with the Suisse Romande Orchestra’s leaders the Suisse Romande Wind Quintet’, the Cuarteto Assai string quartet and musicians of international standing such as the Portuguese trumpeter Jorge Almeida and the Japanese saxophonist Nobuya Sugawa, with whom she has played, as Yamaha artist, memorable concerts in the main European capitals. Her chamber music experience led to an interest in playing Baroque music on the harpsichord, collaborating in the early music project Extravaganza with the flautist Mariano Martin.
She also participated and acted in the film Fukumimi (2003) made by the Japanese director Chisui Takigawa. She has since 2004 been guest Lecturer of honour at Shanghai Normal University in China, and has since 2006 complemented this teaching with concerts and master-classes as artist of the firm Yamaha in Spain and Portugal.
In spring 2010 she brought out an album, the Complete Piano Works of Manuel de Falla. This project also sparked interest and subsequent sponsorship from Heineken, who for the first time wished to participate in the bringing out of a classical CD. A debut hearing followed at the Manuel de Falla Auditorium in the Spanish city of Granada, to wide acclaim from critics and public alike. There followed a five-date tour in Japan – comprising three concerts in Toyko and a further two in Kyoto while the CD was rated by Japanese music critics as one of the best CDs to come out that year.
In May 2012 she performed at the Festival de Ubeda in Spain, while earning impressive reviews for her recently released CD Falla: Complete Piano Transcriptions which rounds out her previous offerings of material by the composer. These two recordings constitute reference points in the interpretation of Spanish music.