Dr. Rie Tanaka is a Pianist, music educator, and wellness specialist.
Native of Osaka, Japan, she 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 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. She is on the roster of performance artists of the Thursday Musical Concert Series, Schubert Club Courtroom Concert Series, Hastings Arts Center Coffee Concert Series, South Beach Chamber Ensemble, and the Saint Paul Conservatory of Music Coffee Concert Series.
As a chamber musician, she often collaborates with her husband and cellist Jesse Nummelin as Duo Ihana. Their performance has been featured on American Public Radio’s “Your Classical”, Leif Eriksson International Festival, Des Moines Symphony Orchestra’s DMSO at Home, and many local and regional concert series. She also collaborated with ballet dancer and choreographer Yuki Tokuda, co-directing and performing sold-out concerts “MIRAGE,” which was named as one of “week’s best Classical concerts” by StarTribune. She is frequently a guest artist for Miami based chamber group South Beach Chamber Ensemble, and has been featured on Wisconsin Public Radio for their annual “Up North” concert tour.
Rie is passionate about musician’s wellness from her own experience of performance injury and recovery. She is a RYT200 Yoga Alliance Certified Yoga teacher, and developed and taught her original program “Wellness for Musicians,” designed to help musicians to prevent performance injuries, at Green Lake Chamber Music Camp, Saint Paul Chamber Music Institute, and Minnesota International Piano Camp. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, she co-founded and co-directed an online course “Peaceful Musicians” which aims to promote a peaceful body, mind, and heart for all musicians. Along with her co-founders Amanda Rice and Amanda Leger-Harewood, they taught this course at the University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music, as well as independently.
To build a culture of healthy musicians, Rie believes that it is essential to educate teachers to incorporate wellness into their classrooms and studios as well. In her doctoral thesis, “Wellness for Musicians; Blueprint to Your Very Own Injury Prevention Course,” she introduces applicable ways and models that individual teachers can implement into their own teaching. She has presented this lecture 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.