- D.M.A., Eastman School of Music
- M.M., New England Conservatory
- B.M., Eastman School of Music
Futaba Niekawa is lecturer in music (chamber and collaborative music) at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where she has been on faculty since 2015.
Known for her verve and sensitivity, Niekawa pushes the boundaries of her artistry as a versatile pianist, chamber musician, and mentor across genres and disciplines. She has performed throughout the United States, Canada, England, Spain, Taiwan, and her native Japan.
To date, she has released five recordings encompassing solo, four-hands, duo, and chamber music from classical to newly composed works. Niekawa’s curiosity for multidisciplinary collaboration and performing music of her generation continuously develops into artistic partnerships with composers, dancers, poets, and visual artists.
In demand as a collaborative pianist, Niekawa has performed with violist Atar Arad, clarinetist James Campbell, violinist Charles Castleman, and members of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chicago Symphony Orchestra, among others. She has been engaged as a collaborative pianist at the Banff Centre, New England Conservatory, Boston Ballet School, Meadowmount School of Music, the IU Summer String Academy, and the Perlman Music Program.
Niekawa and violinist Kerry DuWors have performed as duo526 since 2011. After their latest release, Duo Fantasy, critics praised them as “a beautifully balanced duo” (Gramophone magazine) and said they “create an art that goes beyond mere interpretation. The personality of the two musicians expands out with a creative attitude towards the world” (Sonograma Magazine).
The duo’s reach extends beyond the stage, including to its annual Sonata Seminar, where Niekawa and DuWors mentor and nurture the love of collaboration in the next generation, as well as their scholarly research and innovative projects on esoteric duo works.
Niekawa earned her Bachelor of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance degrees from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Natalya Antonova, Thomas Schumacher, and Jean Barr, and her Master of Music from New England Conservatory, with the late Patricia Zander and Irma Vallecillo.
In addition to her teaching position at Indiana University, she has appeared as a guest teacher at universities across North America. She has been invited as a performer and presenter at the Regina Chamber Music Festival and Dream Big: Music Out of Bounds conference, and as an adjudicator for the National Society of Arts and Letters.
Most recently, Niekawa has been a founding member of Chamberfest Brown County, a community outreach nonprofit initiative, creating platforms for accessible high-level performances in the local area.