ICU Student Wins Prize at International Chopin Piano Competition


ICU first-year student Aya Nakajima was awarded gold prize at the 14th International Chopin Piano Competition in Asia in the category for amateur soloists.

Ms. Nakajima has been playing the piano since the age of three. She first encountered Chopin when she was in the fifth grade and fell in love with the piano through her appreciation of the composer’s use of melody and harmony.

With an attitude of always wanting to improve, she continued until she was able to conquer those things that she was originally unable to play. In the case of the Chopin competition, after deciding to enter, she used ICU practice rooms or rented practice rooms off campus and spent the better half of her time outside class preparing her entry piece.

On her feeling after winning, Ms. Nakajima said, “I’m thrilled that I could take home the gold prize. There was a difficult time when I was a second year student in junior high school and no matter how much I practiced I didn’t improve. But I think I was able to win the prize this time as a result of the practicing I did back then. I really felt the payoff from all that effort. I also want to work hard on things other than music now, on studying Spanish, international relations, and so on, so that I can become the type of person who can play an active role throughout the world, which was something I’d had a vague idea of wanting to become ever since I was little.”