The sensational Japanese pianist Hayato Sumino enchants the world with Chopin’s music

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The sensational Japanese pianist Hayato Sumino enchants the world with Chopin's music

The Japanese pianist Hayato Sumino performs on the stage in the Chamber Hall of the Warsaw Philharmonic. Photo: © Darek Golik, NIFC

In October, the renowned Japanese pianist Hayato Sumino will take the stage of the Polish Warsaw Philharmonic at the 18th International Chopin Piano Competition. The 26-year-old Sumino is an internet sensation with 798,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel.

More than 500 pianists worldwide have applied for the music tournament and presented their recordings to the international jury in Warsaw. After the preliminary round, which took place from July 12 to 23, 2021 in the Chamber Hall of the Warsaw Philharmonic, the jury of world-famous pianists and teachers selected the 26-year-old Sumino and 86 other pianists for this prestigious competition, one of the most important musical events in the world.

But it was no surprise that the young pianist received this award. Hayato’s Warsaw recital was his musical acid test, in which he played Fryderyk Chopin’s cosmic pieces with tenderness and finesse at their best.
The Japanese pianist Hayato Sumino performs on the stage in the Chamber Hall of the Warsaw Philharmonic.
Photo: © Darek Golik, NIFC

Sumino began his concert with Nocturne in C minor op. 48 no. 1, a tremendously emotional experience that confirms the power of Chopin’s music.

Then there were two mazurkas, two etudes, and at the end he played a soulful ballad in F major op.38 with remarkable clarity of sound, skipping the length of the keyboard with scientific precision. There is no doubt that Chopin’s music is deeply rooted in Sumino’s heart.

The enthusiastic Warsaw audience rewarded Sumino with huge applause, which exceeded that of all participants in the qualifying round. Several people confirmed this observation during a telephone conversation with the author.

The first international Fryderyk Chopin piano competition took place in Warsaw in 1927. In addition to his great role in popularizing Chopin’s music, he discovered the most extraordinary pianistic talents and opened the doors to the world’s leading concert halls for them.
The Japanese pianist Hayato Sumino performs on the stage in the Chamber Hall of the Warsaw Philharmonic.
Photo: © Darek Golik, NIFC

The Chopin Competition has opened international careers for many former award winners, including Halina Czerny-Stefanska, Adam Harasiewicz, Maurizio Pollini, Martha Argerich, Garrick Ohlsson, Krystian Zimerman, Stanislav Bunin, Daniil Trifonov, Krzysztof Jabłoński, Mitsukysztof Jabłoński, Blech Yulianna Avdeeva and the winner of the last competition Seong-Jin Cho.

A gifted musician, Sumino began playing the piano at the tender age of three and gave concerts in front of a large, enthusiastic audience in his home town of Tokyo. In addition to music, the young Sumino was interested in science and technology, so after graduating from high school he entered the University of Tokyo and in March 2020 graduated from the School of Information Science and Engineering with honors and received the President’s Award.

He then went to France to research music information processing technology and artificial intelligence at the French Acoustic Music Institute (IRCAM).
The Japanese pianist Hayato Sumino performs on the stage in the Chamber Hall of the Warsaw Philharmonic.
Photo: © Darek Golik, NIFC

With his passion for all areas of music, Sumino is very active in the jazz scene and often performs at Blue Note Tokyo, which is considered one of the most influential jazz clubs in the world. Last April, Sumino was invited to perform at Japan’s Jazz Auditoria Online2021, where he played Rhapsody in Blue. Once again he illuminated George Gershwin’s composition, which was characterized by his piano-pyrotechnic bravura, which made his interpretation shine. He is also a member of the avant-garde city soul music group “Penthouse”.

But Sumino wanted to test his classical virtuoso skills, so he decided to take part in numerous music competitions. As a result, he won many prestigious awards, including first prize at the National Piano Teachers Competition of Japan (PTNA) and the gold medal at the International Chopin Piano Competition in Asia.

Sumino always finds time to share his skills and knowledge with hundreds of thousands of music lovers and admirers, give lectures across Japan and regularly stream his performances live on YouTube. He undoubtedly brings classical music closer to a younger generation.
The Japanese pianist Hayato Sumino performs on the stage in the Chamber Hall of the Warsaw Philharmonic.
Photo: © Darek Golik, NIFC

His most recent solo album HAYATOSM, which included the music of Chopin, Franz Liszt and his compositions, achieved worldwide success and was selected by the Digital Journal for the world’s best classical albums for 2020.

Especially when he performs Chopin’s music, it appeals to the hearts and souls of music lovers who, in these difficult times, are hungry for the sound of Polish romanticism.

Sumino’s skill, grace and sensitivity to Chopin’s groundbreaking music force us like no other to reflect on everyday life full of emotions and unforeseen events. His piano style and the articulation of each note are virtuoso and poetic, demonstrating the outstanding piano art that draws the listener’s attention to the immortality of Chopin’s music.

The Fryderyk Chopin Institute is the organizer of the International Chopin Piano Competition. The preliminary auditions were broadcast live online to over 4 million music lovers worldwide. The official opening of the Chopin Competition will take place on October 2, 2021 in the Warsaw Philharmonic.
The Japanese pianist Hayato Sumino performs on the stage in the Chamber Hall of the Warsaw Philharmonic.
Photo: © Darek Golik, NIFC

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Hayato Sumino performed the following program in the preliminary round of the 18th Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition. Below you will find Chopin’s works on period instruments played by various pianists:

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A photo story behind the scenes of the Fryderyk Chopin Competition shows Hayato Sumino in an emotionally charged situation before his recital in front of a jury of world-famous pianists

Hayato Sumino can be seen shortly before he enters the chamber hall stage of the Warsaw Philharmonic. Photo: © Wojciech Grzędziński, NIFCHayato Sumino can be seen shortly before he enters the chamber hall stage of the Warsaw Philharmonic. Photo: © Wojciech Grzędziński, NIFCHayato Sumino can be seen shortly before he enters the chamber hall stage of the Warsaw Philharmonic. Photo: © Wojciech Grzędziński, NIFCHayato Sumino can be seen shortly before he enters the chamber hall stage of the Warsaw Philharmonic. Photo: © Wojciech Grzędziński, NIFCHayato Sumino can be seen shortly before he enters the chamber hall stage of the Warsaw Philharmonic. Photo: © Wojciech Grzędziński, NIFCHayato Sumino can be seen shortly before he enters the chamber hall stage of the Warsaw Philharmonic. Photo: © Wojciech Grzędziński, NIFCHayato Sumino can be seen shortly before he enters the chamber hall stage of the Warsaw Philharmonic. Photo: © Wojciech Grzędziński, NIFCHayato Sumino can be seen shortly before he enters the chamber hall stage of the Warsaw Philharmonic. Photo: © Wojciech Grzędziński, NIFCHayato Sumino can be seen shortly before he enters the chamber hall stage of the Warsaw Philharmonic. Photo: © Wojciech Grzędziński, NIFC