International pianist joins ASU collaborative piano program

Hailed by BBC Magazine for her “genuinely memorable performances,” pianist Miki Aoki is a frequent guest artist of prestigious concert series and festivals around the world.


The Arizona State University School of Music, Dance and Theatre welcomes Miki Aoki as assistant professor of collaborative piano. Aoki is recognized internationally for her diverse abilities as a pianist and collaborative artist.

“I was specifically attracted to the collaborative piano program for two reasons: my outstanding future colleagues, whom I am extremely excited to work with, and the wide-ranging collaborative opportunities afforded the students at ASU,” Aoki said. “These are two pillars which are absolutely necessary for a well-rounded collaborative program, and at ASU these pillars are particularly strong.”

With close to 800 annual performances and recitals by the music, dance and theater areas, Aoki said she was impressed by the sheer scale of the music program at ASU and the vast opportunities and experiences students can gain during their studies.

“We are thrilled to have attracted an artist of Miki Aoki’s caliber to our program,” said Heather Landes, director of the School of Music, Dance and Theatre. “Miki Aoki brings a wealth of experience as a collaborative artist from her many years in Austria, Germany and Switzerland, and her work as a collaborative pianist and teacher throughout the United States. Our students will greatly benefit from working with her.”

Hailed by BBC Magazine for her “genuinely memorable performances,” Aoki is a frequent guest artist of prestigious concert series and festivals around the world. She has played on the stages of renowned concert halls in the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Austria and Russia, as well as in festivals in Germany, Switzerland, Russia, France, Norway, Denmark, Austria, Indonesia, Cambodia and Myanmar.

She has performed as a soloist with the National Symphony, London Soloist Chamber Orchestra, Hamburger Camerata, Washington Sinfonietta and Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de México and was an invited performer at legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman’s Chamber Music Seminar in Long Island, New York.

Aoki's performances have been broadcast on North German Radio, Radio Berlin, Radio Suisse Romande, ORF Austria, Radio France, WFMT Chicago, MPR Classic and ABC Classic FM Australia and BBC Radio 3, to name a few.

As a collaborative pianist, Aoki has also been an invited guest artist at notable international summer academies in Germany, Austria and Virginia and regularly plays for masterclasses of internationally renowned musicians including Yuri Bashmet, Christoph Eschenbach, Christian Tetzlaff, Maxim Vengerov and Tabea Zimmermann.

Aoki is a pianist at the prestigious Kronberg Academy in Germany. She joined Munich ArtisTRIO in 2017, holds degrees from Indiana University and Yale University and obtained a Konzertexamen degree with distinction at Hochschule für Musik und Theater.

Born in Japan, Aoki grew up in England and attended college in the United States. After spending many years in Europe working and performing, Aoki returned to school to earn her Doctor of Musical Arts at SUNY Stony Brook in New York under the guidance of Gilbert Kalish. She completed her degree and graduated in May 2022.

Aoki describes the experience of returning to school as “life-changing” and said it helped her realize the importance of adapting to the evolving music world of today.

“I had the chance to see the music world from a student’s perspective again, which gave me the chance to understand, at a deeper level, the importance of our ‘short time’ as students,” she said. “It helped me see with new eyes the tremendous value of this crucial time, a time in which we can learn the skills to survive and thrive in this field.”

Aoki said she is absolutely overjoyed to be joining the world-class faculty of ASU.

She said one of the questions addressed in the school’s mission — “What can we accomplish when we collaborate with those outside our disciplines and beyond the borders of our university?” — speaks strongly to her as a collaborative pianist.

Through her many years touring around the globe, Aoki said she has witnessed both the positives and the “not-so-positives” of her career.

“There is so much that I wished I had known earlier, and that is one very important reason why I feel strongly about teaching collaborative piano,” Aoki said. “I want to make a difference towards the future of this profession, empowering us as collaborative pianists and helping the next generation of collaborative pianists be truly proud of who they are and what they do.”

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