Pianist Akina Yura has performed throughout the United States, Europe, and her native Japan. A strong advocate of the music of Japanese composer Mutsuo Shishido, Yura has presented programs of his works around the world. Her debut CD, Mutsuo Shishido Complete Works for Piano, has been published by MSR Classics. This world première recording has been praised as “I cannot imagine a better advocate for this music than the wonderful young pianist Akina Yura… Much of this music requires fingers of steel and great agility, and Yura pours it on” (Peter Burwasser, Fanfare). “Everything on the CD is a world première recording, and everything is handled by Yura with sensitivity…” (Mark J. Estren, InfoDad).
She has appeared as a guest performer for the Pianodrom International Piano Festival in Albania and as a collaborative pianist for the Castleman Quartet Program. She is a prize-winner of numerous piano competitions, including the New Orleans Piano Institute Solo and Concerto Competitions, Music Teachers National Association Young Artist Competition, and Brevard Piano Competition. She has appeared as a soloist with New Orleans Civic Orchestra.
Akina has trained with numerous notable piano teachers, including Edward Auer, Nathan Buckner, Shigeo Neriki, Yoko Shibamoto, Mikhail Volchok, and Tomoko Yano. She received the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree (D.M.A) in Keyboard Performance and Presser Award from the University of Miami Frost School of Music, where she studied piano with Santiago Rodriguez and piano pedagogy with Naoko Takao. Prior to receiving her terminal degree, she earned piano performance degrees from the University of Maryland at College Park (B.M) and Indiana University Jacobs School of Music (M.M).
Akina’s repertoire includes standard classical repertoire to rarely heard works that deserve attention to the wider audience. In 2015, she and her colleagues founded Kaleidoscope MusArt, inc., a non-profit organization to present and promote classical music and pursues a valuable place of classical music in modern society, especially in Miami metropolitan area. She regularly performs in their concert series, besides continuing to serve as a member of the artistic executive director as well as a treasurer.
Akina also cherishes teaching music, especially piano but not limited to, to students of all ages and all levels. With her D.M.A. degree, she studied and obtained her cognate in Piano Pedagogy, and has presented masterclasses; and adjudicated piano auditions and competitions, and served as a member of the piano faculty in several music institutions and festivals in the U.S, including the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music Preparatory Program (Coral Gables, FL), New Mozart School of Music (Palo Alto, CA), and the Frost Young Musicians Camp (Coral Gables, FL). Currently, she is on the faculty at the College of Saint Rose (Albany, NY) and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, NY). She also teaches piano at The Music Studio (Albany, NY) as well as at her private studio.