Michi Hirata North 75th Anniversary Piano Concert to Benefit the ‘J


Pianist Michi Hirata North.

Pianist Michi Hirata North.

BY DEE GOTO

This September 20th, 2015, Michi Hirata North is delighted to benefit “The J” with her 75th Anniversary piano concert at U of W Meany Hall. She will play one of the most difficult piano concertos by Tchaikovsky as part of the program with Julia Tai conducting the Philharmonia Northwest orchestra.  {BUY TICKETS HERE}

In 1939, Michi made her professional debut as an eight-year-old prodigy, drawing national attention with a brilliant performance of the Mozart B-flat major Concerto K.595 with the Shin Philharmonic Orchestra (currently NHK) and its conductor Hisatada Odaka.

The remarkable part of Michi’s story is that she has maintained a phenomenal career as performer and teacher as well as raising five sons – husband, Dr. Murray North passed in 2010. Currently, she teaches from her Bellevue home and one of her students was recently featured at Carnegie Hall. She still flies several times a year to teach master classes in Taiwan.

Michi cherishes her life as a wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother, but her early history in Japan is interesting. Michi’s grandmother was principal of Seishin (Sacred Heart) high school where the current Japanese Empress Michiko was also a student. The Hirata home also held the “han” or stamp used to sign the treaty at the end of the Russian/Japanese conflict in 1905.

General MacArthur recognized Michi’s talent, asking her to perform Gerswin’s “Rapsody In Blue” at one concert as he continued to use her for war recovery. The story is that the army wanted to use the Hirata’s large western style house as part of the occupation facilities. Michi remembers the soldiers canvassing the building. Michi’s father suggested she could not practice if they took over and thus saved their house.

Subsequently, Dr. Suzuki used their home to start his world famous Suzuki method violin program. Michi’s father, an established piano master himself, was friends with violinist, Shinichi Suzuki. They had studied music together in Germany in the 1920s.

Michi chooses to honor “The J” (JCCCW) and is excited to enhance our mission to share Japanese arts and values for intercultural understanding and international relationships.