Tokyo International Piano Association (TIPA)

I’m extremely honoured to be on the faculty of this inspiring and versatile association, and, in today’s blog post, I would like to share a little more information about its achievements, aims and aspirations.

The Tokyo International Piano Association (TIPA) was founded in 2016 by Japanese concert pianist and Artistic Director Aisa Ijiri. Aisa’s dream was to create a Festival Academy where children, students and artists could come together to study, perform and enjoy concerts, all sharing in the joy of music-making whilst exploring other cultural delights, such as various aspects of the visual arts, diverse cuisine, and beautiful locations surrounded by breath-taking scenery.

TIPA has hosted a whole series of events worldwide, including, in 2016, a five-day Piano Academy in Kyoto, Osaka, Shiga, Yokohama, and Tokyo, featuring International concert pianist Peter Jablonski at the Kioi Hal (Tokyo), as well as a Young Artists Concert held in Osaka. Another exciting collaboration spotlighted popular Serbian pianists, the LP DUO, at the Keyboard Days Festival (2017), and subsequently at the Kolarac Hall in the Old Palace in Belgrade (2019), for the launch of their Universal Album, ‘Duality’.

More recently, TIPA has co-directed the Montecatini Piano Festival held in the historic opera town of Montecatini Terme in Tuscany, Italy. In 2019 a collection of renowned artists gathered to offer participants and audience members an attractive series of individual lessons, masterclasses, workshops, and chamber music coaching sessions, as well as concerts and evening soirees, all whilst savouring the stunning Tuscan surroundings and delicious local cuisine.

Resident artists for this event included concert pianist and winner of the 2009 Leeds International Piano Competition, Sofya Gulyak, concertmaster of the Baltic Neopolis Orchestra, Emanuel Salvador, EMMY nominated Hollywood film composer, Martin Tillman, and myself. I was fortunate to give a composition workshop at the festival last year as well as several piano classes, and I can highly recommend it as a wonderful way to spend a truly engaging week in a splendid setting. The festival also proffers the chance for students to participate in a competition, yielding interesting concert opportunities for the winners.

Since 2018, TIPA has been the official Japanese management for the Royal College of Music (RCM) in London. So far, it has co-presented the annual RCM auditions for students from Japan, as well as hosting a master class and concert featuring clarinettist and Director of the RCM Professor Colin Lawson, and pianist and the Head of Keyboard at the RCM, Professor Vanessa Latarche, held at the Matsuo Hall in Tokyo.

TIPA now operates festivals in four countries; Japan, Italy, Serbia and the UK. And, during 2020, the association has launched a new digital platform, presenting an Online Music Festival, offering online lessons for students, as well as an imaginative concert series, which can all be enjoyed remotely, and from anywhere in the world.

Future TIPA events will include a new composer award, TIPA Composer Awards 2021, which will give young composers the chance to record an album with Multi- Grammy nominated Executive Music Producer Chris Craker, a former Senior Vice President of Sony Music Entertainment and the CEO of Karma Sound Studios Ltd,  providing a wonderful opportunity to hone and develop their skills.

Also during 2020, TIPA will instigate the first ‘TIPA LIVE SHOW’, which will focus on interviews with a disparate group of composers and musicians, highlighting their work. I’m delighted to be featured on the first show on December 6th 2020, which will be ‘live-streamed’ at 12.00 noon (UK time), and there will be more information about this event in a future post.

I’m looking forward to visiting the Montecatini Piano Festival for a second time in August 2021, as well as collaborating on various projects in Japan during 2021 and 2022 (pandemic permitting!).

You can enjoy TIPA’s latest video, showcasing their work, here:

Video producer: Daniele Ciferri

Visit the new website to find out more, here:


Melanie Spanswick has written and published a wide range of courses, anthologies, examination syllabuses, and text books, including Play it again: PIANO (published by Schott Music). This best-selling graded, progressive piano course contains a large selection of repertoire featuring a huge array of styles and genres, with copious practice tips and suggestions for every piece.

For more information, please visit the publications page, here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.