AGE 41 I CHAMPAIGN, ILLINOIS I JAPAN/UNITED STATES
COLLEGE PHYSICS INSTRUCTOR
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. She began learning music by playing the organ (called the “electone” in Japan) and switched to the piano at 19. After taking some time away from the instrument while her kids were young, Keiko returned and now enjoys taking part in amateur competitions—including the 2016 Cliburn—because they motivate her to learn new music, to performance level, and she feels mentally refreshed after getting to know the other competitors. She also enjoys dog training and is currently trying to teach her puppy Neutrina to play the piano.