“Fluent and liberating . . . fun to watch”
-David Wright, New York Times
“I like your brilliantly original and slightly scary mind, with a total lack of social convention!”
-D. Stallard, audience member
“Already an experienced soloist, the young Ms. Takagi exudes spirit, vehemence and power. Every great solo work is taken on with individual interpretation, which is why we love to hear the same great music over and over, noting new insights, a performer's approach that is different from what we've heard before. The Grieg is a romantic work, also a work with demanding fast runs, trills, heavy chords and the performer saw it as a work of drama, enthralling the crowd with her technical brilliance.”
- Jackie Wattenberg, Melrose Free Press
"Her performance was riveting, electric and powerful, the highlight of the evening.
The piece starts out with a bang, the famous mighty roll on the timpani, and a powerful chord in the orchestra and the fierce and furious descending octaves in Miss. Takagi's piano solo. She courageously leads the orchestra through her wild journey of passion, vigor and fury; the audience was "mesmerized" by her virtuosity. After the first movement, the audience broke the "moment" and gave her a standing ovation."
- Linda Eknoian, Dorchester Community News
"You were absolutely brilliant, musical, virtuosic, and the audience, musicians and I were thrilled with your performance."
- Yoichi Udagawa, conductor of Boston Pops, Melrose Symphony Orchestra.
“ You are a Total Original!!”
-Roberto Luis Silvera, Theorist, Musician
“Sarah: You are a Universe unto yourself!”
-Orest Fedan, inventor
“You play my favorite classical composer Debussy with such feeling!!!! Even with the wig I had tears in my eyes, no kidding!! If water could sing, it would sound like you playing.”
-Leonard Aaron Caplan; TV host, Multi-Talent, Musician
“OMG!! I loved it!!!! This is what music is: A celebration! I salute you for being such a talented, unique out-of-the-box artist!. Continue on doing what you're doing, Sarah, being authentic. There's no other way to be!”
-Maria Holloway, Pianist and Actress
“It was jaw-dropping! I think it was the best performance of the Scriabin etude I have ever heard ! For the first time, the pieces came together, and it made sense”
-John Jacobs, husband of Catherine Gallant, dancer who performed the Isadora Duncan choreography to the Scriabin etude
“You have a very impish quality about you- that allows the audience to connect to their inner child; a very unusual way of conversing with the audience- really engaging in a non-scripted, but spontaneous, and evocative way. This opened us up - the audience to come into your world in an organic way. Your playing was really magnificient; it painted pictures and images- something only great pianists do. You played with great intensity and intention to each note - -I’ve never seen a pianist stop (at the end) like that- - this means that you were really listening to the music . . . . You have immense talent; but I am most impressed with your courage to go off and take a great risk to create spontaneously through improvisation. It was a powerful performance.”
-Marty Levin; actor, physical comedian, mime, improvisational artist
“Sarah, your concert was fantastic! Great to dive into the world of changing moods reflected by You in Your splendid piano performance.”
-M Kessler, audience member
“You have this tremendous skill at the piano- I had a sense that you could do anything; a tremendous creativity and freedom with a wonderful foundation. Your music goes to the heights, to the depths; it can go to the hard places, it can go to the happy light places; it’s just this amazing range of emotional states. I loved the fact that you said you were one with God. . . that really touched me . . your music was very healing; your poetry was very beautiful. You were also very funny, friendly, and welcoming; a really nice way of inviting people in and very generous with your presence. Loved the fact that you had this healing purpose. . healing the water, and earth . . . “
-Shifra Freewoman, poet, artist
"Sarah Takagi is an artist of the highest caliber. Attending one of her concerts is so much more than simply a unique musical evening. It is a deeply transformative and uplifting peak experience as well. She brings to every performance an astounding technical prowess and sublime artistry in her interpretation of the composition. Mere words however do not fully conceptualize what I call the Takagi experience. For Sarah seems to channel the quintessential essence of each composition brought forth with such power and compassion that it is truly indescribable."
