Praised by audiences and critics alike for his fresh interpretations and dramatic presentation style, Yoshikazu Nagai has performed as a soloist and a chamber musician throughout Asia, Europe and America in such venues as Shanghai Concert Hall in China, National Recital Hall in Taiwan, 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 include recitals in Naples, Seoul, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Beijing, Cincinnati, Chicago, San Francisco and in recent collaborations with the Ives Quartet, violinists Robert Mann, and Anthony Marwood. Mr. 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, Mr. 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, Mr. 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.
He has been recognized by the National Foundation for Advancements in the Arts for excellence in teaching and Mr. 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, Van Cliburn Junior International Piano Competition, Nina Wideman, International Russian Music, King Award, Missouri Southern, Corpus Christi, Lennox Young Artists, Bösendorfer and Yamaha USASU, Heida Hermanns International Piano Competitions, and Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.
Mr. Nagai frequently gives master classes at universities and conservatories throughout the United States and Asia including recent classes at Shanghai Conservatory, Beijing's Central Conservatory, Xinghai Conservatory, Shenzhen Arts School in China, Seoul National University, Seoul Arts School, in Korea, Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts, Oberlin Conservatory, and Eastman School of Music. 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.
Currently Professor of Piano and Chair of the Piano Department at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Mr. Nagai teaches during the summers at the Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Italy, and "Art of Piano" at Cincinnati Conservatory. He has also been summer faculty at the Shanghai and Beijing International Piano Festivals in China, Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina, Chautauqua, Summit Festivals in New York, South Eastern Piano Festival in South Carolina and Colburn Academy and Montecito International Music Festival in California. Mr. Nagai is a former faculty member at the Interlochen Arts Academy.