Selected by Japan’s major newspaper, Mainichi Shinbun, as “One of the 100 People in Tokyo to Represent the 21st Century,” pianist Chiharu Sai performs widely as a soloist and chamber musician, both in Asia and the United States.
Chiharu Sai’s performances have met wide acclaim for their “great verve and refreshing power” (Chopin Magazine). The New York Concert Review described her debut performance at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall as “dazzling, high-spirited…..(having) great brilliance. Ms. Sai played both the D major and E-flat major Prelude by Rachmaninoff exquisitely.” Since then, she has given concerts through major venues both in Japan and the United States. The renowned critic Harris Goldsmith said of Ms. Sai’s performance of Mozart’s piano concertos held at the same hall, “Ms. Sai proved herself to be a Mozartean of refreshingly unusual potency. She is one of those rarities: an artist who is unafraid to explore the white-hot passion of the Salzburg genius”. Upon hearing Ms. Sai’s solo recital at Opera City Hall in Tokyo, the music critic Yukiko Hagiya wrote, “This critic wishes that she would cross the Pacific Ocean more often to enthrall the classical music fans of Japan.”
Chiharu Sai has worked with a number of orchestras in performances of Mozart Piano Concerto KV488 and 466, Beethoven Piano Concerto No.5 “Emperor”, Fantasia in C Minor Op.80 for Piano, Chorus, and Orchestra (“Choral Fantasy”), and Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No. 3 among others. She has been presented in numerous concert series both as a soloist and chamber musician.
Sai balances her performance schedule with an active involvement in music education and pedagogy. She is currently on the faculty at Southern Oregon University and College of the Siskiyous. She serves as a piano and chamber music faculty at Pacific Crest Music Festival in Northern California in the summer, working with gifted music students from all over the world. In the past, she has also served on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music’s summer program. As an adjudicator and clinician, Sai is invited to judge piano competitions for young artists as well as give lecture-recitals and masterclasses for piano teachers’ associations in the Tri-State Area in USA.
Chiharu Sai holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Piano Performance from the Manhattan School of Music. Her doctoral dissertation entitled “The Proportional Function of the Cadenza in the First Movements of Mozart’s Piano Concertos” was published by Lambert in Germany. Her debut CD of Chopin’s 4 Scherzi and 4 Ballades was released on King Records of Japan in the fall of 2008. Of this disc, the critic Yoshiko Ikuma noted Chiharu Sai’s “deep identification with their celebrated creator’s genius”.