- Vittorio Passanante, Spiritual Counselor and Guide, Energetic Healer, Victorious Light
"Your recital was extraordinary . . . "
- Ran Blake, MacArthur "Genius" Grant Fellow, faculty, New England Conservatory.
"BRILLIANT, phenomenal, and inspirational piano recital by one of Boston's best pianists. Stunning!!"
- Todd Theriault, Pianist, Singer, Vocal Coach
"Your performance was like seeing the Smile of God and all of His Infinite Expressions . . . . "
- Duane Sullivan, Singer, Entertainer
"It was an amazing evening, Sarah. Love your playing and your wit and creativity. This short encounter left me wanting to hear more. Your talent fills all voids!"
- Gene Diaz, artist, author, educator, former provost, Lesley University
"Your playing was the greatest example of courage and integrity of this work I have ever heard!"
- Laurence Lesser, former President and Cello faculty, New England Conservatory of Music, Boston, MA
"WOW, what an afternoon I just had!!!! UNFORGETTABLE!!!! Thank you for all of your hard work preparing for such an outstanding recital and talk, as usual, with incredible amounts of energy and passion. You are such a TALENTED and GIFTED person. I am WAY too impressed beyond imagination; the way you played the piano, the way you spoke, what you spoke, how you explained such interesting and important concepts, acting playfully and with humor, radiating all the great energy in every one of us. I feel HONORED to have been part of such a selected audience"
- Alfonso Urzua, audience member
"Sarah Takagi gave a truly outstanding performance-such talent and energy. We felt very privileged to be there. It made a memorable afternoon for us."
- Cliff and Karen, audience at Brookline Music Library concert series
"She herself models excellence in performing as well as teaching - I have been privileged to hear some of her stunning solo and chamber recitals - at Jordan Hall, Wellesley College, and Tufts University; whether celebrating the devotion of the infant Christ (Messiaen), a sultry tango (Ginastera), a frothy jazz toccata (Gershwin) or cosmic journeys (Bach and Liszt), Sarah's approach to music is one of originality, dedication, courage, spontaneity, and sheer joy. "
- Jeffrey Goldberg, composer/conductor/pianist, former lecturer at Harvard University
“It was an outstanding, memorable show, you have so many amazing talents and gifts. You sang beautifully, every song, each one colored with a special touch, and perfectly accompanied by a top notch band... The ONE that you sang next to the legendary Ran Blake at the piano, I didn't even blink; just to see how the two of you interacted in a beautiful, engaging, professional, creative, improvised way. You performed as if you had rehearsed for a long time, impressive that you didn't even have a conversation with Ran Blake, about this performance, previous to your show! WOW! Congratulations!”
- Alfonso Urzua, audience member
"Spellbinding! Your recital was truly outstanding! One of the best I have heard this season!"
- Doug Damron, director of concert series, Goddard Chapel, Tufts University
“Your piano playing certainly impact me in a emotional level. It was deep, emotional and powerful. You also played it with such passion I've never seen”
-Arthur Chan, Engineer, Audience member
“I think I can safely say that that was the most entertaining recital I have ever been to. The musical performance was spectacular, and the comedic performance was a riot. You as the 'flaxen-haired girl' is an unforgettable image.”
- Glenn Dunlap, Audience member
"Your playing WAS magical and mystical, and you brought that whole audience to HEAVEN with you."
- Michael Bonner, composer, cello faculty, Longy School of Music
“I really enjoyed your presentation! As usual, you presented a cluster of important concepts with directness and accuracy, great stuff for people to take home and think about. But then what a treat to hear your soul song! You're a very fine singer with a great sense of melody and play, I was impressed, and the wild print outfit added to the experience! Thanks, I hope you enjoy your new self and the spring!!”
- Carl Schroeder, Director, Mystic Art Show; engineer
“I love your voice! So enchanting; we were completely captivated!!”
- Barbara Ness, author, audience member
Your concert of last Sunday was quite a surprise for me, and I am sure for all attendees. You showed yourself not only to be a fantastic pianist (later on about this) but also a funny comedienne. You brought to the music you performed that extra ingredient of visible action. For example, Haydn is known as a composer who likes to have fun in much of his music (one example: the Farewell symphony) and you not only had fun with his sonata but you were also able to convey that to your audience, including myself.
