Lisa Nakazono (中園理沙, Nakazono Risa), born 15 February 1984, is a Japanese classically trained professional pianist. She is signed with the label Sony Music, and JESC (Japan-Exchange-Seminar-Concerts foundation, JESC Ongaku Bunka Shinkōkai) is her acting agency.
She was born Risa Nakazono, and the Westernized "Lisa" spelling appeared on her first CD release. She lives in Tokyo.
Born in Kanagawa, Japan in 1984, Lisa Nakazono started piano lessons at age four, and continued her training. In 2005, she applied for the "master class" program (piano division), sponsored by the Tokyo International Association of Artists (TIAA), and qualified with the top score, winning full scholarship to study at the Moscow Conservatory.
In February 2008 she took first place in the 1st annual Elena Richter International Piano Competition held in Tokyo, named in honor of the piano professor at the Moscow Conservatory. That same year, while still attending college at the Toho Gakuen School of Music (in Chōfu, Tokyo) she made her professional performance debut with the concert series "Lisa's twinkling classics," which was backed by the Yamaha Corporation.
Around this time, as a senior in college, she signed with the record label (Aniplex/Sony Music) and in March 2009 when she graduated from Toho Gakuen, released her first CD entitled Chopin de Ghibli. This recording features piano solo versions of songs and music from the animation of Hayao Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli, such as "Day of the River" from Spirited Away and the title track from Ponyo, arranged in the style of Polish composer Frédéric Chopin. She was selected to perform at the Yokosuka Arts Theatre in September 23, 2009 as par of the "Fresh Artists from Yokosuka" series, and in the catch copy she was touted as a "richly expressive and attention-grabbing young female talent".
In January 2010, her second album "Chopin de Hoshi ni negai o"' was released. It features a Chopanesque rendition of the title track "When You Wish upon a Star" as well as other tunes from Disney studio's animated works, musicals and entertainment films. Her concert tour "Fantastic Chopin 2010" that year commemorated the 200th anniversary of the birth of Chopin. Also the anime series Occult Academy (世紀末オカルト学院, Seikimatsu Okaruto Gakuin) had a run this year, for which she recorded as background music her performances of Liszt's "La Campanella" and Beethoven's Piano Sonata no. 21, "Waldstein".
In 2011, she gave another commemorative tour, this time paying homage to the bicentennial of the other great Polish composer, Franz Liszt. She also co-participated in "Bravo! Piano 2011" tour across the Japan, alongside artists such as Ai Kawashima.
In 2012, she gave a tour commemorating the 150th birthday anniversary of Debussy, and took part in the Japanese music festival "7th Sendai Classic Festival 2012."
From 2010~11, she wrote a series of essays/travelogue that ran in four issues of the Gokujō no piano magazine, published by Yamaha Music Media Corporation.
She has studied piano under Masashi Kawasome (川染雅嗣), Kōji Shimoda (下田幸二), and Koo Ryeong Park (朴久玲), and received solfège training from Makoto Ishihara (石原真).Chopin de GHIBLI (2009.03.18)
Music from the animation of Studio Ghibli, in Chopin-style arrangement.
Chopin de Hoshi ni negai o (2010.01.27)
"When You Wish Upon A Star, in Chopin-style arrangement