Monica Ohuchi, pianist


"…commanding pianism…"

The New York Times, Anthony Tommasini

"…a pianist of the first rank… possesses a ravishing palette of color and who dispatches the most difficult passages with effortless grace."

- Jeffrey Kahane, conductor

"… Monica's playing evinced a natural empathy for the music's inherent joie-de-vivre… coupled with a sure-footed rhythmical and technical security…"

- Alasdair Neale, conductor


Hailed by the New York Times for her "commanding pianism", Monica Ohuchi maintains an active international career as a soloist, chamber musician, and piano pedagogue. Ms. Ohuchi has performed to wide acclaim from audiences across the United States, Canada, Japan, and Europe. Her concert engagements have brought her to such prestigious venues as Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall, Meany Hall of Seattle, the Canadian Opera Company’s Richard Bradshaw Amphitheater, and Hakuju Concert Hall in Tokyo, Japan. Ms. Ohuchi is regularly seen and heard on television and radio broadcasts across the country. Ms. Ohuchi made her orchestral debut at age ten with the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra performing Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto. Now, a seasoned performer, Ms. Ohuchi has been invited as guest soloist with numerous orchestras from coast to coast and abroad, most recently including the Colorado Symphony, Marin Symphony, and the New Millennium Symphony Orchestra of Gijon, Spain.

In May of 2011, Ms. Ohuchi performed the world premiere of Kenji Bunch’s Piano Concerto with the Colorado Symphony, conducted by Jeffrey Kahane. Of these world premiere concerts, Kahane describes Ms. Ohuchi as “…a pianist of the first rank… possesses a ravishing palette of color and who dispatches the most difficult passages with effortless grace.” A project overseen by Magnum Opus and Meet-The-Composer, and Ms. Ohuchi will continue soloing the concerto with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in their 2014-15 season.

An enthusiastic collaborator and active chamber musician, Ms. Ohuchi frequently performs in a duo with her acclaimed violist and composer husband, Kenji Bunch. Together, the husband and wife team recently joined the roster of fEARnoMUSIC, a Portland-based contemporary music ensemble, where they will also be serving as the groups Artistic and Executive Directors. In addition to these endeavors, Ms. Ohuchi performs with the piano quartet Thunder Egg Consort, and is a regular performer in the Chintimini Chamber Music Festival in Oregon, and with the Craftsbury Chamber Players in Vermont.

Ms. Ohuchi's debut album, titled Monica's Notebook was released on Helicon Kleos Classical Records in May of 2011. A set of twelve performance etudes written especially for her by Kenji Bunch, each etude in Monica’s Notebook examines a particular facet of contemporary piano technique, including the stylistic inflections of vernacular idioms, such as jazz, blues, and rock all the while paying homage to the rich tradition of performance etudes in the classical cannon.

Since capturing first prize at the Chinese International Piano Competition at the age of five, Ms. Ohuchi has been awarded top prizes in over twenty national and international piano competitions. Ms. Ohuchi won first prize at the 2006 William Garrison International Piano Competition, and is also the first prize winner of the Wayne Nadeau International Piano Competition, and the Dorthy A. Anderson International Piano Competition. Ms. Ohuchi is two-time U.S. national champion of the Music Teacher’s National Association Piano Competition, and is a four-time grand prize winner of the WIAA Washington State Piano Competition. Additionally, she was named a New York Steinway Hall Recital Award Recipient, as well as the Artist International Presentations Inc. Award Recipient.

Strongly committed to music education, Ms. Ohuchi is a much sought after piano pedagogue. Ms. Ohuchi is currently on faculty at Reed College, and has previously taught at the Juilliard School and Music in Chappaqua in New York. Ms. Ohuchi's students have been top prize winners in competitions, most recently winning the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 Music Teacher's National Association New York State Junior High School Piano Competition. Her students have also been featured at Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall and performed at New York's Steinway Hall.