As a composer I would like to say that your piano playing technique reminded me of pianists of the Russian school of piano, known for their incredible technical prowess. Although I should add that your interpretations were very different from the Russians. For example, your interpretation of Beethoven's “32 Variations” was much less aggressive and more lyrical from the Russian pianists that I have heard. I really enjoyed how you brought out not only the off accents of the piece but also the contrasts in dynamics.
In the Chopin pieces your lyricism was well centered in the moods that Chopin wants us to hear.
Altogether your playing had when needed humor, lightness, drama, and even tragedy all in the service of the music.
I commend you for giving us, the audience, such a new insight in the music you interpreted. It is the beauty of music that like a mirror reflects the vision that we ourselves want to receive in order to make our lives richer from the experience.
Thank you for such a great and inspiring concert."
-Hayg Boyadjian, composer, www.haygboyadjian.com, Grammy Nominee
"Your performance was filled with Spirit and the vibrations touched the entire planet, and beyond. Both Micah and I were exceedingly moved. We're still resonating. What a beautiful, inspiring and joy-filled concert. For me it was a journey to inner truth. Thank you, thank you, thank you."
- Steven Schatz, author, "Music & Imagery: A Bridge to the Soul"
"I am still flying in space from your gifts last night. Everyone I spoke with felt, like I do, you and your work are extraordinary . . . The Holy Spirit was visible through your transcendent music. Your recital was stunning. Sarah, you know and I know that God or Great Mystery or whatever you call the Holy Spirit, works through you. That you had the strength to sustain the grace, luminosity, delicacy, and the roar and thunder awakened in the concert grand piano through your fingers is cause for joy and amazement. How hard you must have worked over the years to give yourself and those of us fortunate to listen to your music such ecstatic joy. A deep, deep bow to you, Sarah and thank you and thank you"
- Nancy Willett, Teacher
“I have lived in Boston for about 9 months, and your concert is truly a highlight of my experience here so far. It is difficult to put into words what that type of experience truly is like, but I found your style to be mesmerizing, magical, and a privilege to behold. The music, coupled with your stories and anecdotes made the whole evening, and you as an artist, something I will never forget. Thank you so much!”
-Brett D. Parker, audience member
“I have your cd on my ipod. Whenever I want to really relax that's my cd of choice. It's better than medicine . Hot tip for the summer.... Get a copy of Sarah's cd it's fantastic !”
- Bill Winiker, musician, www.winikermusic.com
GREAT show! As usual, very unique and entertaining in many ways. I particularly liked the comparisons of the piano sounds for different emotions. I would love another show like this and I'm glad you're doing it again!"
- Leonard Aaron Caplan, TV producer, host, Drama coach
"Thank you for the extraordinarily musical, expressive, inspiring, and energizing gift you gave us all today!"
-Susan Robbins, Director Third Life Studio Concert Series
I thoroughly enjoyed your recital at Aaron’s concert series..
I want to thank you for your wonderful, brilliant, and energetic performance of the Beethoven “32 Variations”.
In the Haydn sonata your humor and interesting personality came through. The slow movement was very beautiful.
- Brigitte Boyadjian nee Kuelzer
"Her skills as a performer are that of a genius. There are those who read notes and those who play from their heart. Her heartfelt playing has literally made me feel as if I left my body and went far away to a place of pure bliss and delight where only love exists. She is a true gem of a being and shine brighter than all on this earth. "
- Lightiel Haltom, founder, Central Sun Records, pianist, composer (Classical/Hip Hop/Trance Dance/New Age), http://centralsunrecords.com/
"Sarah is truly one of the most impassioned and musical performers I have had the pleasure of working with. As a composer, she is always my first pick when I'm in need of a pianist. Sarah possesses a unique gift for lifting the spirit of the music directly off the page and into her playing. As a professional, she has all of the necessary (and beautifully crafted) mechanical expertise. Not nearly as common, however, is Sarah's ability to intuitively honor the music and become one with it. As a result, her performances are always enthralling, inspiring, and deeply powerful.
