MARI AKAGI was born in Sendai, Japan and came to the United States at the age of nine where she studied piano and theory in the Preparatory Department at Heidelberg College (presently Heidelberg University; Tiffin, OH) and The Cleveland Music School Settlement (presently The Music Settlement). She graduated from Heidelberg College (B. Mus., piano and theory, Magna Cum Lauda) and The Cleveland Institute of Music (M. Mus., piano). After returning to Japan, she has given numerous solo and chamber music concerts in all parts of Japan, concentrating mostly on contemporary music and premiering of new works and has also appeared with various orchestras. She has premiered more than 60 works up to date. Presently she is on the faculty at Miyagi Gakuin Women’s University in Sendai, Japan.
Pianist and composer KEI AKAGI has been a mainstay of the international jazz world for over three decades. Known for his work as a member of the Miles Davis band, his career includes extended associations with major figures such as Stanley Turrentine, James Newton, Joe Farrell, and Airto Moreira. He has also performed or recorded with Art Pepper, Blue Mitchell, Freddie Hubbard, Ron Carter, Charlie Haden, Charnett Moffett, Tom Harrell, Eddie Harris, Slide Hampton, Steve Turre, Robin Eubanks, Allan Holdsworth, and others.
As a solo artist and leader, Akagi has recorded 12 CD’s. As a sideman and accompanist, he is on over 60 CD’s worldwide, including Miles Davis’ last recorded works.Akagi’s performance schedule revolves around two major international concert tours a year. As Professor of Music at the University of California, Irvine, he directs the jazz studies program, teaching jazz history, theory and composition, jazz piano, and performance. He is also a recipient of the distinguished title of UCI Chancellor’s Professor.