Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, Alyssa Hironaka is a Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance student at the University of Washington studying under Craig Sheppard. She received a Bachelor of Music (2020) and Master of Music (2022) in Piano Performance as a student of Dr. Jonathan Korth at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, where she was also a graduate assistant of Dr. Elina Hamilton, Dr. Kate McQuiston, and Laurence Paxton. Ms. Hironaka learned from Ellen Masaki, Ethel Iwasaki, Dr. Thomas Yee, and Dr. Katy Luo before embarking on her collegiate music studies, and has performed in masterclasses by Jon Nakamatsu, Anderson and Roe, Haewon Song, and Thomas Sauer at the Aloha International Piano Festival and Dr. Momoro Ono, Jae-Hyuck Cho, Jeremy Denk, and Wu Han at UH Mānoa. Ms. Hironaka was also a participant in the Edward Auer Online Workshop, which enabled her to receive live, virtual lessons from Edward Auer, Junghwa Moon Auer, Émile Naoumoff, Christopher Harding, and Michael Chertock and perform in an online masterclass by Edward Auer.
Ms. Hironaka was awarded a gold medal at the 2019 Beijing-Hawaiʻi International Music Festival Piano Competition, second prize in the 2020 Charleston International Music Competition’s Fall Music Competition, and prizes in the Hawaiʻi State Division of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Young Artist Piano Competition in 2020 and 2021. Other accolades include the Ellen Masaki School of Music Piano Scholarship, Honolulu Piano Teachers Association (HPTA) Scholarship, Peter Coraggio Memorial Scholarship, Musical Moments with June Chun Piano Scholarship, UH Music Department Scholarship, and membership in the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) and Golden Key International Honour Society.
An aspiring solo and collaborative pianist, Ms. Hironaka’s recent highlights include performances for Punahou School’s PUEO program, the MoʻO School, the Morning Music Club of Honolulu, the Hawaiʻi Music Teachers Association (HMTA), and the Hawaiʻi Flute Society. Ms. Hironaka is also a former member of the University of Hawaiʻi Symphony Orchestra (UHSO) and performed with them during All Nippon Airways (ANA) Honolulu Music Week and at the Pacific Club with renowned mezzo-soprano Laurie Rubin. As an avid supporter of contemporary music, Ms. Hironaka has recorded and premiered works by Tyler Ono, Hung Wen, Yoomee Baek, James Finamore, and Andrew Filson and has been a part of Dr. Thomas Osborne’s Contemporary Music Ensemble at UH Mānoa. Under the supervision of Dr. Michael-Thomas Foumai and Dr. Donald Reid Womack, Ms. Hironaka composed a piece for piano and flute entitled Arachnetella. Inspired by “Arachne and Minerva” from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Arachnetella was premiered in 2019 by Ms. Hironaka and UH Mānoa Classics Department Chair and flutist Dr. Daniel Harris-McCoy. Other works by Ms. Hironaka include solo arrangements, short character pieces, and pieces using extended techniques.
Ms. Hironaka began teaching piano at the Masaki School of Music on July 6, 2019—10 years after her first lesson with Ellen Masaki on July 6, 2009 as one of her last students. A passionate arts administrator, Ms. Hironaka has been a social media and graphics editor for HMTA since 2018 and joined the HMTA Board of Directors in 2022 as media chair, webmaster, and one of several directors. Under the UH Mānoa Outreach College, Ms. Hironaka has also written program notes for the Hawaiʻi tours of visiting Van Cliburn International Piano Competition artists Kenneth Broberg, Daniel Hsu, Rachel Cheung, and Dmytro Choni.
When she is not tickling the ivories (or showing others how to), Ms. Hironaka loves engaging in photography and digital art.