As a child, Keiju Takehara studied with Pamela Sverjensky and Martin Labazevitch at the Levine School of Music, where he attended for over ten years. He performed across the United States and Japan, and has been featured on Classical WETA and WQXR Radio. In 2016, he was
awarded the Rosalyn Tureck Prize at the Rosalyn Tureck International Bach Competition, and in 2019, was awarded first place in the Puerto Rico International Piano Festival and Competition. He has also had the special opportunity to perform in masterclasses for the Emerson String Quartet, Barry Douglas, Joseph Kalichstein, Alexander Korsantia, Robert Levin, Robert McDonald, Lambert Orkis, Susan Starr, and Vladimir Tropp.
Keiju started building his teaching experience when he began his studies in New York City at the Manhattan School of Music, where he acquired his Bachelor’s in Piano Performance under Horacio Gutierrez. He first held private lessons in Brooklyn and Manhattan, and taught at an intimate music school directed by Jae Kyo Han in Chinatown. Keiju frequently performs duets and piano concerti with his students, who have won numerous prizes in national competitions and occasionally performed at the Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall.
He has a special affinity for chamber music, and enjoys working together with other musicians. He had the privilege of premiering two chamber compositions by Jaegone Kim: “Le Cirque” (2018) for piano four hands, and “A travers une sphere de verre” (2019) for clarinet,
percussion, piano, violin, and cello. During the 2020 pandemic, Keiju joined musicians from the contemporary ensemble BlackBox to perform Julius Eastman’s “Femenine” in an outdoor concert. He has also conducted and coached rehearsals for choir and student chamber ensembles.
These are the three main ideas which sum up his teaching style:
1. I promote an open-dialogue environment by encouraging conversation and feedback when I teach. For private lessons, I believe the student (and/or parent) should collaborate and participate in the dialogue for effective progress.
2. I focus on efficiency. I strive to convey ideas and solve problems as simply and coherently as I can.
3. I emphasize playing and learning from the classical canon. I encourage beginning students to perform and reinforce basic music theory (e.g. musical terminologies, note-reading ability, understanding of form). As the student advances to more difficult repertoire, lessons tend to focus on historic and stylistic context, proper and economic
technique, and detailed interpretation of the music.