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Karin Kei Nagano | Cecilia String Quartet: Bio

Pianist Karin Kei Nagano was born in Berkeley, California in 1998 and began her academic and musical studies in Paris with Germaine Mounier. She also studied with Mr. Igor Lazko, Vadim Suhanov, Colette Zerah and Alexander Paley. She won numerous international competitions including First Prize at the Paris International Scriabine Competition, First Prize and Best Interpretation Prize at the Berlin International Piano Competition. She appeared with acclaim on the International Piano Series of St. Petersburg where she had been invited to perform and compete with other international prize winners. She again won the First Prize at the Anton Rubinstein International Piano Competition.

During the 2007-2008 season, Karin Kei Nagano made her debuts in her first concerto with orchestra, the Mozart's Concerto for piano and orchestra in C Major, K.246, in California with the orchestra of the famed professor and conductor, Dr. Wachtang Korisheli. She was the featured soloist in a National Public Television documentary. She was invited to perform concerts in Paris and Munich during the 2008-2009 season which concluded with Ms. Nagano making her debut with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal with Mozart's Concerto in A major, K. 414.

During the summer of 2010, we saw Karin Kei Nagano make her first professional international tour and her debut in Italy with the prestigious Baroque Tafelmusik Orchestra performing Beethoven's First Piano Concerto at the Reate Festival near Rome, concluding with a debut at the Elba Festival with Maestro and violist Yuri Bashmet and the Moscow Virtuosi Ensemble. The season followed with Ms. Nagano making several debuts in Germany, first with a recital for Freundeskreis at the National Theatre Bavaria, followed by her first major solo recital presented in the Steinway Recital Hall in Munich.

Karin Kei Nagano's 2011-12 season began with an invitation as featured soloist with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal for the opening of the new concert hall in Montreal, Quebec. A few months later had Ms. Nagano make her important and awaited Munich debut as concerto soloist in Beethoven's Concerto No.1 with Attacca Orchestra accompanied by Maestro Alan Bergius at the historic Concert Hall at Munich Hochschule, a performance which was followed by a regional tour of Bavaria with the orchestra. Her performances garnered exceptional reviews, such as in the legendary Suddeutsche Zeitung: "...the pianist played with immense sensibility creating extraordinary atmosphere and tone...". The season concluded with Karin Kei Nagano's second solo recital which is followed by her first recording.

Ms. Nagano's 2012-13 season found her particularly active in Germany making several debut performances including with the famed Bayerische Staatsorchester as featured soloist in Maestro Wolfgang Sawallisch's Grassau Festival as well as with the Schwaebisches Jugendsinfoniorchester.


Taking their name from St. Cecilia, the patron saint of music, the Cecilia String Quartet continue to win praise following their 2010 First Prize at the Banff International String Quartet Competition (BISQC). "The balance between expressiveness and interplay was almost dauntingly perfect," wrote the Berliner Zeitung after a performance in the Konzerthaus Berlin. European tours have taken the four Toronto-based Canadian musicians to the Concertgebouw Kleine Zaal (Amsterdam), Beethoven-Haus (Bonn), Wigmore Hall (London), and venues in Italy and Belgium.


The Cecilia String Quartet (CSQ) formed while students at the University of Toronto. They soon won acclaim for their ‘extraordinary commitment and maturity' (Montréal Gazette). Prizewinners at international string quartet competitions in both Osaka (2008) and Bordeaux (2010) and winners of a Galaxie Rising Stars Award in Canada, the CSQ went on to capture the First Prize at the BISQC. "With a stunning spirit of creativity that consistently celebrated risk-taking and discovery, the Cecilia Quartet impressed the distinguished jury above all others," said the competition's Executive Director, Barry Shiffman, when announcing the winners.


The CSQ now perform for leading presenters in Canada, the United States, and Europe. They are also Ensemble-in-Residence at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Music, a position that has been made possible by a generous gift from BMO Financial Group. Their concert recordings have been broadcast on more than a dozen international public radio networks, including Australia, Canada (CBC/SRC), and Germany. In addition to performing, they have a four-CD contract with ANALEKTA. The first recording of music by Dvořák was released in March 2012. The second recording of music by Janáček, Berg, and Webern, was released in March 2013.


Highly committed to teaching and outreach, the CSQ have held teaching duties at Austin Chamber Music Festival (Texas), San Diego State University (California), McGill University (Québec), QuartetFest at Wilfrid Laurier University (Ontario), Summer String Academy at Indiana University and were recent Quartet Fellows at the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. They have presented educational programs for elementary and high schools across Canada, the USA, Italy, and France. The CSQ actively seek to develop new audiences and their presentations have taken them to venues as varied as the Monarch School for Homeless Youth (San Diego) and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (Stanford).


The quartet enjoys developing innovative programming. In 2009 they created BLiM (Breathing Life into Music), a month-long residency in France in collaboration with ProQuartet and the Centres culturels de rencontre (Cultural Centres – Historic Monuments) association in France and Europe (ACCR). In 2010, they collaborated with the Afiara String Quartet in premièring and recording compositions by eight composers of the Common Sense Composers Collective at The Banff Centre. In 2011, they collaborated with actor and director Alon Nashman in the multimedia production The Snow Queen.


Min-Jeong Koh plays on a ca. 1767 Joannes Baptista Guadagnini violin, and Sarah Nematallah plays on an 1851 Jean Baptiste Vuillaume violin, both on loan from an anonymous donor. Rachel Desoer now performs on the 1929 Carlo Giuseppe Oddone cello on loan from the Canada Council for the Arts. The quartet would like to thank the anonymous donor and the Canada Council for the Arts for their generous support.

Karin Kei Nagano | Cecilia String Quartet

Mozart - Piano Concertos Nos. 12 & 13


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1 Piano Concerto in C Major No 13, KV 415 - 1/Allegro
2 Piano Concerto in C Major No 13, KV 415 - 2/Andante
3 Piano Concerto in C Major No 13, KV 415 - 3/Allegro
4 Piano Concerto in C Major No 12, KV 414- 1/Allegro
5 Piano Concerto in C Major No 12, KV 414- 2/Andante
6 Piano Concerto in C Major No 12, KV 414- 3/Allegretto
Karin Kei Nagano - Concerto pour piano no 13 en do majeur, K. 415, Allegro - Mozart

Karin Kei Nagano joins forces with the Cecilia String Quartet, for Mozart - Piano Concertos in A major, K. 414, and C major, K. 415. This pair of attractive and highly crafted piano concertos from 1782 are among the first such works Mozart composed after moving from Salzburg to Vienna in order to pursue his career as an independent artist. The woodwind parts are not structurally essential in these concertos, and Mozart himself authorized performances of the pieces a quattro, by a pianist with string quartet accompaniment, as in the present recording. What is thereby lost in sheer volume of sound can be gained through nuance, and these pieces are very effectively conveyed in the more intimate context of chamber music.

36 Total
PRI/Classical 24, The Romantic Hours
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Crossover Media Projects with: Karin Kei Nagano | Cecilia String Quartet