A native of Seattle, Washington, Ms. Ohuchi began her piano studies at the age of two with her mother, Sumiyo Ohuchi. Ms. Ohuchi holds both a Master’s and Bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance from The Juilliard School where she studied with Julian Martin. Her past teachers include Marc Durand, Martin Canin, Bela Siki, and David A. Brown.

After fifteen years in New York City, Ms. Ohuchi recently relocated to Portland, Oregon where she now lives with her husband Kenji, their two children, and Pitbull-mix rescue dog. In her spare time, Ms. Ohuchi enjoys long distance running, and alongside Kenji has completed the 2008 and 2010 New York City Marathons as well as the 2009 Edinburgh Marathon.

Download Monica's presskit

Listen to and purchase "Monica's Notebook"
See Monica's concert schedule

A dedicated piano pedagogue, Monica Ohuchi has been teaching piano students ranging in age from three years old to adult for the past two decades. Prior to moving to Portland, Oregon, Ms. Ohuchi had a thriving private studio in New York City. Ms. Ohuchi is currently on faculty at Reed College in Portland, and has previously taught at the Juilliard School in the piano minor department and has been invited as a guest-artist clinician at piano and chamber music workshops across the country.

Ms. Ohuchi’s primary goal is to make piano playing enjoyable and rewarding, and also to nurture a lasting appreciation of music. Her patient and encouraging approach has allowed her to cultivate unique student-teacher relationships with each student. For beginners, Ms. Ohuchi aims to find the right balance of teaching the fundamentals of correct technique and posture at the keyboard, basic music theory, and an introduction to ear training. Her innovative teaching method blends ideas adapted from existing pedagogical methods, while incorporating her own instructional approaches accumulated through years of experience. For her more advanced students, Ms. Ohuchi strives to provide her students with the facility to express themselves at the piano. This includes working with technique, efficiency at the keyboard, sound production, and musical ideas, through repertoire suitable to each student’s abilities and tastes.

Ms. Ohuchi firmly believes that her active performing career and extensive competition experience work to inform and enhance her approach to teaching, offering the unique insights of a veteran of the concert stage to her students. Similarly, her work with her students inspires her to approach her own performing with constantly evolving ideas. She feels blessed to have the opportunity to pursue both passions.

Ms. Ohuchi is accepting new students into her private studio in SW Portland by interview only. Please contact her for further details.


Monica possesses the rare and invaluable combination of gifted teacher and passionate performer.  Her love of the piano permeates each engagement with her students. ... [Read more]

Margie H. - Brooklyn, NY
Monica is nothing short of a fabulous teacher. My daughter loved her from the very first lesson--a sentiment that all Monica's students and their parents share. ... [Read more]

Elizabeth D. H. - Brooklyn, NY
Monica's love of music -- and her love of teaching music -- is apparent from the moment she sits down at the piano bench.  She plays fluidly and passionately, and she inspires her students to do so as well. ... [Read more]

Lisa C. - Brooklyn, NY
When I was searching for piano teacher [for my daughter Angela], my greatest concern was to find a teacher who would not only teach how to play piano, but more importantly inspire a student to feel motivated to learn music and love playing piano. ... [Read more]

An H. - Chappaqua, NY
When Monica moved to Portland, my kids lost a beloved teacher, a mentor and a friend. ... [Read more]

Brooklyn Mom - Brooklyn, NY
My name is Angela, and I’m 17 years old. I started playing piano at the age of 5, and began playing under Monica’s guidance since I was 10...From a student’s perspective, when Monica teaches the environment is always warm and inviting, making every lesson feel very comfortable. ... [Read more]

Angela S. - Chappaqua, NY
Monica taught our daughter the piano for four years.  She is both a fantastic teacher and a wonderful person with a real understanding of how to work with children and teenagers. ... [Read more]

Vrinda K. - Brooklyn, NY
Monica is one of the most dedicated, passionate and caring piano teachers I have ever met. Learning with her for four years certainly proved that to me. ... [Read more]

Kasey L. - Ardsley, NY