The Nobuyuki Tsujii Story

He's a complete phenomenon," Alexander Mickelthwate, Director of Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra   Winnipeg Free Press 2013 article
The ultimate authority on Nobuyuki Tsujii's story is his mother, Itsuko Tsujii, who has written a  book "Nobu cantabile" (Nobu's song) about it Unfortunately, the book is only available in Japanese.  The following is a writeup by the owner of this site based on the information that she has gathered as a fan.
I also highly recommend the video "A surprise in Texas", the documentary of the 2009 Van Cliburn Competition, which  provides a poignant portrait of Nobuyuki that turned me into the ardent fan that I am.

Nobuyuki Tsujii 辻井伸行
is a Japanese classical pianist who has come to international attention since he was awarded a gold medal at the 2009 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition held in Forth Worth, Texas, U.S.A.

Nobuyuki Tsujii was born in Tokyo, Japan, on September 13, 1988, with a a developmental disorder of the eyes, microphthalmia, which has left him completely blind.  Nobuyuki's parents are Takashi  孝さ and Itsuko いつ子  Tsujii (photo below left).    Mrs. Itsuko Tsujj is a former broadcast announcer, and Mr. Takashi Tsujii is a physician in Japan, as is his own father (Nobu's grandfather 信孝 Nobutaka ), see  The family runs an obstetrics and gynecology clinic in Aoba-ku, Yokohama, whose office is headed by grandmother Kyoko 京子さ.

Nobuyuki's extraordinary musical talent was discovered early by his mother.  Video footage exists that shows Nobuyuki, at age 2,  skillfully accompanied his mother's singing on a toy piano, using both hands and playing chords (  His formal piano lessons started at age 4, and he benefited from the nurturing of  a number of caring mentors and teachers in Japan (see It takes a village.)  Another video,, of Nobuyuki with long-time childhood piano teacher Mr. Masahiro Kawakami 川上昌裕 (photo top left), shows his perfect pitch that allows him to instantly  repeat notes and chords played by the teacher. 

In 1995, at the age of seven, Tsujii won the first prize at the All Japan Music of Blind Students by the Tokyo Helen Keller Association. In 1998, at age ten, he debuted with The Century Orchestra Osaka. He gave his first piano recital in the small hall of Tokyo's Suntory Hall at age 12, followed by debut performances overseas in the United States, France, and Russia. In October 2005, at age 17,  he reached the semifinal and received the Critics’ Award at the 15th International Frederik Chopin Piano Competition held in Warsaw, Poland. (See Nobu at the 2005 Chopin Competition.) (photo below, right)

In April 2007, Nobuyuki Tsujii enrolled in the Performer's Program at the Ueno Gakuen University of Music in Tokyo and  graduated in March 2011.

Nobuyuki Tsujii competed in the 2009 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and tied for the gold medal with Haochen Zhang. He was also awarded the Beverley Taylor Smith Award for the Best Performance of a New Work.  He is the first native Japanese to win the prestigious award, and the first blind contestant that advanced past the preliminary round in that competition. (See A miracle at the Cliburn).  He was a sensation at the competition; some of his performances reportedly moved the audience, the jurors and the orchestra members to tears.  Nobuyuki is the focus of the competition's documentary video A surprise in Texas by Peter Rosen.

In the wake of his Cliburn victory, Nobuyuki's fame skyrocketed in Japan (see Nobu Fever).  Since then, he has become a worldwide sensation, thanks to an abundance of videos of his performances that have appeared on the Internet (YouTube Videos).  As a Cliburn Competition winner, Nobuyuki toured worldwide to perform in concerts (see Past Concerts  & Upcoming concerts), culminating in a debut recital at the Carnegie Hall  in November 2011 (Carnegie Hall 2011 カーネギーホールでのリサイタルが), and is reportedly in demand worldwide. 

Nobuyuki Tsujii has an extensive  discography (recorded music -- see Nobuyuki CDs).  His albums are released in his native country Japan under Avex Classics.  His first album (debut) as well as his Cliburn Competition CDs have reported sales of  more than 100,000 copies each.

In addition to being a virtuoso pianist, Nobuyuki Tsujii is also an accomplished composer.  His compositions are well recognized in Asia and on the Internet. His work whisper of the river appears on the soundtrack of the 2009 Cliburn documentary,  and that piece as well as a more recent work, A morning in Cortona, have appeared on soundtracks of Japan TV shows.  In summer of 2011, he composed music for a Japanese film, a Japanese TV series, as well as for a museum exhibit.  An album of his compositions, "Nobuuki Tsujii Works, 2000-2011"(, was  released in July 2011.  Mr. Tsujii is solely responsible for and composed the music for the  Japanese movie 『はやぶさ 遥かなる帰還』"Far return Hayabusa" released in February 2012 (  Since then, his composing career has continued to flourish in Japan.  

Following are links to Nobuyuki's wikipedia pages:

Here is a link to Nobuyuki Tsujii's official website:

There is now an article in Spanish of Nobu's story => Nobu, la historia del pianista ciego [Nobu, the story of the blind pianist] The article was posted by El Correo on August 17, 2016; the writer is CÉSAR COCA
Nobu's grandfather (left) and father are both doctors, and operate a gynecological clinic near Tokyo.  Nobu is said to have often played piano at the clinic's lounge, when he was very young.
PHOTO above -- From left: Nobu's mother Itsuko Tsujii, Nobu, Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and Nobu's father Takashi Tsujii at an event at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, September 26 2016