Since her dramatic career change from economics to music four years ago, Akina Kondoh has been growing fast as a pianist. In 2018, she was awarded the third prize (tie) in Pittsburgh International Piano Competition. She also received a very competitive Outstanding Merit Fellowship for Continuing Doctoral Students from West Virginia University. Her joint solo recital in her hometown of Tokyo was successful in attracting new audiences.
Akina started lessons in piano at the age of 4, and has built up a solid and broad repertory of keyboard music, ranging from J. S. Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Ravel to Takemitsu. Her teachers include Sonoko Hanai and Masashi Kitagawa. She also learned solfeggio and harmonic theory from an established composer, Mr. Hiroshi Yamaguchi.
She realized her passion and talent in music while having lessons with Dr. Steven Herbart Smith at Penn State University, and decided to change majors with his encouragement. Since then, Akina has participated in many music festivals including Arosa Music Academy, Summit Music Festival, InterHarmony International Piano Festival, and Ian Hobson International Piano Festival. She has been also active in performing solo, as well as collaborating with singers and other instrumentalists to broaden her repertory in Japan and the United States. In the later half of 2019, she will participate in International Keyboard Institute and Festival, and Gijon International Piano Festival, and perform in Carnegie Hall and Chatham University in Pittsburgh.
Akina completed a Master of Music in piano performance from Penn State University with Dr. Jose Ramon Mendez, and is currently studying toward DMA in piano performance with Dr. Ching-Wen Hsiao at West Virginia University. Before her career change, she obtained Bachelor in Law, Master in International Relations from the University of Tokyo, and Master in Economics from Essex University and worked as an international tax consultant at Deloitte in Japan. Her hobby is to learn languages, and she is fluent in Japanese, English, Chinese and French.