Kazuo Murakami is Lecturer of Piano and Coordinator of Collaborative Piano at the University of Central Arkansas where he joined the faculty in 2008. Murakami is a sought-after soloist and collaborative artist in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Originally from Japan, Murakami began his studies in piano at the age of four. After studying at the Kyoto City University of Arts, Murakami continued his studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he won the Sadie Zellen Piano Prize. Murakami earned a D.M.A. in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Iowa in December 2011, where he served two years as Research Assistant (Pianist) of the University of Iowa’s New Music Ensemble directed by distinguished composition professor David Gompper.
Murakami specializes in 20th century and contemporary music. His wide performing repertoire includes works by Alban Berg, Arnold Schoenberg, Oliver Messiaen, Henri Dutilleux, Ichiyanagi Toshi, Franco Donatoni, and Rodion Shchedrin. As a guest pianist, he has performed Berg’s Chamber Concerto for Violin, Piano, 13 woodwind instruments, Stravinsky’s Petroushka, in addition to orchestral works by Sergei Prokofiev and Olivier Messiaen. His playing has been featured on radio broadcasts including NPR’s Arts & Letters with J. Bradley Minnick. In addition, Murakami is in high demand as a collaborative artist. Murakami has recorded several albums of contemporary and chamber music, including collaborative projects with distinguished saxophonists, Kenneth Tse and Nobuya Sugawa and an album of chamber and solo piano works, Arnold Schoenberg, and his Periods.
Murakami has been part of numerous chamber recitals and ensembles, performing at universities and venues across the United States and Asia. He has also performed at several conferences: including the 2006 and 2016 North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Conferences, the 2018 and 2022 International Trombone Festival, the 2015 International Double Reed Society and the 2022 South Central Regional Tuba Euphonium Conference. Additionally, he serves as collaborative pianist at the University of Central Arkansas for 60+ faculty, guest artist and student recitals annually. He was honored recently to present recitals with esteemed artists such as Gene Pokorny, Principal Tuba, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Christian Lindberg, distinguished trombone player, and many others.
His primary teachers include Uriel Tsachor, Daniel Shapiro, Naoyuki Taneda, Atsuko Jinzai, and Hideto Nishikawa. Murakami has studied chamber music with Tricia Park, Peter Salaff and Vivian Weilerstein. In addition to this, he has worked with renowned pianists including Logan Skelton, Andre Michel Schub, Josef Kalichstein, Stephen Hough, Misha Dichter, Oxana Yablonskaya, and Klaus Schilde. As a passionate educator, Murakami enjoys working with local and international piano students. Many of his students continue to study at the university level and have gone on to celebrate successful careers in music. When not at the piano, Murakami is an avid hiker.