Press Release

 News & Information
Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc.
3-14-13, Higashigotanda, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 141-0022 Japan
August 25, 2021
Sony Computer Science Laboratories
Completes the inaugural class of the Academy Program for young pianists
- First Commemorative Concert to be held on November 8, 2021 -

Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc. (President and CEO: Hiroaki Kitano; hereafter referred to as Sony CSL) today announced the completion of the inaugural class of the Academy Program that offers a comprehensive combination of physical education and arts education to young pianists. Sony CSL launched the Academy Program in August 2020.

Using state-of-the-art physical and art education, the Academy Program precludes the buildup of negative pressures and enables a pianist to focus on the pursuit of outstanding musicality. It is the world’s first piano education program that enables young musicians to pursue excellence in musical expression and the sustainable development of skills as they pursue artistic maturity.

To mark the end of the Academy Program’s inaugural class, a commemorative concert will be held on November 8. It will feature performances from the nine pianists in the class, who have now undergone a full year of training and education, and their teachers: the Program’s Musical Director, Dina Yoffe, and her assistant lecturers who taught the class. You will be able to see how much the young artists have grown over the past year, as well as to enjoy the piano performance of Dina Yoffe, a world-class master of the piano, on this occasion.

 

The Music Excellence Project Academy Program

The Academy Program, announced on July 30, 2020, constitute a part of the Music Excellence Project created by Shinichi Furuya, a senior researcher at Sony CSL. By providing both physical and artistic education to young teenage pianists, the goal of the program is to ensure that each pianist will be able to continue creative and lively performances over the course of a lifetime, thereby contributing to the sustainability of a culturally enriched society.

The Physical Education Program utilizes the Physical Education for Artists Curriculum (PEAC), which is based on research and development to support proficiency in performance and to prevent physical injuries. This enables students to learn how the brain and body work (functions), how to make the best use of the body (skills), how to prevent both injury and the psychological stress that comes with failing to perform. To guide students to an awareness of their movement habits and posture during a performance, cutting-edge, high-precision sensing technologies are used to evaluate skills. In addition, students are guided how to memorize music efficiently based on neuroscience findings and how to avoid unnecessary straining during performance.

 

The Arts Education Program offers a world-class education, featuring the globally renowned pianist Dina Yoffe as Musical Director and lessons from six highly accomplished pianists who perform internationally. Learning directly from Dina Yoffe will greatly accelerate the development of teen pianists as they explore their musical potential. Through this program, pianists with professional ambitions will develop a robust physical foundation and master various forms of artistic expression while still in their teens. They will also be able to cultivate new ways of thinking and explore their creativity, key factors in the development of their musicality.

Through the comprehensive implementation of this physical education program (PEAC) and arts education program, the Academy Program strives to help pianists achieve their dreams, while systematically identifying issues and solutions that become clear during training. Also, the program aims to address such issues in order to succeed tacit knowledge and to create a seamless cycle of research and development.

The inaugural class of students in this one-year program improved their musicality and learned effective and appropriate methods of using their bodies and practicing. Even in arts education, where it could be difficult to use words to explain, the students overcame challenges efficiently with the help of advices based on scientific evidence. The assistant lecturers who taught the students commented, “Because the students were evaluated in various different ways, they learned how to think for themselves.” “It's very important for them to be able to focus on how to play while they are still in their teens, when they need to play a lot of new music.”

Furthermore, members of this inaugural class - Tomoya Otaki and Yuki Kimoto - won the first and second prizes at the 5th Tel Aviv International Piano Competition. This is the first time for both of them to be awarded in an international competition.

The Academy Program’s second year class will begin in September 2021.

 

Comment from Shinichi Furuya, Senior Researcher

What our Academy have been working on for the past year is co-creation. Our musical director Dina Joffe, assistant lecturers, talented students, and people at Sony CSL have worked together to create harmonies between arts education and physical education. Through the  co-creation, we have discovered that there is still so much room for growth in the education and the training we offer. My hope is that this concert will give you a sense of the young artist who continue to evolve together, taking on the challenge to break through their apparent limitations.

