Even at the tender age of five, it seems that Akiko was destined to be a musician. At age 16, her ambition turned to reality when she met Ms Smiko Inouchi, a well-known pianist who could appreciate Akiko's tremendous talent. Ms Inouchi immediately offered Akiko the opportunity to become one of her students - an honour rarely given. This apprenticeship was indeed a significant musical leap for Akiko. 1972 was another milestone for Akiko as she had the distinct privilege to perform for maestro pianist and conductor Christoph Eschenbach during his Tokyo recital. So impressed was Mr Escenbach with Akiko's performance and potential that he gave her an intensive course in piano lessons. In 1991, Maestro Escenbach, then the Musical Director of the Houston Symphony, invited Akiko to his own piano masterclass at the Music Academy in Hamburg, Germany. This paved the way for her entry into musical society in Europe. Maestro Eschenbach is now the Music Director of Orchestra De Paris and Philadelphia Orchestra. Akiko was recently honoured too, with an open invitation by the Salzburg Palace Concert to perform in Salzburg in the future. With her enthusiasm in music ever-growing, Akiko also provides inspiration as a teacher of music students, teachers and pianists. Over the last ten years, Akiko has continued to chalk up impressive milestones. In 1994, she gave a Solo Recital at the Victoria Concert Hall in Singapore. A year later, she teamed up with cellist Victor Lawrence of the New York Philharmonic for another concert and capped the year with the release of a CD titled 'Akiko Iijima; Mozart Sonatas' recorded in New York. Many solo recitals ensued including in New York, Long Island and San Francisco. Akiko not only delivers excellent music, she imparts it as well. In 1994, she ran a workshop organized by the Ministry of Education, Singapore while since 1996, she has taught at the National Institute of Education / Nanyang Technological University. In 1998 marked another high for Akiko as she began work as a Mentor on the Certificate of Teaching, leading to the qualification of CT-ABRSM which is run by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, United Kingdom. Whether performing or teaching, Akiko's quest to strive for the pinnacle of music excellence shows delightfully.