Pianist siblings to launch school’s spring music series

In the first of three concert weekends in Heidelberg University’s New Music Spring 2014 festival, the school of music and theater is to welcome pianist siblings Mari Akagi and Kei Akagi for a concert at 8:15 p.m. Thursday.

Mari Akagi, a 1972 Heidelberg graduate, received a master’s degree from The Cleveland Institute of Music before returning to her native Japan, where she is a teacher and frequent performer. Her repertoire includes performing contemporary solo and chamber music and premiering new works (more than 60 to date).

Her brother, pianist and composer Kei Akagi, has been a mainstay of the international jazz world for more than two decades. He is known for his work as a member of the Miles Davis Band in the late 1980s. He has recorded 12 CDs as a solo artist and has appeared on more than 40 CDs as a sideman and accompanist.

For their local concert, Mari is to present works by contemporary Japanese composers and Kei’s program is to feature jazz works. Together, they are to perform two recent works for duo piano.

The free concert is to be in Brenneman Hall on the Heidelberg campus.

This year, Heidelberg is spreading out its concerts for the New Music festival. Additional performance dates are March 29 and April 4-5.