Mamiko Hirai

Musician, Composer, and Pianist

Mamiko is a 2012 recipient of the Washington Award from the S&R Foundation. As both a composer and concert pianist, Mamiko has developed a strong following in Japan. She makes her American solo debut this autumn as part of the Holiday Concert Series at the Evermay Mansion in Georgetown.

Mamiko spent her early years in Kentucky and moved to Kyoto at the age of five.  She started piano lessons at age four and, with her talent quickly discovered, began studying classical piano formally at the age of seven.  Her interest in composing music also began at that time. During her elementary school years, she entered various contests and won prizes for her piano performances as well as her musical compositions.

Mamiko majored in piano at Toho Gakuen Music High School and also Toho Gakuen College in Tokyo.  After graduating, Mamiko began performing as a live pianist in theatrical events and other shows, while continuing to pursue her interest in composition, writing music for motion pictures, television programs, and commercials. She provided the music for numerous television commercials, for companies such as Canon, Shiseido, Pilot, and Rohto.  She wrote the theme song for the NHK-BS television series, Nippon Juudan Kokoro Tabi ("Journeys of the Heart Across Japan") as well as background music for many other shows.  Mamiko also was in charge of the musical soundtracks for twelve movies released throughout Japan, including nine films directed by Yoshihiro Fukagawa, such as Byaku Yakou ("Into the White Night"), released in 2011, and Rokuju-sai no Rabu Retaa ("Love Letters at Age Sixty"), released in 2010. 

Internationally, Mamiko performed as part of the Japanese Festival in Florence, Italy in 2005 and also appeared together with the classical guitarist Soichi Muraji at the S&R Foundation-sponsored “Music on the Potomac” concert in 2011.

While continuing to compose for the motion picture and television screens, in recent years Mamiko has been focusing her energies on solo piano concerts and on creating a series of albums containing her “Piano Diary,” a collection of her original compositions. The first album, released in 2007, conveyed musical imagery of her day-to-day emotions as well as unforgettable moments from her life. Her second album, which in effect is Volume II in her Piano Diary, is scheduled for release this year. It strives to be a psychological portrait via piano, taking a closer look at the very essence of her soul and inner being. Her “Piano Diary,” which freely expresses every whim of her heart, is fundamental to Mamiko and could even be said to be the life-work of this talented young pianist-composer.

Overtures series performances by Mamiko Hirai