Praised by audiences and critics alike for his fresh interpretations and dramatic presentation style, Yoshikazu Nagai has performed as soloist and chamber musician throughout Asia, Europe, and America in such venues as Beijing’s National Centre for the Performing Arts, Shanghai Concert Hall in China, National Concert Hall and Recital Hall in Taiwan, Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall in Canada, Carnegie Recital Hall and Merkin Concert Hall in New York, Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theatre, The National Gallery and Phillips Collection in Washington D.C., and Seattle’s Benaroya Hall. His schedule in recent seasons includes recitals in Naples, Seoul, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Beijing, Cincinnati, Chicago, San Francisco and in collaborations with the Ives Quartet, violinists Robert Mann, Anthony Marwood, and with orchestras across the country.
Nagai has appeared at many international music festivals, and his live performances have been broadcast on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today”, RAI Italian National TV, Hong Kong National Radio RTHK4, and on public radio stations in San Francisco, Houston, Cleveland, and Salt Lake City. Winner of numerous international piano competitions, including first prize at the 2002 Washington International Piano Competition. Nagai is also a major prizewinner of the San Antonio, Missouri Southern, New Orleans, IBLA Grand Prize International Piano Competitions, and the Concert Artists Guild International Music Competition.
Born in Germany and raised in the United States, Nagai studied with John Perry at Rice University, Paul Schenly and Sergei Babayan at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he was awarded the Malvina Podis Prize in Piano upon graduation, and Duane Hulbert at the University of Puget Sound with whom he recorded the Glasunov Fantasie for two Pianos, Op. 104.
He has been recognized by the National Foundation for Advancements in the Arts for excellence in teaching and Nagai’s students are top prizewinners of national and international competitions including the Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition in Australia, Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Piano Competition, Music Teacher’s National Association Piano Competition, New York International Piano Competition, Hilton Head, Cleveland International Piano Competition for Young Artists, Nina Wideman, International Russian Music, King Award, Missouri Southern, Corpus Christi, Lennox Young Artists, Bösendorfer and Yamaha USASU, Heida Hermanns, International E-Piano Competitions, Gilmore Young Artists Award, and Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.
Nagai frequently gives master classes at universities and conservatories throughout the United States and Asia including recent classes at Seoul National University, Korean National University of the Arts, Hanyang University, Yonsei University and Seoul Arts School in South Korea, Shanghai Conservatory, Beijing’s Central Conservatory, Xinghai Conservatory, Shenzhen Arts School in China, Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts, National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei National University of the Arts, Peabody Conservatory, Oberlin Conservatory, Eastman School of Music, and Northwestern University. He also regularly serves as adjudicator of international piano competitions and has served on the juries of the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competitions, World Piano Competition, and Alaska International Piano E-Competition amongst others.
Nagai teaches regularly during the summers at the Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Italy, where he serves as chair of the piano faculty and “Art of Piano” at Cincinnati Conservatory. He has also been faculty at the Seoul National National University International Piano Academy in South Korea, Shanghai and Beijing International Piano Festivals in China, Maestro International Piano Festival in Taiwan, Brancaleoni Festival in Italy, Chautauqua, Summit Festivals in New York, Pianofest in the Hamptons, South Eastern Piano Festival in South Carolina, Colburn Academy, JPA Festival and Montecito International Music Festival in California, Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina, and RPPF in Florida.
Nagai is currently Professor of Piano and Chair of the piano faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Visiting Professor of Piano at the Shanghai Middle School affiliated with the Shanghai Conservatory of Music in China, and a former faculty member at the Interlochen Arts Academy.