Tell us a bit about yourself.
While my formal name is His Excellency Count Maestro Don Kento Masuda, many of my close friends refer to me lovingly as “Kento.” As a sponsored Kawai Pianist, whose founder Koichi Kawai introduced pianos to Japan in 1886, I’ve made a point of dedicating my life to continuing the musical legacy. I currently serve as the Maestro to the Vatican under the order of Malta and am a voting member of the Recording Academy (The Grammy Foundation). I am an avid reader and naturalist and find myself spending time often writing memories into my journals.
How did you end up playing the piano?
After my formative years of being introduced to the finest classical composers such as Mozart, Beethoven, and Bach, at the age of five my parents purchased for me a piano which I quickly mastered. They saw in me the prodigious talent of a child who fluently spoke the language of music and by the time I was ten years old I won my first Yamaha Junior Original Concert competition. At age 17, I was playing professionally in New York, sponsored by the renowned Yamaha brand. While living in Manhattan I met producers such as Phil Rubin (the Village People) and Lee Shapiro (Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons.) I released my first album, “Wheel of Fortune,” in 1992. I have released nine subsequent albums with my latest album, “Loved One” released in 2014 and I have a new project in the works, which I look forward to sharing with the public in the near future.
How did you become a Kawai Pianist?
I have played Kawai pianos exclusively for the last six years and currently, serve as the titled leading pianist of the Kawai brand. With such a title is allocated the privilege of playing the Crystal Grand Piano in distinguished venues around the world. This rare piano is limited to five handmade pieces and is valued at one million dollars per piece, one of which will be a signature Kento Masuda model. I have been extremely honored to be awarded many eminent and distinguishing positions such as the Crystal Grand pianist for Kawai and the Maestro to the Vatican which define my career as a composer and allow me to host illustrious international events while sharing my music with the world.
Tell us about your recent projects.
As a young musician, I have dreamt and aspired to work with the best in the music industry. It has been surreal to have met and recorded with renowned musicians such as Steve Vai, Black Violin and Paul Messina. Working with Vermont-based Grammy-nominated producer Charles Eller for my 7th album “Globesounds” has been another highlight of my career. The album won me several awards and was featured on numerous media outlets such as MTV, NME Magazine and BBC Music.
My recent project is with Gary Vandy, the same producer I worked with for my 10th album, “Loved One”. I’m excited to be working with him again on this 11th album. Vandy has had nothing but a lustrous career; his recording studio has produced eight Grammy awards, and more than 200 gold and platinum singles. As for this 11th album, I can’t quite give you the name or the release date yet…but, stay tuned for the big reveal soon.
I’m also composing a classical march piece that an Imperial Royal Highness petitioned me to write in honor of their dynasty. I’m slated to play and record with United States-sponsored orchestras and philharmonic symphonies in 2019. It’s going to be an incredibly remarkable year and I feel the greatest happiness to light the world with music.
What are you most excited for in 2019?
I’m excited about all the opportunities I have coming up in the United States in February of 2019. Some of the best musicians and recording artists are based in the United States and I’m eager for the opportunity to work alongside them. As a voting member of the Music Recording Academy, I am highly anticipating attending the Grammys. I can’t wait for the awards night!
As I mentioned, I am thrilled to be working on my 11th album with Gary Vandy in Florida. Kawai will be flying in my signature Grand Crystal piano from Tokyo to Florida for our recording sessions. The piano will be accompanied by a certified expert technician and master piano artisan to work at the studio, fine-tuning the piano as we go. Moreover, I have a scheduled performance for one of the highest of aristocratic orders, St. Sylvester in Rome at San Regis Grand Palace on May 11th where I will also be playing my signature Grand Crystal Kawai piano marking the start of my European Tour for the summer.
How are your fans able to connect with you?
I’m active on Instagram (@kento_masuda). They can also get the latest news, release dates and concert tours on my website at www.KentoMasuda.com.
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