 

Piano Academy Inaugural Year Commemorative Concert

When: November 8, 2021 (Mon) 16:30 Doors open at 16:00, expected finish 19:30
Where: Hamarikyu Asahi Hall
General Admission: ¥3,000 Student (high school or younger): ¥1,000 (tax included)
Tickets will go on sale August 25 (Wed) and will be available for purchase through the Ticket Pia service
[Japanese only]: 0570-02-9999 | https://pia.jp/t | P-Code: 201-315

Performers
Musical Director: Dina Yoffe
Assistant Lecturers: Yuhi Ozaki, Takuya Tainaka, Mami Nishio, Hiroko Matsushita, Yui Yoshioka, Masaru Yoshitake
Piano Academy Inaugural Class: Riko Ando, Tomoya Otaki, Yuuki Kimoto, Aiko Shimada, Rin Suzuki, Yuu Matsuoka, Yuuto Yamazaki, Kisara Yonemitsu, Kotaro Watanabe

Hosted by Sony Computer Science Laboratories Inc.
Sponsored by NeuroPiano
With the cooperation of the Kawai Musical Instruments Manufacturing Co., Ltd., and the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST)

For more details, please visit this website.
URL:https://www.sonycsl.co.jp/pianoacademy20211108/
*Please be aware that the details of the concert are subject to change. Check the above website for the most up-to-date information.

 

Piano Academy: Second Year

Academy Program Staff & Roles
Musical Director: Dina Yoffe
Assistant Lecturers: Yuhi Ozaki, Takuya Tainaka, Mami Nishio, Hiroko Matsushita, Yui Yoshioka, Masaru Yoshitake
Lecturer: Arimune Yamamoto (Kawai Europe)
Technical Support: Yuki Ogasawara, Takanori Oku, Kaori Kuromiya, Hayato Nishioka, Masato Hirano (Sony CSL)
Organizer: Shinichi Furuya (Sony CSL)

Students (Year 2) (Selected by audition*)
Tomoya Otaki, Shintaro Kida, Yuuki Kimoto, Nanase Koyama, Rin Suzuki, Kantaro Narita, Riona Yamauchi, Yuto Yamazaki, Yurina Yamashita, Kotaro Watanabe

Term: 2021 September – 2022 August (expected)
With the cooperation of the Kawai Musical Instruments Manufacturing Co., Ltd., and the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST)
*The next round of auditions has not yet been scheduled.

 

About Professor Dina Yoffe

Originally from Riga, Latvia. Studied under Prof. Vera Gornostaev at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory of Music in Moscow. Top-prize winner at the Schumann and Chopin International Piano Competitions. Has performed at international music festivals around the world, including in Europe, Japan, the United States, and Israel. Has given concerts with numerous outstanding orchestras, notably the Israel Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta and the Japanese Radio Orchestra NHK under Neville Marriner. Also an active participants in chamber music festivals, where she has played with many internationally renowned musicians such as Yuri Bashmet and Michael Vaiman. Currently Artistic Director of the Musical Summer International Music Festival & Masterclasses in Malaga, Distinguished Professor at the Conservatory Liceu in Barcelona, and Visiting Professor at the Central Conservatory of Music in China. Has served on the jury of many international piano competitions. Honorary member of the Japan Piano Teachers Assocation. Judge at the 18th Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition (2021).

 

About Senior Researcher Shinichi Furuya

Studied mechanical engineering (BSc), human science (MS), and medical sciences (PhD) at Osaka University. After fellowships at the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Minnesota and the Institute of Music Physiology and Musicians’ Medicine at the Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media, became an associate professor in the Department of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Sophia University in Japan. Also served as director of Sophia University’s Music Skill and Injury Center and guest professor at the Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media, as well as a lecturer at Kyoto City University of Arts, Tokyo College of Music, and Elisabeth University of Music. Joined Sony Computer Science Laboratories in April 2017 as an associate researcher, assumed current position in 2021. Recipient of a special research fellowship and an overseas research fellowship from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, a fellowship for postdoctoral researchers from the Humboldt Foundtation, a Heisenberg Fellowship from the German Research Foundation (DFG) and a LEADER award from Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). In 2020, was awarded the Klein-Vogelbach Prize. An accomplished pianist who has performed at the Kobe International Music Contest (winning a prize) and the Ernest Bloch Muisc Competiton, and given a solo recital at the Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art.


Media inquiries:Corporate Communications, Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc.
csl-pr@csl.sony.co.jp
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