The Piano Teachers' Course UK
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Since his London debut in 2002, Masayuki Tayama, one of today’s most accomplished pianists, has maintained a highly active schedule as both an international pianist and piano pedagogue. He has performed throughout Europe and Japan, and regularly appears at some of London’s most prestigious venues, including Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, the Southbank Centre and St. John’s Smith Square.
Masa studied at the Toho University of Music in Tokyo and was subsequently awarded a Fellowship under the Japanese Government Overseas Study Programme for Artists to study in the UK, where he attained the Performer’s Diploma with Honours from both the Royal College of Music (ARCM) and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (LGSM) in London. He first came to prominence when he won First Prize in the Takahiro Sonoda International Piano Competition in Japan, followed by numerous top prizes in Europe including the Birmingham International Piano Competition, the Grand Konzerteum International Piano Competition in Greece, and a Special Award from the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe. He has trained with some of the world’s most prominent pianists and musicians as well as several leading pedagogues, notably including Sumiko Mikimoto, founder of the Mikimoto Method of tone production, muscle relaxation and training.
Masa’s London debut took place at the Southbank Centre and, in 2007, he debuted at the Wigmore Hall to a sold-out audience, which was met with critical acclaim. His concerto performances, notably at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Fairfield Halls and the Last Night of the St Jude’s Proms, include all the Piano Concertos by Brahms, Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, collaborating with conductors including Stephen Bell, Adrian Brown, Darrell Davison, John Gibbons, Levon Parikian, Brien Stait and Vladimir Valek.
His recital at Toppan Hall in Tokyo in 2005 was broadcast on Nikkei National Radio in Japan, and his performances of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with the Osaka Symphonika at The Symphony Hall in Osaka, twice on the same day in July 2006, were hailed as “re-inventing the image of Rachmaninov”. Masa also made his USA debut in 2006 at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, where the recital was broadcast live on the Internet.
He has earned an enviable reputation as a Rachmaninov specialist, and is currently in the midst of a project to record Rachmaninov’s complete works for solo piano. His first recording of the two Sonatas won the accolade ‘Best Recording of the Month’ in Stereo magazine, and his second CD of the complete Rachmaninov Etudes-Tableaux and Marceaux de Fantaisie followed to critical acclaim. The third disc of the two sets of Variations was chosen as a ‘Tokusen-ban’ (Specially Selected and Recommended) in the January 2016 issue of Record Geijutsu, Japan’s most authoritative classical music and review magazine.
From 2010-17, Masa taught First Study pianists at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, at the forefront of training the next generation of pianists. In addition to this, he also gave regular solo recitals and masterclasses at the Chetham’s International Summer School and Festival for Pianists. He has been a Visiting Professor at the Elmitt Piano Academy in Bedfordshire since 2007, giving recitals, and leading workshops and masterclasses, and is also a registered adjudicator with EPTA UK. He has been invited to adjudicate many festivals and competitions, including EPTA Piano Competitions, the John Ireland Competition at the London College of Music, and Cambridge Piano Weekend organised by fellow PTC Principal Tutor, Ilga Pitkevica.
Teaching ‘from the stage’, Masa’s vast performance experience constantly feeds into his tuition as an essential component and constitutes a large part of his identity. He has run a thriving teaching practice in North London since 1997 and has, over the years, taught hundreds of pianists of all ages and stages, from complete beginners to flourishing professionals. Among his pupils are scholarship award holders, festival and competition prize-winners, Diploma students, and University and Conservatoire students. His students have received the highest marks in the country for their Grade 8 exams on a number of occasions, often competing and garnering success in national and international competitions, including the EPTA Piano Competition and BBC Young Musician, and many going on to build successful performing and teaching careers. Masa’s teaching incorporates the method taught by Sumiko Mikimoto on muscle relaxation and training for pianists, guiding students to become aware of their bodies whilst playing and avoid unnecessary tension and resultant pain or discomfort.
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Rachmaninov: Two Variations
Accustika PPCA-621 (2015)
Variations on a Theme of Chopin, Op. 22 Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42 Marceaux de Fantaisie, Op. 3, Nos. 3 & 5 (revised)
‘Tokusen-ban [Specially Selected and Recommended]’ awarded by Record Geijutsu, Japan January 2016
‘ … conveys the innermost thoughts of the work… elegant and dignified … characterised by brilliant tone, rich sonorous chords, virtuosic finger work with thorough attention to detail. .. beautifully performed with sophisticated intelligence, poetry and lyricism … a captivating listen throughout.’ Record Geijutsu, Japan (January 2016)
Rachmaninov: Complete Etudes-Tableaux
Accustika PPCA-611 (2009)
Etudes-Tableaux, Op. 33 & 39 Marceaux de Fantaisie, Op. 3
‘As a unique achievement, this is Rachmaninov playing not only to be considered as a fresh departure from other fine pianists of the present day, but daring in its use of rubato to suit the melodic structures and contrasting elements throughout each piece… above all very personal in style. Somewhat akin to a kind of Horowitz approach, maybe, and also with a few touches of genius.’ Bill Newman, Musical Opinion (September 2010)
Rachmaninov: Two Sonatas
Evica HTCA-6003 (2002)
Sonata No.1, Op.28 Sonata No. 2, Op.36 (1931)
‘Best Recording of the Month’ awarded by Stereo Magazine, Japan (February 2003)
‘ … shows a great passion for the sound of Rachmaninoff and his music. [Tayama] pursues the core of the music with the highest standard of technical brilliance and panache.’ Nikkei Shinbun, Japan (September 2003)