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The enduring legacy of Michiko Morita Miyamoto

Submitted by Joanne De Pue on February 10, 2023 - 3:38pm
Michiko Morita Miyamoto
Michiko Morita Miyamoto

When five School of Music piano students performed concerto movements with Seattle’s Philharmonia Northwest at Meany Hall in May 2022, they honored the legacy of the late Michiko Morita Miyamoto, iconic pianist and teacher whose impact on generations of Seattle’s young pianists has been profound—and continues to this day.

Along with her own artistic output and her influence as a private teacher of scores of Seattle music students, the late pianist co-founded the long-running Seattle Young Artists Music Festival Association with an aim toward creating memorable performance and competition opportunities for promising young musicians, including performances with Philharmonia Northwest and other regional orchestras.

 Recently, at the UW School of Music, support from the extended family of the late artist has created an enduring source of support in the School of Music in the form of the Michiko Morita Miyamoto Professorship in Piano, currently held by Professors Robin McCabe and Craig Sheppard. They used resources from the professorship to bring Philharmonia Northwest to campus for the May performance. The professorship has also supported their own research and performance endeavors, including solo and collaborative recitals on the Meany mainstage.

“We are incredibly grateful to the extended family of Michiko Morita Miyamoto for providing us the resources to create these wonderful opportunities for our community,” Sheppard says. The students selected to perform last May were runners-up in the School of Music’s annual concerto competition, which identifies winners from three divisions to perform in a public concert with the UW Symphony. Normally just one pianist earns this coveted opportunity.

By adding this concert featuring five additional top performers, the students’ professors have made a tangible, immediate impact on the educational experience of more students in their performance studios and broadened the scope of possibility for all. As the students performed music by Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, and Saint-Saëns, their professors listened closely. The legacy of Michiko Morita Miyamoto was highly evident in that moment and in the professors’ plans for the future, which include a February 2023 return performance by the orchestra with four additional UW student pianists. 

“Michiko Miyamoto was a meaningful and supportive presence in my life,” says Professor
McCabe. “Her legacy of devoted and inspired teaching will continue as these professorships make possible the
encouragement of gifted and devoted students.”

Above: Piano students (left to right): Alice Liu, Kiwa Mizutani, Hanyan Zheng, Nicholas Tagab, Yiyi Chen (Photo: Craig Sheppard).

Save the Dates

Upcoming 2023 performances receiving support from the Michiko Morita Miyamoto Professorship in Piano:

All performances are at 7:30 p.m. at the Katharyn Alford Gerlich Theater, Meany Hall

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