Hailed by The Huffington Post as “a budding musical genius,” 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.” 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 concert tour with the Symphonia Boca Raton in Florida, performing the Schumann Piano Concerto in early 2016; a debut concert at the Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego, California, performing Beethoven Piano Concerto No.2; a debut with the Hiroshima Symphony Orchestra lead by Maestro Kazuyoshi Akiyama in Hiroshima, Japan; a solo-recital concert tour in Japan in July of 2015; 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 TEDx 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. She has also performed on a Crystal Cruise ship from Spain to Miami in 2013 as well as from Edinburgh to New York in 2015. Furthermore, Umi was chosen as one of The 12 Most Talented Prodigies for 2013 by The Huffington Post.
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 2017, she won 2nd prize at Orford Music Awards, an international competition for all musicians. Most recently, she was chosen by the jury as the 1st prize winner of the Juilliard School’s concerto competition, performing the Ravel G Major concerto.
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, during which she performed at four elementary schools in the area for the children affected by the tragedy. In 2015, she returned to Tōhoku for a concert tour and also to perform once more for the students. From 2015 to 2017, Umi performed at the annual fundraising event for Angel Heart International, an organization that funds poor children in China with heart disease so they can receive surgeries.
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 her orchestral debut with the Desert Symphony in California at the age of 8, and she performed with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops sponsored by NPR’s From the Top when she was 9. In 2017, Umi co-founded a non-profit organization, Pacific Academy Foundation, which gives scholarships to young, aspiring artists and athletes. She organizes, hosts, and performs in the annual PAF charity concerts.
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 and Mrs. Mina Hirobe-Perry in Los Angeles. Umi has been learning in many international music festivals such as the Aspen Music Festival, Perugia Music Fest, the Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Italy, and John Perry Academy of Music Festival in California. Umi also participated at the Hamamatsu Piano Academy in 2013. Umi has learned at the masterclasses of 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. Her third CD, Storybook, was recorded in 2016 and released in 2019.
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