Justin Bird is a widely acclaimed pianist, teacher, arranger, tuner, and collaborator whose fresh interpretations include an affinity for underrated repertoire. He has won the New Zealand Kapiti Coast International Piano Competition, and was awarded the NZ Young Performer of the Year for piano. Other awards have been finalist in the NZ Young Musician of the year Competition, MTNA National Young Artist Competition in the USA, and representing New Zealand in the finals of the Kowhai Australasian Piano Concerto Competition.
In addition to several concerto appearances with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Justin has performed with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Auckland, Wellington and National Youth Orchestras. Two of these were to an audience of over 250,000 people in the Auckland domain. More recently he won concerto competitions awarding performances with both Florida State University Philharmonia and the Indiana University Orchestra. Taking advantage of the talented musicians at IU he joined forces with conductor Nicholas Hersh to give a memorable performance of the Delius Piano Concerto which was filmed and published online.
As a young pianist Justin studied with Rae de Lisle, then Bryan Sayer at the University of Auckland. Continuing his studies in the USA with Read Gainsford at Ithaca College and Florida State University, and Marian Hahn at the Peabody Institute, Justin then moved to Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music to complete a Doctorate in Music studying with André Watts. He has also had the honor to play for Leon Fleisher, John Perry, Roy Howat, and Michael Houston. Justin has been sharing his love for music since the nineties, always maintaining a private studio wherever he lives, as well as teaching class piano in many different colleges and schools. After his Associate Instructorship at IU, he taught at Vincennes University as Adjunct Faculty, and was recently appointed as Artist Faculty at Omaha Conservatory of Music in Nebraska.
Justin thrives as an accompanist and chamber musician, and has twice been part of the winning group in the NZ National Chamber Music Contest. He has worked with many contemporary music ensembles performing on celeste, harmonium and harpsichord. His recent studies incorporate his interest in early keyboard instruments, and conducting, and in 2016 he published his own piano arrangement of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. He also plays the violin and viola and loves to play in orchestras, string quartets, and Christian worship settings.
For upcoming performances, to listen to his six albums, and more, visit www.justinbirdmusic.com.
“Musicality becomes the product of maturity and experience. For Justin Bird, it is inherent in his play, his gentle personality and his remarkable ability” “A panoply of piano history under Justin’s hands, each of these masters was given their own personality”
“The recital was an artistic triumph” – Burt Saidel, The Oakwood Register
“It was clear from the first note that he possesses a maturity and a sense of style unusual for an 18 year old, and that his years of performing experience have given him poise and assurance ” – Laurence Jenkins
“Bird’s lilting rhythms and beautifully articulated expressiveness had acquired all the sheen and rubato a Chopin player needs” – Lindis Taylor, The Dominion Post
“Bird showed himself instinctively sensitive … to the sonority of the instrument under his fingers, making it sing and dance by turns” – Heath Lees, NZ Herald
“Bird’s impressive musicianship bestowed upon the music real character and grace … played with the maturity and insight of a gifted professional” – Heath Lees, NZ Herald
“Displayed a nice sense of the dramatic, a fine technique and real poetic sense. He is a pianist to watch” – John Button, The Dominion Post
“His performance grabbed the audience and he showed very clear control with his ears working all the time” – Gloria Saarinen
“Bird showed great flair and sense of colour in Ravel’s Alborado del Gracioso” – Joy Aberdein, Palmerston North Regent Gala