The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) features child piano prodigy Naomi Yamaguchi in two Friday Night Live concerts May 2, at 7 and 8:30 p.m. The performances are free with museum admission.
Naomi began playing piano at age four and won her first award at the Albion College Young Artist Competition when she was six. At age seven, she had her debut at Carnegie Hall, where she performed twice in one week. In 2012 Naomi placed third in the renowned Russian International Piano Competition and last year performed Mozart Piano Concerto K488 in A Major with an orchestra conducted by David Daniels, former conductor and music director of the Warren Symphony Orchestra.
DIA Music Manager Rudy Lauerman first heard Naomi when she spontaneously began playing after a January Friday Night Live concert by another artist. “I was blown away, and the whole room became quiet,” said Lauerman. “Not only were we impressed by Naomi’s playing, but it was incredible that such quality music was coming from such a young girl. I knew then that I wanted to book her for a future Friday Night Live.”
Among her many other accolades, Naomi was s the youngest winner of the James Tatum Foundation’s Millennium Arts Scholars, resulting in a solo performance at Orchestra Hall last month. She has won prizes in the Metropolitan Detroit Musicians League Young Artist Competition, Chopin Youth Piano Competition and National Federation of Music Composition Competition.
In addition to performing challenging compositions by some of the world’s greatest classical composers, Naomi enjoys composing her own music. In 2012 her composition “Rainbow Fantasy” placed first in the National Federation of Music Competition, and she performed her original “Cinderella Suite” as part of a program by Detroit’s venerable Tuesday Musicale organization last year. In May they will grant Naomi a scholarship with honor and present her with their 2014 Doreen Wessel Taylor Piano Award.
Besides competing and composing, Naomi shares her talent with the community. She has volunteered to give recitals at senior centers and museums and was recognized by the City of Rochester Hills for her work and the inspiration and joy she has brought to people through her piano performances.
According to her mother, Yuri Yamaguchi, Naomi is a well-rounded kid. "She likes performing, and she’s doing well at school,” said Yamaguchi. “In addition to her passion for the piano, Naomi treasures time with her friends and brother and loves reading, swimming, singing and dancing.”
For the DIA concerts, Naomi will perform her own composition, along with music by Ludwig van Beethoven, Frederic Chopin, Claude Debussy and others. You can see a video of her performing in 2012 here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dUWdeyRDOQ
Hours and Admission
9 a.m.–4 p.m. Tuesdays–Thursdays, 9 a.m.–10 p.m. Fridays, and 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. General admission (excludes ticketed exhibitions) is free for Wayne, Oakland and Macomb county residents and DIA members. For all others, $8 for adults, $6 for seniors ages 62+, $4 for ages 6–17. For membership information, call 313-833-7971.