Keiko Kircher, 35
College physics instructor
Champaign, Illinois

A physics instructor at Parkland College, Dr. Keiko Kircher’s area of study is astrophysics, and her long-term research goal is to understand the final moments of black-hole evaporation. Her goal for participating in the Amateur Competition is to increase the enjoyment in her life. Dr. Kircher began learning music by playing the organ (called the “electone” in Japan), and she switched to the piano at 19. After having children, she put her practice on hold, finding she did not have the time. She recently returned to playing because she “had forgotten how satisfying it is to practice an instrument,” and her kids are older. Not lost on Dr. Kircher is the effect her playing has on her brain, she says. Other hobbies she finds equally stimulating are composing music for her family and practicing magic tricks.


Preliminary Round
RAVEL   “Fugue” from Le Tombeau de Couperin
RAVEL   Jeux d’eau 

Quarterfinal Round
RACHMANINOV   Prelude in G-sharp Minor, op. 32, no. 12
TAKEMITSU   Rain Tree Sketch
CHOPIN   Ballade No. 1 in G Minor, op. 23

Semifinal Round
BEETHOVEN    Sonata No. 23 in F Minor, op. 57 (“Appassionata”)

Final Round
SAINT-SAËNS   Piano Concerto No. 5 in F Major, op. 103 (“Egyptian”): I. Allegro animato