World famous Maestro Marin Alsop and sensational pianist Hayato Sumino during intense rehearsals with the NOSPR orchestra of Poland before their grand tour in Japan. — © Radosław Kaźmierczak / NOSPR
Every once in a while, a star emerges in the world of music and on rarer occasions the star dazzles brightly, outshining all contemporaries. This is the case with Hayato Sumino, the pianist from Tokyo.
Born in 1995, the Japanese pianist and composer began learning his instrument at the age of three. Whilst at university, Sumino’s musical performances, especially of the music by Frédéric Chopin, began to draw major international audiences and claiming national and multi-national prizes.
His renditions of Chopin are emotional rollercoasters of musical joy, especially his version of Nocturne in C minor op. 48 no. 1 which displays a captivating clarity of sound, with piano keys struck with a mix of scientific precision and artistic flair.
As well as mastering Chopin and having two albums released (Passion and HAYATOSM), Sumino has composed many of his own pieces including Big Cat Waltz and Tinkerland. As well as Chopin and his own works, Sumino masters the complexity of Franz Liszt superbly.
STEM meets the arts
Whilst at university, Sumino studied science and engineering, and this led to both a master’s degree and the President’s Award. His postgraduate studies included a spell researching music information processing technology and artificial intelligence at the French Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music.
Getting to the heart of Sumino’s appeal is straightforward: He is young, good looking, stylish, and very talented. He has also exploited social media fully, in order to promote his work and classical music in general.
Such is the young pianist’s appeal that in 2021, Sumino participated in the XVIII International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw. As he advanced to the semi-final), his virtuoso live performance attracted 45,000 online viewers and in turn this set a digital audience record for the competition.
As well as an acclaimed piano player, Sumino is also a YouTuber who goes under the codename of “Cateen”. The channel boasts over 1 million subscribers and one video recording – ‘7 levels of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” – has received over 8 million views. The seven variations are a homage to W. A. Mozart.
The seven variations are a delight, with Sumino displaying his dazzling finger technique and wrist technique, with each of the seven levels building up upon the previous level:
- Level 0 – sleepy kids
- Level 1 – early wake alarm
- Level 2 – pianate
- Level 3 – doodle doodle dance
- Level 4 – horror intro
- Level 5 – Archestra
- Level 6 – early sunshine
- Level 7 – peak of enthusiasm
Several other videos demonstrate Sumino’s captivating improvisation skills, especially the ones where he performs to larger, enthusiastic audiences. Some performances veer into jazz, showing his talents extend beyond classical.
As Cateen he also has 148,000 followers on Instagram; 121,000 followers on Twitter; and 18,000 Facebook fans. These are levels of social media following that seldom befall a classical music musician.
Sumino has also previously featured on the pages of Digital Journal.
Sumino is currently on an international tour, performing to packed venues. In September, the sensational pianist will be touring Japan with the Polish symphony orchestra NOSPR, which is one of the best European orchestras. These recitals will be conducted by the world-famous Maestro Marin Alsop, the music director laureate of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. The concerts feature symphonic classics (Brahms), as well as representatives of Slavic cultures (Dvořák), and, of course, plenty of Chopin.
Catch a performance if you can.