Mina Yu. Pianist, Composer and Music Director Biography
Since moving to the USA from South Korea in 2010, jazz pianist Mina Yu has made a powerful impression on other musicians and the public for her prodigious musical talent and the contemporary flavor of her music. These attributes have made her highly in demand as a bandleader, session player, recording artist, educator and writer.
Above all, Mina believes in the power of music; the positive energy created through music. She believes music can heal people. Her music captures the feeling of small moments and makes them magical.
“I love music that is warm and beautiful. Good music is often mysterious. It takes me into a new fantastic world and brings back the time of being an embryo. I adore the hugeness of nature and the spirit of the universe. These things are the main resources for my music.”
Mina’s music is part of a legacy of jazz pianists such as Herbie Hancock, Bill Evans and Brad Mehldau. She is also highly influenced by a wide range of contemporary artists, which makes her music unique. These include James Farm, Aaron Parks, SF Jazz Collective, Robert Glasper, Bilal, Radiohead, Bjork and Daft Punk.
Before moving to the USA, Mina was raised in Seoul, South Korea. At the age of 4, she began studying piano with her mother, Kyung Hee Kim, a highly renowned piano teacher. Beginning her training as a professional classical pianist, due her listening skills and perfect pitch, she found it more fun to play pop, blues and jazz. Her talent was soon recognized and she became the youngest winner of many piano competitions in Korea, including the Sirius Star Project by Sony BMG and the Khung Hyang Youth Competition.
In 2008, she gained a scholarship to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. During her time at the college she had the opportunity to meet and play with many great musicians such as Greg Osby, Ron Reid, Terri Lyne Carrington, Dave Samuels and Sean Skeete. She also received the Mary Jane Earnhart award and Professional Division award and was the pianist for the Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra and the Jazz Writers Collective.
In the past year, Mina has performed at the Carnegie Hall, Webster Hall, New York Live Arts, The Metropolitan Room, Berklee Performance Center (BPC), Jordan Hall, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, The Bitter End, The Cutting Room, The Lilypad Jazz club, Ryles Jazz club, Boston Common, The Shrine, Silvana, Something Jazz Club, Tomi Jazz, Cafe Luna, Copperfields and many others. She is also an accomplished composer and bandleader and was given the opportunity to host her own show at the BPC during Spring 2012 and Summer 2012 featuring Blue Note Records artist, Greg Osby. Mina has toured internationally, performing at the Jazzaar festival in Switzerland with Adam Rogers, Helen sung and Terri Lyne Carrington. She has also toured England, performing at the Guil Fest.
During the last two years Mina has appeared on a number of projects, which have been released in many different countries. These include albums by Jidam from Korea, Theron Shaw from Trinidad, Ekah Kim from Korea and Cettina Donato from Italy. During the same period, she has composed for Korean writing companies and has been an accompanist for the Connection Church Astoria and Desire of Nation NYC. Mina received a Bachelor of Music degree at Berklee College of Music and a Master’s in Jazz Performance at Manhattan School of Music. She has received a MSM Scholarship and CJ Culture Foundation Award in 2013.
Kyunghee University, Korea Undergraduate 2009-10
Berklee College of Music, Boston Bachelor of Music 2010-12
Manhattan School of Music, NewYork Master of Music 2013-15