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Naomi Nakanishi is a dynamic pianist, improviser, composer, currently based in Brooklyn, NY.  Their work aims to reconstruct, experiment and interact with sounds influenced by their comprehensive background in Black American Music, indie-folk tunes, and classical piano, inviting listeners with unique melodies, sonorous harmonies and unconventional phrasing.  


Recent work includes commissioned pieces Mirrored Hands (2023) and original film score to Oath of the Sword (2023) as well as their debut EP Hear Me Speak (2022).  As a composer and bandleader the essence of their work draws from their experiences as a queer, neurodivergent Asian American musician. They have performed at esteemed festivals and venues such as the Academy Museum in LA, Rochester International Jazz Festival, Birdland Jazz Club, Dizzy’s Club NYC, and D.C.’s Kreeger Museum with big bands and small groups.  Naomi has shared the stage with world renowned jazz musicians such as Miguel Zenón, Jimmy Cobb, DeeDee Bridgewater, and Tanya Darby and currently performs regularly with her quartet and trio.  

Naomi was recently selected to participate in the 2023 Avaloch Farm Residency and Mutual Mentorship for Musician’s 2022 Fall Equinox Cohort led by award-winning artists Jen Shyu and Sara Serpa, a fellowship focused on intergenerational mentorship and multidisciplinary collaborations with women and non-binary musicians of color. They were also a part of the 2022 Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Residency at the Kennedy Center and was a featured clinician and panelist for Eastman School of Music’s 2020 Gender Equity in Music Conference and 2022 Women in Music Festival.  

In addition to performance, Naomi is also passionate about music education and currently serves on faculty as a private piano and group instructor in NYC at Voyager Music and Anselmo Academy of Music and Arts. They recently conducted a series of workshops on racial and gender equity/identity through the Women of Jazz and Creative Music organization and the Esperanza Academy in Boston.  Naomi holds a Master’s Degree from the Berklee Global Jazz Institute led by Grammy award winning pianist, Danilo Pérez. There they performed regularly with their trio and various chamber ensembles. In addition Naomi has performed in numerous classical settings both as an accompanist and soloist. 

There is hardly a moment in Naomi’s life where they aren’t performing, teaching, or reflecting. They seek to inspire and continue learning from multiracial, queer coalitions, while curating more culturally rich and interactive experiences to all who listen to their music.

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