"There is no such thing as failure in creativity and composition. Procrastination is also not a bad thing... you're creating the entire time."
"Every composition needs to tell a story, portray an emotional journey or both."
"Think out of the box. Play your instrument in every way that you've never thought of... like you're exploring it for the first time."
AKIRA NAKANO grew up at the Colburn School of Performing Arts in both piano and percussion, soloing with numerous orchestras throughout Southern California as a youngster. He studied with Dr. Heewon Kwon with master classes from Jeffrey Kahane, Leon Fleischer, Ilana Vered, John Perry and Daniel Pollack. He was the winner of the 1st Annual Herbert Zipper Award in Music Composition amongst other piano competitions. Entering UCLA on a full ride piano performance scholarship, he won the UCLA Concerto Competition and graduated with a B.A. in Film & Television production.
Mr. Nakano spent over twelve years working as a video editor, writer, producer and live event director at TRW Space & Electronics, and went on to have 20+ years of video marketing/communications and film producing experience. He has since day-jobbed at WireImage, Johnson Fain, Gensler, Walter P Moore and LEAP and currently works as the Program Officer/Event Producer at the Fox Family Foundation whose mission is to break the link between poverty and blindness. In 2022, he spearheaded the First Annual Fox Family Foundation Vision Fair which provided free vision screening and classes throughout the underserved community.
Akira's play, "A Concerto for Claire", premiered at Zipper Hall at the Colburn School in 2002. He was the Music Director and on-stage pianist for Lodestone Theatre Ensemble's "Closer Than Ever" (L.A. Times Critics' Choice) in 2009 and resumed classical piano full time in 2010.
Akira returned to the Zipper Hall stage in March 2012 with a solo recital accompanied by Michael Sushel. In September 2013, he paired with the Dream Orchestra in a concert of Liszt, Rachmaninov and several original works. Since then, Akira has appeared as a performer/lecturer as part of the Great Speaker Series at the Beach Club in Santa Monica benefiting the California State Parks Foundation; soloed with the Southeast Symphony; and has played multiple engagements at the Huntington Library President's house for their donor dinners.
Akira founded the Los Angeles Inception Orchestra Young Composers Mentoring Program in 2017 and is thrilled to be combining his love of classical piano & composition and his producing skills in spearheading the organization. He led their debut concert in 2019 premiering his orchestration of Pictures at an Exhibition. In November 2020, he produced and moderated their 12-hour virtual conference and their culmination virtual event in August 2021. He has serve as the producer and orchestration coach for all of the Inception recording sessions and performances.
Akira has been a guest on multiple podcasts including Creative Innovators and Innovating Music, both hosted by Dr. Gigi Johnson; and has been a panelist at Digital Hollywood in 2019, SXSW EDU in 2021 and Amplify Music in 2021. He hosted The Inception Podcast which will return in 2024.
In December 2023, Akira was elected to the Board of Directors of the American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers (ASMAC) and is thrilled to have the opportunity to broaden the partnerships between organizations.
He is proud, humble and grateful to everyone who has made Inception the success that it has become.