Musicians Faculty Bio | Kai Ono | Steps on Broadway Faculty - Steps on Broadway


Kai Ono

"a spectacularly creative young pianist...a very poetic player"
- Orange County Register

Kai Ono is a composer-pianist, raised in the bustling suburbs of Irvine, California and currently living in the mosaic city of Queens, New York. He likes the color grey, the sound of laughter, and things that fly.

In his music, Kai loves diversity. He is able and mostly willing to play any genre of music on the piano he is familiar with, but his primary specializations are classical, jazz, pop, and some others that stem from those, and he at least thinks that the music he writes is rooted in those styles too. In the past, he's won some awards in festivals and competitions for piano such as the West Virginia Intersection of Jazz and Classical Festival, the Rosalyn Tureck International Bach Competition, and the Celia Mendez Young Artists' Beethoven Competition. As a composer, Kai was a recipient of awards from Downbeat Magazine, ASCAP, and the National Federation of Music Clubs. Although he really enjoys playing in smaller house venues, he's performed on bigger stages like the Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall, the Jazz at the Lincoln Center, and the Lied Center of Kansas.

Kai recently graduated from the University of Kansas with a BM in Piano Performance and Composition with distinction, and as a Presser Scholar. He is eternally grateful for his amazing mentors he's studied under so far - piano with Dr. Scott McBride Smith and Chizuko Asada, composition with James Barnes, Dr. Forrest Pierce, Dr. Kip Haaheim, and Dan Gailey, and jazz with TJ Martley.