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Misaki Saito

Founder, Artistic Director
Piano, Photography

Misaki Saito is a life-long curious learner and the founder of heARTists. As a survivor of trauma and a lover of the arts, she created heARTists with the goal of converting the pain and hardships of her past into a direction of positivity and artistry. 

Read more: Message From the Founder

Born in Toyota, Aichi Japan 

Grew up in Hokuto City, Yamanashi, Japan


Misaki began playing the piano at age eight. At age sixteen, she received a merit scholarship to study abroad at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. She was a full-scholarship recipient for a Bachelor's degree from Lynn University Conservatory of Music and holds a Masters of Music degree from the University of Southern California, Thornton School of Music. Misaki recently graduated as a summa cum laude in a Doctorate of Musical Arts in piano performance with emphasis on music theory, instrumental conducting and arts leadership also at USC Thornton and enjoyed serving as a teaching assistant for the Japanese language program at USC Dornsife. Misaki has studied piano with eminent teachers including Daniel Pollack, Kevin Fitz-Gerald, Roberta Rust, Michael Coonrod, Naoko Watanabe and instrumental conducting with Larry Livingston. 

Misaki has been a prizewinner for various competitions and performed in venues including Walt Disney Concert Hall, NY Steinway Hall, and many other parts of the world, including Japan, China, South Korea, Thailand, and Russia. 

Besides her solo career, she is also active in chamber music, instrumental/vocal accompanying, musical theatre and film music and has earned Keyboard Collaborative Award from USC Thornton. Misaki enjoys all types of music. She has recorded for many films, including the Annie Award nominated movie “Nice to Meteor You”, and a Chinese film “Insomnia”, for which she performed Bach’s Goldberg Variations as the film’s main musical theme. She has collaborated with various artists such as Cécilia Tsan and has made many guest appearances on the popular YouTube piano group, Super Piano Brothers. 

In addition to playing the piano, Misaki developed a variety of interests such as ballet, figure-ice skating, Japanese traditional dance, travel, musical theatre, and sugar-crafting. She also has a huge passion for photography, and is a certified contributor for Getty Images, 1x, Adobe Stock, and many others. 


Music: Fazil Say, Takashi Yoshimatsu, Mozart, J.S. Bach

Photography: Michael Kenna, Reuben Wu, Rodney Smith

Architect: Ricardo Bofill, Shinichi Ogawa

Graphic Art: Minjin Kang, Mijoo Kim (MUE Studio) just name a few!


Traveling, exploring not so well-known places, taking landscape and minimalistic pictures, visiting museums, appreciating beautiful architecture, playing video games, and learning about the most random stuff! 

Interesting TRIVIA:

  • Climbed to the top of Mt. Fuji twice; has done ice-climbing as well as intense mountain hiking.

  • Huge fan of Atelier video game series and played almost everything from the series (20+).

  • Can say "I love you" in 10+ different languages. 

  • Obsessed with smells. Can identify the publisher of a book, its year, or the library it was loaned from just from smelling it.

  • Has a special rain power. Whenever she is excited to go somewhere, it rains. This applies even in sunny California!!!!

Projects for heARTists:


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