Kai Ono is a composer-pianist, raised in the bustling suburbs of Irvine, California and currently living in the mosaic city of Queens, New York. He likes the color grey, the sound of laughter, and things that fly.
A player and writer of multiple genres, Kai has demonstrated his prowess in performance and composition with his numerous national and international awards in competitions, including his recent Downbeat Magazine student award for a big band composition and Rosalyn Tureck Award for a Bach performance. Recently, he was a featured artist in the Classical Beat festival in Eutin, Germany, where he had the opportunity to perform in classical and jazz groups as well as give a European premiere of one of his pieces.
Kai’s primary goal as an educator is to teach freedom in musicians. Through his years of teaching, he has emphasized technique and ear training that give students the choice to perform difficult classical works, read jazz chords, play pop songs by ear, or freely improvise. Recently graduated from the University of Kansas with a BM in Piano Performance and Composition with distinction, Kai is eternally grateful for his amazing mentors he’s had thus far – classical piano with Dr. Scott McBride Smith and jazz with TJ Martley.