Josu Okiñena devotes his professional activity to research and interpretation, grounding it as a scientific activity from a transdisciplinary approach. He gets his PhD at the University of Valladolid, and after obtaining the first prize of piano and chamber music at the Conservatorio Superior in his hometown, Donostia-San Sebastián, he takes lessons from Felix Lavilla and wins the first prize at the Real Conservatorio de Música in Madrid and the prize Andrés Segovia and José Miguel Ruiz Morales intended to the interpretation of Spanish music, in Santiago de Compostela.
Later he moves to New York to study at the prestigious Julliard School of Music, taking lessons from Oxana Yabloskaya and continues his studies in London where he receives advices from performers such as Krystian Zimmerman, Bruno Leonardo Gelber and Ivo Pogorelich, and for five years, he takes lessons from Maria Curcio, a former student of the legendary pianist Arthur Schnabel.
Once these influences are assimilated, which will result in a personal style that is admired in renowned halls around the world, Josu Okiñena returns to his hometown, Donostia, to support with his pedagogical work the creation of the Music Highest School in the Basque Country, Musikene, in 2001.
In addition, he has taught postgraduate courses in different universities in Spain, Latin America and the United States and has participated in seminars dedicated to musical research at the Orpheus Institute in Ghent, University of Warsaw and CUNY (City University of New York).
Josu Okiñena has performed in some of the most prestigious venues in the world and has participated in prestigious International Festivals and collaborated with renowned orchestras. In 2006, due to his commitment to contemporary music and in particular to the composers of his country, he premiered together with the Euskadi Symphony Orchestra the “Concerto for piano and orchestra” by Ignacio Tellería.
Josu Okiñena has recorded the complete works for voice and piano by Felix Lavilla, together with Cecilia Lavilla Berganza, and the complete works for voice and piano by Aita Donostia together with Almudena Ortega.
In March 2011, Josu Okiñena received the prize from the University of the Basque Country and the Orfeón Donostiarra for his research about composer Aita Donostia entitled “Autopoietic communication, the basis for musical interpretation: his study in the work for voice and piano by JA Donostia. ”
In 2013 he recorded a CD for the label Sony Classical with piano compositions by Aita Donostia, being qualified by critics as the pianist revelation of the year and placing him among the ten best albums of 2013. Among his latest performances highlights the tour performed in 2014 in the USA, performing in New York, Reno, Chicago and Miami. Two years ago he also recorded for Sony Classical a selection of piano works by Erik Satie.
Currently he combines his work as a teacher and researcher with the interpretation, while he is immersed in different musical projects such as the CD titled ‘Xuxurlak’, which will be published in December 2017 and with which the Basque music heritage is recovered and internationally disseminated. This will happen in the upcoming international tour through the United States of America, the Southern Cone of Latin America, Europe and Japan throughout 2017 and 2018.
The Basque musician is also currently immersed in other musical projects, as an initiative for the recovery of classical music in the Basque diaspora as well as an album about Franz Liszt.