Martha Argerich was born in Argentina. She is considered one of the finest pianists in the world. In 1965, she won the first prize at the Warsaw International Chopin Competition. She has been invited to play with the world’s most prestigious orchestras and conductors, and at music festivals in Europe, Japan, and the United States.
She appeared with the Hiroshima Symphony Orchestra for a peace concert on August 5, 2015. Two days later, she visited Chugoku Denryoku Hall and played Akiko’s piano. Ms. Argerich said, “I think the piano loves to play Chopin, strangely enough. Apparently, the girl, Akiko, she used to love Chopin and play Chopin. Maybe the piano has the memory of this.” Ms. Argerich was subsequently appointed a “Peace and Music Ambassador of the Hiroshima Symphony Orchestra.” A CD made of the live recording of the peace concert in 2015, as well as a CD of a peace concert with Peter Serkin, were released at the same time.
Charles Richard-Hamelin was born in Canada. In 2014, he won the third prize at the Seoul International Music Competition and second prize at the Montreal International Music Competition. In 2015, he won second prize and the Krystian Zimmerman award for the best sonata at the Warsaw International Chopin Competition. This established him as one of the most important pianists of his generation. His first solo recording was released in 2015. He has performed with the Warsaw Philharmonic, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and many other prestigious orchestras.
He visited Hiroshima to perform with the Hiroshima Symphony Orchestra at a concert in February 2017. The day before the concert he played Akiko’s piano and attended a workshop on the theme of peace in the world. He said at the time, “I was very moved to play on this piano that was played by this young girl perished by the A-bomb. It was very emotional for me to be here and very honored to be a part of the commemoration of the tragedy.”
Peter Serkin was born in the United States. His father, Rudolf Serkin, was a prominent pianist in the 20th century. The younger Serkin plays a wide repertoire of pieces, spanning five centuries. He performs with orchestras and chamber music groups all over the world and conveys his passion for music through his recitals, recordings, and other musical activities.
In August 2017, Mr. Serkin visited Hiroshima and performed in a peace concert with the Hiroshima Symphony Orchestra. At that time, he played Akiko’s piano and was very moved by its sound. In fact, he was so struck by the piano that he played for longer than the scheduled time. He said, “This piano amazingly has a voice of its own, reminiscent of tone of some lovely old 18th and 19th century pianos, with its warm and human voice, which wants to sing! Its singing consoles us and can also express a gratitude for life itself.”
He has released a CD performing on Akiko’s piano and all proceeds from the sales of this CD will be used to help maintain the piano.
Peter Serkin, 72, died Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020.
Peter Adolf Serkin
Mami Hagiwara was born in Hiroshima. In 2000, at the age of 13, she became the youngest winner of the 27th Palma D’Oro International Piano Competition. In 2010, she was the first Japanese pianist to win the first prize at the 65th Geneva International Music Competition. This drew attention from across the world, as the Geneva Competition had not awarded the first prize in eight years.
As the granddaughter of hibakusha (A-bomb survivors), Ms. Hagiwara has played Akiko’s piano on many occasions over the years. She often takes part in concerts at elementary schools and in outdoor recitals. She talks about her own desire for peace and plays beautiful music.
Benjamin Frith was born in the United Kingdom. He was only 14 when he won the first prize at the Dudley Piano Competition. In 1989, he won the second prize at the Busoni International Piano Competition. (The first prize was not awarded.) He also won the first prize at the Rubinstein Piano Competition. Because he had declined invitations to play in Japan for some time, he was called a “mythical” pianist. When he heard about Akiko’s piano, he finally decided to visit Hiroshima in 2018, in his words, “to do the duty of a pianist.” Mr. Frith played Akiko’s piano at a salon concert held at Mr. Sakaibara’s workshop. He played pieces by Chopin, Scarlatti, and John Field, his music reflecting the charm of Akiko’s piano.