- Lloyd Dykk, Vancouver Sun
"Iwaasa fully gave herself over to the music, her emotional intensityflooding through the audience. The feeling with which she played tookthis piece from notes on a page to a stunning work of art."
- Diane Dakers, Victoria Times Colonist
“A dynamic performance… Iwaasa was fabulous.”
- Alexander Varty, Georgia Straight
Hailed in the press as a "keyboard virtuoso," Vancouver pianist Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa has performed as soloist and chamber musician in Canada, the United States and Germany. Known for her bold and innovative work, she has appeared for Vancouver New Music, CONTACT contemporary music (Toronto), New Works Calgary, Groundswell New Music (Winnipeg), the Victoria Symphony, the Aventa Ensemble (Victoria), Music on Main, Redshift, the Western Front, the Little Chamber Music Series That Could, Vancouver Pro Musica and has been broadcast on CBC Radio. Iwaasa has a shameless passion for contemporary music, and has performed numerous premières, including pieces written especially for her by Rodney Sharman, Jeffrey Ryan, Jocelyn Morlock, Emily Doolittle, Alexander Pechenyuk, and many others. Most recently Iwaasa presented the solo piano recital “Cosmophony” at the HR MacMillan Space Centre in Vancouver. This site-specific concert, which featured the premieres of no less than nine new works by Canadian composers, was subsequently praised by the Vancouver Sun as a “brilliant” and “unforgettable” event.
Iwaasa performs regularly with Mark McGregor as the flute and piano duo Tiresias. Their debut CD, Delicate Fires, was recently nominated for a 2008 Western Canadian Music Award in the category of Outstanding Classical Recording. Delicate Fires was produced with the generous assistance of the Barbara Pentland fund, and features the first commercially released recordings of her Sonata Fantasy for solo piano and Trance for flute and piano. It also presents the premiere recordings of works commissioned by Tiresias from Rodney Sharman, Jennifer Butler, and Jocelyn Morlock.
Iwaasa's major teachers include Jane Coop, Menahem Pressler and Robin Wood. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of British Columbia, a Master of Music from Indiana University, and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Victoria, where she earned the Victoria Medal as the top graduating student in Fine Arts. She was also a two-time recipient of the prestigious Annual Grant from the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) for graduate studies at the Hochschule für Musik "Hanns Eisler" Berlin. Other awards include grants from the Canada Council, the BC Arts Council, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and the Alberta Heritage Foundation. Iwaasa is currently a Sessional Lecturer at UBC and instructor of piano at the Richmond Music School and the Salina Cheng Academy.