- Ruth Mendelsohn, Professor, Film Scoring Department, Berklee College of Music Multi-Grammy listed Composer, Producer, Arranger
"I wanted to tell you again how beautiful your playing was on Saturday night.
Grieg's Piano Concerto is one of my all time favorites but it would remain dry notes on a page without someone with your gift to bring it to life. And boy did you bring it to life! Thank you so much for sharing the wonderful talent that you have to enrich everyone in the concert hall that night. I went home feeling energized and somehow lifted unto a higher plane. I believe that this is the purpose of all great art- not entertainment but a vital element in our lives to enable us to live fully and always to be reaching with joy to expand and deepen our horizons."
- Judy Dion, audience member
"You just breath life...and we breath you in...and you infuse us with your energy."
- Orest Fedan, Inventor, dancer
"OMG! You really have that charisma and it was so obvious that you were leading the pack. I cannot believe you improvised those movements; I would have thought that you were dancing to a well crafted choregraphy."
- Oscar Aguilar Henriquez, life coach and author
“Sarah, today I was driving and listening in the car to your Brahms Intermezzo ( from the Lavender Bouquet CD) and was so touched- I think it's the most moving, spiritual interpretation of the piece I have ever heard”
- Martin Allen, music lover
“Sarah is a classical piano virtuoso who has developed an astonishingly multifaceted career that crosses artistic categories to shake everything up. I’m frankly amazed at what she’s able to do. She sets an extremely high bar, going wild and crazy with her acts and then sitting down and playing some of the world’s most difficult piano music, from the Liszt sonata to the Prokofiev 3rd piano concerto. Very few performers have the mental flexibility, the in-the-moment focus and the sheer range that it takes to pull off such dramatic combinations and switches on stage, like an actor taking on ever-changing roles within the same play.”
- Naomi Wittes Reichstein, Sidewalk Babble: Meandering through the Urban Maze blog, https://sidewalkbabble.com
“Thank you for such a bright and brilliant performance today at NEC. You are an absolutely amazing pianist and the clowning was also great. I should have gotten you some roses. ( Regarding the original song ); Cool groovy song, and loved the fact that you had children with you on stage for the song.”
- Lo Gallucio, poet, prose writer and vocal artist
“My goodness, Sarah, you have already done it! You are one of the best pianists in the world!! I had chills listening to you.
I can't believe that I actually know that person who played the piano so beautifully and with such astounding, incredible and unbelievable skill. But it was even more than that. The music was not just coming out of the piano. It was part of you...you were part of it. I could see you seamlessly connected to it.
I really liked the clowning too.
I don't know how you can be so incredibly powerful, capable, talented, emotional, beautiful, and funny . . . .all in the same performance!!
You are the definition of infinity, for you possess all things inside you. And we know this because you don't keep them inside you. You give to us.”
- Orest Fedan, Inventor, engineer
“Love, love love the original song!! I hope you record it because I want to listen to it! I was singing it on the way home! Honestly, I loved the whole thing because you never knew what was coming next! You did exactly what Chico Marx used to do when you went into your Liszt piece. He would do comedy but then he would so something very serious on the piano. The fear gimmick was right out of Don Knotts as I said. Don Knotts before he was on The Andy Griffith Show used to play a terrified character who did stand up but was afraid while doing it. The way he shook was amazing. Your facial expressions are just as amazing. It makes me want to produce a silent video with you sometime like I did with my kids. I hope this doesn't sound fawning, but I didn't see a weak spot in that show! I do have one suggestion. More stuff with the kids. Lots of potential humor there with you as "the teacher" and them doing mischievous things.”
- Leonard Aaron Caplan; TV producer, host and Theater coach
“Congratulations!! What an amazing show!! So playful and imaginative.”
- Alissa Cardone, Modern Dance faculty, Boston Conservatory at Berklee College
“What a fantastic show!! You did a splendid job and your improvisations were so great!!!”
