PASADENA — Pianist Ray Ushikubo will play Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” with the Pasadena Symphony on Saturday, Nov. 5, at the Ambassador Auditorium, 131 S. St. John Ave. in Pasadena.
Shows are at 2 and 8 p.m. Pre-concert discussion begins one hour before the concert.
The program will also include Copland’s “Appalachian Spring Suite” and Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade.”
Exhibiting an innate musicality well beyond his 15 years, Ushikubo has already performed on the stages of Carnegie Hall and Merkin Concert Hall in New York City, and on NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” Since his solo orchestral debut at age 10 with the Young Musicians Foundation Orchestra at Los Angeles’ Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, he has appeared with world-renowned pianist Lang Lang at Orange County’s Segerstrom Concert Hall, and with pianist and conductor Jeffrey Kahane and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra at UCLA’s Royce Hall.
A recipient of the prestigious Davidson Fellow Laureate Award in 2014, Ushikubo won the 2016 Piano Concerto Competition at the Aspen Music Festival and School.
During the 2016–2017 season, Ushikubo is making his debut with the Pasadena Symphony and the Modesto Symphony Orchestra performing “Rhapsody in Blue” with conductor David Lockington. He also performs the Grieg Piano Concerto with The Dream Orchestra at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica.
Recent engagements include performances with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra, the Los Angeles-based ensemble MUSE/IQUE, the Asia America Youth Symphony; with conductors Laura Jackson, David Benoit and Rachel Worby. At age 13, he performed and conducted from the keyboard Bach’s Keyboard Concerto in D minor, BWV 1052, with the Academy Virtuosi at the Colburn School.
More recently, Ushikubo has given solo recitals at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and at the Colburn School. He has also been a featured guest artist on Rob Kapilow’s “What Makes It Great?” series at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, on San Diego’s Mainly Mozart’s series “Mozart & the Mind,” and at the Griffith Observatory as part of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s “Immortal Beloved” celebration, where he performed Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.
Also an accomplished violinist, Ushikubo made a special appearance in August 2015 as piano and violin soloist in a concert presented by Grand Performances in Los Angeles. The program featured him performing traditional classical works alongside jazz pianist Alfredo Rodriguez and electronic musician Daedalus, who “remixed’” improvised versions of the classical works, crossing the genres of classical, electronic music, and jazz. Ushikubo also joined both artists in an improvisatory encore.
He has performed as violin soloist at the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s 2014 Gala celebration, “StradFest,” and with the New West Symphony as part of their Symphonic Adventures Program. He performed as piano soloist at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center for a peace ceremony honoring Hiroshima atomic bomb victims.
A 2014 Davidson Fellow Laureate, Ushikubo was awarded $50,000 by the Davidson Institute for his music project “Circle of Life in Music.” Other awards include first prize at the first Steinway Concerto Competition at the 2015 Colburn Music Academy Piano Festival, the Young Artists Piano Prize at the 2013 Mondavi Young Artists Competition, the 2012 Steinway Prize for the best performance of a Beethoven Sonata, and first prize at the 2010 International Russian Music Piano Competition. He was a Gold Prize winner in the 2009 AADGT International Music Competition for piano and violin, leading to his Carnegie Hall debut.
He has been featured several times on the nationally syndicated radio program “From the Top,” and was named one of its Jack Kent Cooke Young Artists. He has also been a featured speaker at TEDx Redmond.
Since 2010, Ushikubo has studied piano with Ory Shihor at the Colburn School’s Music Academy, a pre-college program designed to prepare extraordinary young artists for careers as well-rounded professional musicians, where he is a Camille and Arnon Adar Scholar. At the Music Academy, he also studies violin with Robert Lipsett. He has attended the Aspen Music Festival and School and the Innsbrook Institute Summer Music Academy.
His other interests include math, wakeboarding, watching action movies, and Mercedes Benz automobiles.