Ken Iisaka, 47
Software engineer
Foster City, California

Ken Iisaka, a Cliburn Amateur finalist in 2007 and 2011, says his previous participation was during “the most tumultuous time of my life.” But he views competing as a necessary vehicle for his musical improvement, and for his soul. Born in Tokyo, he immigrated to Canada with his family and took private lessons while studying computer science at the University of Ottawa. In recent years, he has appeared at Fullerton College Piano Ensemble Festival (2014) and at the Newport Music Festival (2015). Most recently, he performed in an ensemble concert in Tokyo with his partner, Yvonne Liu, whom he met at the Amateur Competition in 2011. Currently, he is a lead engineer for a software company whose clients are advertisers and publishers, in Sunnyvale, California. Mr. Iisaka enjoys writing concert reviews, photography, cooking, and wines from Northern California.


Preliminary Round
RAVEL   Sonatine

Quarterfinal Round
MESSIAEN   “La colombe” from Preludes
SCRIABIN   Sonata No. 5, op. 53
MEDTNER   Danza rustica from Vergessene Weisen, op. 38

Semifinal Round
BEETHOVEN   Sonata No. 32 in C Minor, op. 111

Final Round
MOZART   Piano Concerto No. 9 in E-flat Major, K. 271 (“Jeunhomme”): III. Rondo (presto)