Dr. Rie Tanaka is a Pianist, music educator, and wellness specialist.
Native of Osaka, Japan, Rie is a prize winner of international and national competitions in Japan and the U.S., winning top prizes in MTNA Young Artist Competition, Schubert Club Competition, Chautauqua International Piano Competition, Rosenstock International Piano Competition, to name a few.
Rie maintains a full concert schedule for solo and chamber performances. She was featured on Minnesota Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Radio, StarTribune, Des Moines Symphony Orchestra’s DMSO at Home, Leif Eriksson International Festival, among many regional channels and concert series. She has appeared in venues such as NHK Osaka hall, Phoenix hall in Osaka Japan, the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, Landmark Center in St. Paul, Thrasher Opera House in Wisconsin, among others.
As a chamber musician, she often collaborates with her husband and cellist Jesse Nummelin (assistant principal Cellist of Des Moines Symphony Orchestra) as Duo Ihana. She has been a guest pianist with the South Beach Chamber Ensemble for their annual Wisconsin tour for the past 8 years, performing numbers of major Piano Trios, Quartets, and Quintets. She has collaborated with members of the Minnesota Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Phoenix Symphony, South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, and many other notable musicians.
Rie’s passion to create an innovative performance of Classical music lead to a collaborative partnership with a ballet dancer and choreographer Ms. Yuki Tokuda. Together they founded a multi-disciplinary group, “Mirage Performing Arts” in 2019. Their inaugural concert was sold out for all three shows, and was featured as “the week’s best Classical concert” by StarTribune. They most recently performed “Virtual Holiday Benefit Concert,” featuring works and arrangements of Tchaikovsky with a unique spin of the Covid-era, and successfully raised over $1,000 for a Covid-19 relief fund.
Rie has been an advocate for musician’s wellness ever since she went through injuries on both of her wrists in 2012. As a certified Yoga instructor through Yoga Alliance with an RYT 200, she has lead Yoga classes and lectures at Green Lake Chamber Music Camp, Saint Paul Chamber Music Institute, and Minnesota International Piano Camp. She co-directed an online wellness program “Peaceful Musicians” at the University of Arizona as well as independently. She presented her doctoral thesis, “Wellness for Musicians; Blueprint to Your Very Own Injury Prevention Course,” at various Music Teachers Associations in states of Minnesota, South Dakota, and Washington.
Rie received her B.M. from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, studying under Dr. Raffi Besalyan, M.M. and D.M.A. from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, where she studied with Alexander Braginsky, and served as a Piano Teaching Assistant for five years. She currently teaches Piano at the Saint Paul Conservatory of Music and Mount Olivet School of Music. She lives in Mound, MN with her husband Jesse Nummelin and Bengal-mix cat Munchie.