Biography

Official photo 2013

Hailed by The Huffington Post as “a budding musical genius,” 16-year-old American pianist Umi Garrett has been performing all over the world. 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 title of the Young Steinway Artist, an honor only awarded to today’s most acclaimed young artists.

Umi’s recent seasons’ highlights includes a solo charity concert at Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in Berlin, Germany in summer of 2016 to collaborate with the IPPNW, the International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War; a concert tour with the Symphonia Boca Raton in Florida in early 2016; a debut concert at the Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego, California also in 2016; a debut with the Hiroshima Symphony Orchestra lead by Maestro Kazuyoshi Akiyama in Hiroshima, Japan in fall, 2015; a solo-recital concert tour in Japan in July of 2015 and a return engagement with Kirk Trevor and the Missouri Symphony Orchestra. Past engagements include a 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 TEDxOC conference in California as 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 in the 2013-2014 and the 2014-2015 seasons in total of nearly 60 cities throughout the United States. One of her favorite performances was giving solo recitals on a trans-atlantic Crystal Cruise ship from Spain to Miami in 2013. Most recently, she was invited for a return engagement with the Crystal Cruise-lines and performed on the ship from Edinburgh, throughout European port-cities such as Amsterdam and Hamburg, to New York. 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. 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. 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. In 2015, Umi performed at a fundraising event for the Angel Heart Foundation who funds children with heart disease in China so they can receive surgery.

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. 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 9 years old. Umi was chosen as one of The 12 Most Talented Prodigies for 2013 by The Huffington Post.

Umi currently resides in Orange County, California where she attends high school. 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 learned in many international music festivals such as the Perugia Music Fest, the Amalfi Coast Music Festival, Banff Music Festival and more. Umi has learned from the internationally acclaimed pianists such as Leon Fleisher, Lang Lang, Aldo Ciccolini, Ilana Vered, Felix Gottlieb and Pascal Devoyon.

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. Music in Life is available online and at Umi’s concerts.