Born: May 23 Primary Instrument: Piano
Yoshino Nakahara is a multi-talented professional pianist, composer, arranger and bandleader who has performed internationally, and with highly acclaimed musicians such as Gregory Hutchinson, Gilad Hekselman, E.J. Strickland, George Garzone, Lenny Stallworth, Darren Barret, Tim Mayer, Nori Shiota, Cesar Joaniquet, Leon Boykins, Jeff Miles and Evan Sherman. She is an accomplished musician and a brilliantly skilled pianist described as having beautiful tone, rich harmonies, incredible rhythmic control and great influence from various musical genres.
After hearing and playing with Ms. Nakahara, Gregory Hutchinson, who is described as “the drummer of his generation” in Jazz Magazine and is one of the most highly respected musicians of our time said : “Your time feel is surprising. I know many pianists, but it is rare to see a pianist who plays such adventurous improvisation like you.“ He also described her as a pianist who “transcends time signatures“ when introducing her to another top Jazz drummer, Otis Brown III.
Yoshino started playing piano at the age of four and studied classical music at the most trusted music school in Japan, Yamaha music school. In the junior professional course of the school, she learned not only performance, but also theory, ear training and sight-reading. She noticed her perfect pitch during this time. All the teachers recognized her as a highly talented student with great technique and ability to understand quickly. She performed solo and ensemble at concert halls regularly and played in the famous nationwide piano competition “Yamaha Piano Festival“ as a chosen delegate. In the meantime, she composed original tunes that combined classical music with pop. She played in long-running “Junior Original Concert“ held internationally every year and was awarded finalist in the Children’s Composition Competition both times that she competed. She had enormous respect for Claude Debussy and Frederic Chopin and she received a great amount of influence from them. One can see that in her rich and beatiful harmonic appliance to her performances and compositions. She had the opportunity to perform repertoire of these composers at the most prestigious concert hall, Suntory Hall.
During her school years, Ms. Nakahara was the first call accompanist for all the events both in and outside the school. Besides that, she was playing trombone and experienced other instruments. She loved listening to pop music and could transribe and play the tunes immediately once she heard them. At the age of 13, She started playing flute and joined in a brass band and mandolin orchestra. This experience helped her become a popular flute instructor at East West Music Studio LLC in New York.
After graduating from Keio University with law degree, she started her career as an office worker. At that time, she played keyboard in a couple of Pop/Rock bands and appeared on stage. A few years after starting her job, she picked up alto saxophone and became captivated by jazz. She came back to piano and studied jazz with the leading pianist Masaaki Imaizumi, who has shared the stage with Randy Brecker, Jimmy Cobb, James Moody, Jimmy Heath, Eric Alexander, Gene Jackson, Richie Cole, Masahiko Osaka, to name a few. As she became a frequent contributor to live jazz, she realized her growing passion for being a part of jazz community as a musician. She had a chance to play trio with very active Japanese musicians, Masanori Ando, Shinichi Kato and Satoshi Ikeda in Japan.
In 2009, Yoshino came to the U.S. and started to fully concentrate on studying Jazz Piano at the most prestigious jazz college, Berklee College of Music with the World scholarship. She developed her techniques and knowledge for performance, composing and arranging. She was honored to receive the Professional Music Major Achievement Award in 2011 for her outstanding musicianship and contribution.
Ms. Nakahara has studied with Barry Harris, Sam Yahel, Hal Crook, George Garzone, Joanne Brackeen, Ray Santisi, Steve Hunt, Dave Santoro, Ed Tomassi, Darren Barrett, among many others, and explored a variety of music genres.
Yoshino has performed her original compositions, arrangements and Jazz/Fusion/Latin tunes with her band that brought together some of the top musicians in the Boston area at recognized venues including Lily pad, Cafe Luna, MIT. She has shared the stage with music greats such as Darren Barret, Joe Galeota, Ernest Diaz, Mike Ringquist, Nori Shiota, Rafael Aguiar, Mike Bono, Jordan Rose, Eerena Terakubo, the acapella group Point of Departure at the famous Berklee Performance Center (BPC), David Friend Recital Hall, Harvard Club and Hilton Hotel, just named a few. She has also performed in Percussion festival, Woman Musician’s Network concert at BPC, the musical “Baby“ at Boston Conservatory, the musical theater auditions at Central Square Theater, and had a chance to play at the radio station WERS 88.9 FM. She has also performed as accompanist for singers’ auditions and has recorded for many film scoring projects and portfolio tracks.
After graduating from Berklee, Ms. Nakahara moved her home base to the main jazz scene, New York. She has been performing with her astonishing band at several prestigious venues such as Metropolitan Room, Somethin’ Jazz Club and Tomi Jazz regularly. She leads some of the best and brightest musical talents such as Gilad Hekselman, E.J. Strickland, Leon Boykins, Jeff Miles, Evan Sherman, Peter Kronreif, Kenji Herbert, Nahum Corona and Shin Sakaino. She played every week as the Artist of the Month at Tomi Jazz in September 2012. She also has been invited to perform in the Talent Showcase at Metropolitan Room which is the established event that Music industry professionals pay a great deal of attention to. She has been playing as a sideman at such popular venues as Arturo’s, Cleopatra’s Needle, Garage, Terraza7 and La Flor Restaurant and had an opportunity to play with Columbus Campus Jazz Big Band. She has played Gospel at Church and also had a chance to share the stage with Japanese famous pop, R&B singer Ki-Yo and perform his original R&B tunes.
She currently teaches piano and flute at the venerable, St. Stephen's United Methodist Church in Bronx and at the finest music school in Queens, East- West Music Studio LLC.
As a recording artist Yoshino has gained an accomplished reputation. She has recorded piano sonata for the composer Angella Miller whose scores has been shown in multiple film festivals. Yoshino has been Japanese popular composer Hideakira Kimura’s irreplaceable pianist, and recorded for his original compositions, some of which has been distributed on iTunes, Amazon and many other digital music download stores, Nippon Television Music Library, NHK Basic News Library, Android Applicaion and many other projects. Recently, she arranged a piano solo version of his compositions and recorded for TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System Television, Inc.) drama.
Ms. Nakahara’s foundation of knowledge, coupled with her technical mastery of the piano, playful musicality, remarkable musical input and output, and professional musicianship render her an ideal selection for a wide range of musical productions.