Award-winning Japanese pianist and composer Hiromi Uehara refuses to define herself or her music. She prefers to play and let her audience make up their own minds about what to call her music, saying, “It’s just the union of what I’ve been listening to and what I’ve been learning.” Known for her passionate physical performances, virtuosity, and the ease with which she merges genres, Hiromi’s reluctance to use labels hasn’t hampered her ability to successfully produce and share her music with the world, to critical acclaim.
Born in Hamamatsu, Japan, Hiromi—who goes by her first name—started piano lessons at age 6 with a teacher who taught her to focus on the intuitive side of the instrument as well as the technical. When she subsequently studied at the Yamaha School of Music, she had already learned about jazz pianists like Oscar Peterson and had written her own compositions. She performed throughout her childhood, playing with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra at 14 and at a show with Chick Corea at 17.
Hiromi moved to Boston to attend Berklee in 1999 and was signed to the label Telarc prior to graduation. From her debut album, 2003’s Another Mind, to her latest and 10th album, Spark, Hiromi has won accolades and performed with an impressive array of musicians, including contrabass guitarist Anthony Jackson, drummer Simon Phillips, guitarist David Fiuczynski, and drummer Lenny White. Her albums, both as leader and as featured performer, have won multiple awards including a Grammy for Best Contemporary Jazz Album, a Rising Star: Piano award in DownBeat’s Critics Poll, and best jazz act at the Boston Music Awards. She has performed at numerous festivals and events worldwide.