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Mari Yoshihara

Mari Yoshihara, a professor in the American studies department at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, will compete in the 7th Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition.

To prepare for the competition, Yoshihara will be performing her entire program at Orvis Auditorium on Monday, June 6, 7:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

The competition is one of the most prestigious nonprofessional competitions in classical music. This year’s contest features 72 nonprofessional pianists from 21 countries and runs from June 19–25 in Fort Worth, Texas.

More about Mari Yoshihara

As an avid amateur pianist, Yoshihara continues to engage music both in her scholarship and in her personal life. Based on her fieldwork at the 13th International Van Cliburn Piano Competition in 2009, she published Van kuraibaan kokusai piano konkuuru—Shimin ga hagukumu geijutsu ivento [Van Cliburn International Piano Competition: An Art Event Nurtured by the Civic Community]. Through a history of how this competition became one of the world’s most prestigious piano competitions, a social analysis of the Fort Worth community’s civic involvement in the competition and a documentary account of the 2009 competition, the book explores such themes as the role of competitions in the music world, the relationship between arts and the local community, arts and the media and more.

Yoshihara’s other writing includes Musicians from a Different Shore: Asians and Asian Americans in Classical Music, which examined how Asians and Asian Americans have come to gain prominence in the field of Western classical music and how their racial, gender, class and cultural identities relate to music-making. She is currently working on a book about Leonard Bernstein and U.S.-Japan relations.

Her scholarly work on music has led her to return to her own piano playing. She studies with Thomas Yee and gives annual recitals in Honolulu. In June 2014, she won first place in the Aloha International Piano Festival Amateur Competition held in Honolulu.

More on the Van Cliburn Foundation

The Van Cliburn Foundation, founded by the American pianist whose victory in the 1958 Tchaikovsky Competition propelled him to worldwide celebrity, runs a competition for young aspiring performers that has vaulted many to prominent careers. Since 1999, the Van Cliburn Foundation has also run a competition for nonprofessional pianists age 35 and above. Many—but not all—of these competitors have formal studies in music, but have established careers in science, industry, the arts and homemaking.

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