Peter Miyamoto’s Latest CDs Thrill Listeners

A Piano Recital
Brahms Piano Works
Kristi Galloway
News Source: 
College of Arts & Science

Peter Miyamoto, associate professor of piano, once endured a three-hour lesson about three lines of music.  It was grueling, but he says, “I learned everything I know about music in that one lesson.” From an early age, he has devoted time, energy, talent, and passion to piano performance, and the hard work is paying off.

This spring, he released two CDs on the Blue-Griffin label, Brahms Piano Works and another called A Piano Recital. Shortly after their release, Miyamoto received the 2014 American Prize in Piano Performance for Brahms Piano Works. The CD consists of solo piano works by Johannes Brahms, including one of the first commercial recordings of Brahms’ “Albumblatt,” a piece discovered in 2011. All of Miyamoto’s teachers from the Curtis Institute of Music, Yale University, Michigan State University, and the Royal Academy of Music in London trained under Artur Schnabel, who was a proponent of Brahms’ music. “Playing Brahms’ pieces feels like coming home,” says Miyamoto.

But Miyamoto has diverse musical interests, so in his other CD, A Piano Recital, he decided to feature works by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Ravel, and Berg. Miyamoto carefully selected contrasting pieces, with light and dark tones that he loved to play. It received an excellent review in the June issue of Audiophile Audition.

Both of the recordings, as well as Miyamoto's earlier CDs, A Schubert Recital and Chopin Ballades and Fantasies were featured in Fanfare Magazine earlier this year. In a review of Miyamoto’s recordings, Jerry Dubins wrote, "These four discs contain some of the most dynamic and thrilling piano playing to be had on disc. Peter Miyamoto is a major discovery."

Miyamoto received funding for his CDs from an MU Research Board grant, School of Music faculty development funds, and a small grant from the Center for Arts and Humanities. He was also performing in several ensembles and teaching full time while making the recordings. Though the schedule was demanding, Miyamoto says, “Performing makes me a better teacher, and teaching makes me a better performer. The two go hand in hand for me.”

Faculty and students at the School of Music are quick to recognize Miyamoto’s skills in both areas. “Peter takes piano performance very seriously and shows his students on a daily basis what it takes to truly be an artist on the instrument,” says Julia Gaines, associate professor and director of the School of Music. “The recent national attention to his recordings just proves what we already knew—he’s a true gem among many in our program.”

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