Meet the Professor: Akiko Konishi Assistant Professor Akiko Konishi joined the Music Department in 2021.
Akiko Konishi joined the Music Department at Washington and Lee University as an assistant professor of music this year. Her primary area of research interests involves “something old and something new.”
Her long-term interest is centered around piano transcriptions of the Romantic era, many of which are remarkable works that are not yet part of the standard concert repertoire. Her newer and smaller project is based on an experience two summers ago at the Chautauqua Institution. Because of the pandemic, the institution’s music program shifted to a virtual format, and performers had to come up with a way to present chamber music recitals through remote collaborations.
“Many faculty members were not tech-savvy, so we worked closely with the IT department and an audio and video engineer to coordinate the productions,” Konishi said. “I documented everything I learned that summer regarding logistics, recording techniques and devices, to introduce basic tips for musicians to create ensemble performances by combining multiple tracks. While the process is challenging and the overall result can never replace a live performance, it worked as a way to continue collaborations during the lockdown.”
At W&L, Konishi collaborated this past fall term with the University Orchestra. She partnered with Chris Dobbins, the director, to present the world premiere of “Semplice,” a composition for piano and orchestra by Marcus Karl Maroney.
Before working at W&L, Konishi lived in Chicago for 11 years. Konishi was an undergraduate double major in music and English at Rice University in Houston, Texas. She completed her graduate studies at Yale University and the University of Houston. She recently taught Applied Piano lessons and Aural Skills I at W&L.
Keep reading as we ask Konishi to share her research interests, passions outside of teaching, a fun fact about herself and more.
What first attracted you to Washington and Lee University?
I was immediately drawn to the closely knit learning environment at W&L. It brought back fond memories of my undergraduate experience at Rice University, which had a similar sense of community.
Aside from teaching, what’s something that you’re passionate about? What do you do for fun?
I am an avid reader. I enjoy good food and wine. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I also enjoy the occasional late-night online shopping spree (my husband does not).
What is your favorite book?
“Never Let Me Go,” a novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, is one of my favorites. It is a haunting, dystopian love story that stays with you long after you read it. I also admire the fact that the author can write in any historical context or genre.
As a student, what was the best piece of advice you were given?
My mentor used to say that at his age (he continued to teach at age 99), he only wanted to laugh or cry when attending a performance. He taught me that performances should be emotionally heightened, with nothing mediocre or lukewarm in between, and this has always been my musical goal ever since.
Share a fun fact about yourself.
I have a dog named Shiner (Collie + Australian Shepherd). He was not named after the city (Shiner, Texas), nor does he have a black eye. I still think it’s a cool name for a dog anyway.
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