Takahashi, Aki, innovative Japanese pianist, sister of Yuji Takahashi; b. Kakamura, Sept. 6, 1944. She studied first with her mother, then with Yutaka Ito, (Miss) Ray Lev, and George Vásárhelyi at the Tokyo Univ. of the Arts (M.A., 1969). She made her public debut in Tokyo in 1970; her European debut followed in 1972. While acknowledged for her classical musicianship, she is particularly lauded for her imaginative interpretations of contemporary music; among the composers who have written works for her are Cage, Rzewski, Yuasa, Feldman, and Satoh. Her recording career is also distinguished; her Aki Takahashi Piano Space (20 works, including those by Berio, Boulez, Cage, Stockhausen, Webern et al.) earned her the Merit Prize at the Japan Art Festival in 1973. Her series of Satie concerts performed in Tokyo (1975-77) heralded the so-called “Satie Boom” in Japan and resulted in her editing and recording the composer’s complete piano works; other noteworthy recordings include Triadic Memories (Feldman), Planetary Folklore (Mamoru Fujieda), Eonta (Xenakis), and L’Histoire de Babar (Poulenc). Her Hyper Beatles (1990- ) features arrangements of Beatles songs by internationally recognized composers. In addition to performing throughout Europe, Japan, and the U.S., Takahashi also devoted time to teaching; she was artist-in-residence at the State Univ. of N.Y at Buffalo (1980-81) and a guest prof, at the Calif. Inst. of the Arts in Valencia (1984). She received the 1stKenzo Nakajima prize (1982) and the 1st Kyoto Music Award (1986). In 1983 she became director of the “New Ears” concert series in Yokohama.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire