Hailed by The Huffington Post as “a budding musical genius,” 14-year-old American pianist Umi Garrett is gaining acclaim from all over the world for her exquisite musicality, emotional and mature sound, flawless technique and virtuosity, and gracious stage presence filled with poise and charm. Of her performance of Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Winnipeg Symphony, the Winnipeg Free Press wrote “In addition to displaying bravura technique, the young soloist also possesses an extraordinary musicality.” Umi’s performance with the New Mexico Philharmonic in 2015 was praised by the Albuquerque Journal: “Indeed, she played with a grace and sensitivity far beyond her years, well deserving of the honor Young Steinway Artist.” At age 13, Umi was granted a prestigious title of the Young Steinway Artist, an honor only awarded to today’s most acclaimed young artists.
Umi’s recent seasons’ highlights included a return engagement with Kirk Trevor and the Missouri Symphony Orchestra, a debut concert with Nicholas McGegan with the Pasadena Symphony and Pops, and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Alexander Mickelthwate. She made an appearance at the TEDx conference in California as a both a performer and a speaker, as well as performing at La Ciudad de las Ideas, an international conference in Puebla, Mexico. In addition, Umi gave solo recitals throughout the United States in the 2013-2014 and the 2014-2015 season in nearly 60 cities. One of her favorite performances last season was giving solo recitals on a trans-atlantic Crystal Cruise ship from Spain to Miami. Umi was also chosen as one of The 12 Most Talented Prodigies for 2013 by The Huffington Post. Furthermore, Umi is a frequent guest artist at the Festival Lato z Chopinem, the Chopin Summer Festival in Busko-Zdroj in Poland, and at the Festival Assisi nel Mondo, the Assisi in the World Festival in Assisi, Italy.
Umi’s other previous engagements with symphony orchestras include the Wuhan Symphony Orchestra in China; the Liepaja Symphony Orchestra in Latvia; the Thayer Symphony in Massachusetts and the Indiana Chamber Orchestra in Indianapolis, Indiana. She has given solo recitals in places such as Italy, Poland, England, Germany, Japan, and Panama Republic. Umi has appeared as a guest pianist at the Kyoto Symposium held in San Diego.
In response to the 2011’s devastating tsunami and earthquake in Tōhoku, the northern region of Japan, Umi volunteered to serve the Japanese community by organizing the Kizuna Concert Tour in 2013. The tour included four concerts in Tōhoku.
Umi began learning piano at the age of four. At the age of 8 she made her public broadcast appearance on NBC’s The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Declared by Ellen DeGeneres: “She is going to be very well known,” Umi has captivated the audiences around the world since her early age. Umi made an orchestral debut with the Desert Symphony in California at the age of 8, and she made her appearance with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops sponsored by NPR’s From the Top when she was nine years old. Then Umi was featured on live television in Luxembourg in an interview as a “wunderkind.” Florida Weekly described the 10-years-old Umi Garrett’s performance of Mozart Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major, K488 with the Charlotte Symphony and Toshimasa Francis Wada: “Umi Garrett wowed the sold-out crowd with her masterful performance. She simply blew this reviewer and the audience away with her performance, her fluid runs and countless trills flawlessly performed, joyous at one moment, prayerful at another.” An appearance with the Missouri Symphony and the conductor, Kirk Trevor, garnered young Umi Garrett an impressive review from the Columbia Daily Tribune that stated, “She played with the poise and supreme confidence of a veteran five times her age.
She, the conductor and the orchestra worked as one. The power of her tiny hands on the keys was mesmerizing. ‘Genius’ seems the best description.”
Among her honors are first prize at the 13th Osaka International Music Competition in Japan, the Chopin International Competition Chopin Plus in Budapest, Hungary, and the Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition in New York in 2012. She was also the Grand Prix winner of the Chopin International Competition in Hartford, Connecticut in 2010, and was subsequently invited to perform at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall in New York. In 2013, Umi received the Most Promising Award at the 17th Hamamatsu International Piano Academy in Hamamatsu, Japan.
A devout student of the piano, Umi is studying with Professor John Perry in Los Angeles. Umi is also studying with Mrs. Mina Hirobe-Perry. Previously, she has studied with Mrs. Yoshie Akimoto and Ms. Itoe Akimoto. Umi has been learning in many international music festivals such as the Perugia Music Fest and the Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Italy. Umi also participated at the Hamamatsu Piano Academy in 2013 in Japan where she studied with Professor John Perry, Mrs. Hiroko Nakamura, Mr. Pavel Gililov, and Mrs. Shin Soo Jung. Umi has learned at the masterclasses of the internationally acclaimed pianists such as Leon Fleisher, Lang Lang, Aldo Ciccolini, Ilana Vered and Byron Janis.
Umi was nine years old when she recorded and released her first album, Just For You. Her performance of Chopin’s Fantasy-Impromptu in C-sharp minor, Op. 66 from this album appears on the soundtrack for the major motion picture, Jobs. Her second recording Music in Life was recorded in 2013, at the age of 12. “It was really fun and exciting,” Umi describes about making her newest CD album with the Grammy award-winner producer Matthew Snyder. The album contains pieces from some of the greatest composers of classical music such as Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Debussy and Gershwin. The pieces were carefully selected by Umi and John Perry, her teacher and mentor. Umi states that “we all need some music in our lives to feel happy, sad, reflect on memories, or simply listen to. I hope that the music in this CD brings you all of these things, and most of all I hope you enjoy it.” Music in Life is available online and at Umi’s concerts. For more information, please visit www.umigarrett.com.