Steeped in the Russian and German piano traditions, 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, Taiwan, and Japan at notable venues including Jordan Hall, Merkin Hall, Taiwan’s National Concert Hall, and Sumida-Triphony Concert Hall. Known for her sensitivity and effortless touch, Niekawa’s pianistic expertise lies particularly in the music of Chopin, and French and Russian composers. Since 2012, Niekawa has released three recordings (PARMA Recordings, Petrichor Records) and her live performances have been recorded for radio broadcast.
Niekawa’s passion for multi-disciplinary collaboration and performing music of her generation have led to artistic partnerships with composers, dancers, poets, and visual artists. Having a keenness to bring audience and performer closer together, Niekawa’s ongoing “Mozart in Public Spaces” project with duo526 has activated unique connections with new communities. Innovative projects have led to artist residencies at the Banff Centre, Avaloch Farm Music Institute, Brandon University, Indiana University, Boston, MA, and Norfolk, VA.
A musical explorer seeking new opportunities, Niekawa left her native Japan in 2001 to attend the Eastman School of Music and the New England Conservatory. Her primary mentors include Natalya Antonova, Jean Barr, Carol Rodland, Charles Castleman, James Buswell, Roger Tapping, and Paul Katz. She earned her Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from the Eastman School of Music in 2013. Professionally, she has been engaged as a collaborative pianist at the Banff Centre, New England Conservatory, Boston Ballet School, Meadowmount School of Music, and the IU Summer String Academy.
Niekawa is dedicated to pedagogy, mentoring, and performance practice. She shares her passion through masterclasses and workshops at duo526’s annual Sonata Seminar and has been invited as a guest teacher at various colleges and universities in North America including the University of Calgary, University of Northern Colorado, Brandon University, and Middle Tennessee State University. Niekawa is currently on the faculty for Chamber and Collaborative Piano at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music.