As a collaborator, Ms. Niekawa is currently involved in three duo ensembles: duo526, with violinist Kerry DuWors; Duo Feathers, with pianist/composer Hwaen Ch’uqi; and Duo Oto, with violinist Yuka Sato. In 2012, duo526 performed in the United States and Canada with a program consisting of several violin sonatas and their own arrangement of Stockhausen’s Tierkreis. The duo has coached with Jean Barr, Charles Castleman, Henk Guittart, Roger Tapping, and the Lafayette Quartet. It has been twice invited (2011 and 2012) to the creative residency program at the Banff Centre for the Arts. Duo Feathers released its first CD in September, 2012, featuring the newly composed Twenty-Five Preludes by Hwaen Ch’uqi. Recent performances include engagements in Rochester, NY, New York City, and Lancaster, PA. Duo Oto has performed both in Japan and the United States since 2008. The duo won the second prize from the Yokohama International Competition in 2010. In 2012, the duo commissioned and premiered a trio work by Sheridan Seyfried. In addition to the above ensemble engagements, Ms. Niekawa was appointed as a collaborative pianist in 2009 and 2010 for the summer masterclasses at Banff.
In addition to premieres of new works, her interest in contemporary music and improvisation led her to inaugurate a series of concerts from 2009-2011 in Tokyo, Japan, featuring the works of living Japanese composers. Ms. Niekawa also frequently takes part in the free improvisation scene, joining with musicians of different genres in the New England area. Ms. Niekawa’s expertise is not limited to the piano. She also performs regularly as a harpsichordist.
Ms. Niekawa has garnered top prizes at the Lee Competition in South Dakota, the MTNA
Competitions in both New York and Massachusetts, the Viardo International Competition in Texas, and the Yokohama International Competition in Japan. In addition, she has participated in numerous festivals and master classes, including the Hamamatsu International Piano Academy in Japan, the Prussia Cove International Musicians Seminar, the Banff Centre for the Arts, and the Atlantic Music Festival. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music, as a student of Thomas Schumacher; and her Master of Music degree from the New England Conservatory, under Patricia Zander and Irma Vallecillo. She completed her doctoral degree at the Eastman School of Music, where she had studied with Natalya Antonova and had also served as both her teaching and accompanying assistant.
Ms. Niekawa is currently based in the Boston area, freelancing as a pianist, teacher, and collaborator, as well as being a staff pianist at New England Conservatory and a pianist at the Boston Ballet School. Her debut CD with Kerry DuWors as a duo will be released in May 2014. The duo will be touring in New England, Canada, and Japan throughout 2014-2015. For more performance schedule details, visit futabaniekawa.com