Born in Kamakura, Japan, Takahashi began studying piano at the age of five with her mother. She studied under Georg Vásárhelyi at the Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music where she received M. A. degree. Takahashi held her first public solo recital in 1970 in Tokyo and showed her enthusiasm and critical acclaim as an interpreter of new music by such composers as Messiaen, Boulez, Xenakis, Takemitsu, and others.
Since her debut, she has been very active in performing new music and has regularly worked world-wide since her recitals in 1972 at the Berlin Festival Week and Paris Autumn Festival.
While acknowledged for her classical musicianship, Takahashi is particularly lauded for her imaginative interpretation of contemporary works. John Cage, Morton Feldman, Isang Yun, Peter Garland and her brother, Yuji Takahashi, to name a few, have all created works for her.
Her recording career is also distinguished. Her landmark recording, Aki Takahashi Piano Space, with 20 contemporary piano works received the Merit Prize at the Japan Art Festival in 1973. Her series of Erik Satie concerts (1975–77, Tokyo), conceived and produced by Kuniharu Akiyama triggered a Satie boom throughout Japan, as a significant consequence. Takahashi was given a privilege to issue a complete collection of the composer’s piano works by her own editing and recording.
In 1980, she was invited by Morton Feldman to become a Creative Associate of “The Center of the Creative and Performing Arts” at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Since then, she has performed throughout the United States.
She received the 1st Kenzo Nakajima prize (1983) and the 1st Kyoto Music Award (1986). She was the director of the “New Ears” concert series in Yokohama (1983–97), a brand new showcase for new music.
In a project conceived, carried out, and performed by Aki Takahashi, 47 composers from around the world representing contemporary music were commissioned to create works inspired by various Beatles tunes. Of the resulting 4-CDs entitled “The Hyper Beatles” (Toshiba EMI), the first album was hailed by the New York Times as the “Best CD of 1990”.
In 2007, she was awarded 58th “Art Encouragement Prize” by the Minister of Education, Culture & Science for her CD “Schubert Piano Sonatas” and her concert “Morton Feldman TRIO”. In 2008, she won Merit Prize at the Japan Art Festival for her CD “The Perilous Night / Aki Takahashi Plays John Cage”. In 2011, she received the autumn Medal with Purple Ribbon Award.
Takahashi has continued an annual recital series “Piano Dramatic” from 2002 to 2016 in Tokyo.