-Lefteris Kordis, Jazz pianist, faculty, Berklee College of Music
“She promised me Victor Borge, and she delivered! Her one-note sheet music as the opener was pure Borge! Reminiscent of one of his piano skits where he puts the sheet music in front of him upside-down and begins to play the music backwards! Other Borge-ian subtle influences were everywhere. Thank you, Sarah, for performing with him in mind!
Where do I start? Thanks for starting with your Victor Borge impersonization --the quarter-note score--I remember he put the sheet music upside-down and playing the music backwards till discovering his "mistake". YOU did it in mime! Other personal highlights-- your graceful ballet arm movements, the hi-5's with the youths, your audience eye contact, the crazy interaction with the "planet of the apes" drummer, the didgeridoo, etc. I took a seat close to see your hands and pedal work. Got some video snippets. At the end of the Sonata, the buzz around my seats was, "can you imagine she memorized 30 min of THAT!" WOW!”
-Robert Green, audience member
“(In posting the Liszt sonata performance live on facebook), Sarah Infini Takagi; Live. For the world to see. The piano is the king and she is the Queen. Ladies and gentlemen, she just took in a piece that could take a person weeks just to play the first few measures.”
-Robert Silver; Theorist, musician, pianist
“I've done these improvisation exercises with so many groups over the years and I'm astonished how well you do these exercises. You followed my every move down to the smallest nuance, which is incredibly hard to do, and you did it way better than anybody I have ever worked with. You must be the most aware person I have ever known theatrically and artistically. You have a gift; you can do anything!!”
- Marty Levin, Mime/Clown/Improvisational Artist
“The Liszt Sonata was sooooo moving . . What a wonderful and courageous journey you have chosen.....all about truth and the very best in us. Congratulations, my friend”
- A Ramon Rivera; director emeritus, Rivers Conservatory, former director and faculty, New England Conservatory Preparatory School
“The song L-O-V-E is a fabulous, outstanding work of art. I found out to be absolutely amazing, and I'd love to interview you to be on my show. Congratulations!!”
- Danny De Gug; Musician, Minister and Host of "BeLive" CCTV
“Your singing was soothing, moving and unique. And what a treat it was to hear you and Ran Blake perform the song "Don't Explain"; the interpretation was complex yet simple.”
- Phil Morimoto, musician
“Usually I don't like Jazz, but when you started to sing, I was captivated. You are an amazing singer!! I really loved it!!”
-Jenny Wong, audience member
“The show on wednesday was spectacular. Love the Billy Holiday lilt in your voice…what a versatile and talented woman you are!!”
- Gene Diaz, artist, former provost, Lesley College
“Beautiful! Loved listening to your vocal musical stylings! You have a very pretty voice and you produce very musical, deliberate interpretations.”
- Todd Theriault, vocal coach, pianist
“Great Jazzy Job! I loved your show. What guts it takes to go off in a totally different direction. You definitely have talent. My favorite song was Black Coffee.”
- Ross Miller, Lyricist, Author, New England's Top Psychic
"I could not let the week slip by without writing. Your warmth and generosity came shining through your simply amazing playing. Thank you for sharing your talents with us. My day was certainly enriched! The Busoni in particular echoed some very soulful stirrings as I sat with my eyes closed"
- Gale Fuller, Mezzo-Soprano, named "Outstanding Artist" by Musical America. Faculty, Gordon College, Wellesley College.
"You were fantastic! There was such a crowd that I couldn't get back at intermission to see you but I wanted to tell you how wonderful it was. Bravissima!"
- Lisa Parker, head, Dalcroze Association of America
"We were both so moved by the music, everything! Thanks so much for your beautiful music! You are gifted and playing music is healing work. I was very moved by the pieces you selected"
- Donna Galloway, Healer, Energy worker.
"Your playing of the Beethoven Fantasy is the best I have ever heard anyone play it"
- David Deveau, pianist, director, Rockport Chamber Music Festival. Senior Lecturer, MIT.
"Your performance of the Skryabin is the best I have ever heard!"
- Arlene Zallman, Guggenheim Fellow composer, faculty, Wellesley College