Rie Tanaka, Piano

Jesse Nummelin, Cello

Sunday, October 4, 2020

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View the Duo Ihana concert video here
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Four pieces op.78 for Cello and Piano                                     Jean Sibelius

          Impromptu                                                                      (1865-1957)





Finlandia Op.26/7 for Solo Piano                                            Jean Sibelius


Sonata for Cello and Piano in A Minor, Op.36                          Edvard  Grieg

          Allegro agitato                                                                 (1843-1907)

          Andante molto tranquillo

          Allegro molto e marcato

Duo Ihana 1




Rie Tanaka - Piano Jesse Nummelin - Cello

Japanese Pianist Rie Tanaka and Finnish-American Cellist Jesse Nummelin met while studying at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point. The language barrier challenged them to communicate verbally, but they bonded through playing Classical Music together, and have been performing together for the past 10 years. They have appeared at regional concert series with such as Schubert Club’s Court-room Concert series, Green Lake Festival of Music, University of Wisconsin Stevens Point Guest Artist recital, Hastings Arts Center’s Coffee Concert, Saint Paul Conservatory of Music’s Coffee Concert, among many. They have performed guest musicians from Minnesota Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and many notable regionalvartists.                                      

Now a married couple, Jesse and Rie's mission is to build bridges between people and cultures using the universal language of music. Their duo name "Ihana" is a Finnish word for “wonderful," acknowledging Jesse's three-quarter Finnish Herit-age, while it could also mean "one flower" in Japanese. The name carries the meaning of two cultures coming together. Their most recent project is a multi-cultural program, titled "Folk Music of Classical Composers". Featured composers are Sibelius, Copland, de Falla, Bartok, Mamiya, and Chopin. All of these com-posers are widely known for integrating the traditional folk music of their heritage into classical music, and bringing spotlights to the underrepresented cultures throughout Western Music history. The duo hopes to offer diverse and cross-cultural experience to the audience, and show how cultures, although different from one another, can speak to every one of us with a sense of belonging, comfort, and nostalgia.


Duo Ihana 2Dr. Rie Tanaka is a Pianist, music educator, and wellness specialist. Native of Osaka, Japan, she is a prize winner of international and national competitions in Japan and the U.S., winning top prizes in MTNA Young Artist Competition, Schubert Club Competition, Chautauqua International Piano Competition, Rosenstock International Piano Competition, to name a few.

Rie maintains a full concert schedule for solo and chamber performances. She has appeared in venues such as NHK Osaka hall, Phoenix hall in Osaka Japan, the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, Thrasher Opera House, Landmark Center, among others. She is on the roster of performance artists of the Thursday Musical Concert Series, Schubert Club

Courtroom Concert Series, Hastings Arts Center Coffee Concert Series, South Beach Chamber Ensemble, and the Saint Paul Conservatory of Music Coffee Concert Series.

As a chamber musician, she often collaborates with her husband and cellist Jesse Nummelin as Duo Ihana. Their performance has been featured on American Public Radio’s Your Classical and Des Moines Symphony Orchestra’s DMSO at Home, and many local and regional concert series in Minnesota and Wisconsin. She also collaborated with ballet dancer and choreographer Yuki Tokuda, co-directing and performing sold-out concerts “MIRAGE,” which was named as one of “week’s best Classical concerts” by StarTribune.

As an educator, Rie has led lectures, masterclasses, and clinics at various Universities and summer festivals, including University of Arizona, University of Minnesota Duluth, University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, Minnesota International Piano Camp, Green Lake Chamber Music, Saint Paul Chamber Music Institute, among many others.

Rie has a passion for educating musician’s wellness from her own experience of performance injury and recovery. She is a RYT200 Yoga Alliance Certified Yoga teacher, and works with music teachers and students to promote healthy mind and body. She developed and taught her original program “Wellness for Musicians,” designed to help musicians to prevent performance injuries. To build a culture of healthy musicians, Rie believes that it is essential to educate teachers as well. In her doctoral thesis, “Wellness for Musicians; Blueprint to Your Very Own Injury Prevention Course,” she introduces applicable ways and models that individual teachers can implement into their own teaching. She has presented this lecture at various Music Teachers Associations in states of Minnesota, South Dakota, and Washington.


Rie received her B.M. from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, studying under Dr. Raffi Besalyan, M.M. and D.M.A. from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, where she studied with Alexander Braginsky, and served as a Piano Teaching Assistant for five years. She currently teaches Piano at the Saint Paul Conservatory of Music and Mount Olivet School of Music.

Jesse Nummelin - Cello

Duo Ihana 3Jesse Nummelin is a native of Stevens Point, Wisconsin. He started Suzuki cello at age three with the Aber Suzuki Center for the Arts. Jesse went on to complete a Bachelor of Arts in cello performance at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point and a Masters of Music at Arizona State, where he worked as Teaching Assistant to Professor Thomas Landschoot.

Jesse is an avid chamber musician and teacher. He is the assistant principal of Cello of the Des Moines Symphony, section Cello at Duluth Superior Symphony and South Dakota Symphony. He has played with orchestras including Phoenix Symphony, Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra, Scottsdale Arts Orchestra, Musica Nova, Tucson Pops and the Tucson Symphony. He has played with the CWSO scholarship quartet, premiered several compositions with string quartet at the Museum of Musical Instruments in Phoenix, AZ and has performed on the UWSP radio broadcast

“Acoustic Revival.” He also made a series of Jazz recordings through the Foulger Institute with acclaimed artists Allison Eldredge and Tom Landschoot. Jesse has performed with notable artists including Lang Lang, Andrea Bocelli, Pinchas Zukerman, Anne Akiko Meyers, the

Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Curtis Stigers, the Juilliard String Quartet and John Williams.

He has taught cello to people of all ages and backgrounds through various programs and private studios. He served as a faculty of cello at the Aber Suzuki Center for the Arts at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point in 2016. Jesse currently lives in St. Paul and teaches cello at the St. Paul Conservatory of Music, Mount Olivet School of Music, the Waldorf City of Lakes School and Music Connection in Forest Lake.

Jesse’s teachers include Thomas Landschoot, Tom Rosenberg, Dr. Lawrence Leviton, Dr. Tim Mutschlecner, John Greiner, and Susan Bender.