ITOH Kei (Piano)
Kei Itoh studied piano with Kazuko Ariga since her childhood. After graduating Toho Gakuen High School, she went on to study at Universität Mozarteum Salzburg and Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hannover where she studied with Hans Leygraf. Since 1979, she has won numerous awards at international competitions including the top prize at the 32nd Internationalen Musikwettbewerbs der ARD München in 1983, for which she was the first Japanese to win the award inpiano division. In the same year, she made her Munich debut with Bayerische Staatsorchester conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch. In 1987, she began recording a CD series of “Schumanniana”, a collection of piano works by Robert Schumann. In May of next year, she played a concert commemorating the release of the recording. In 2015, her CD “Franz Schubert Klavierwerke 6” won the 53rd Record Academy Award and the 70th time Agency for Cultural Affairs art festival prize, and in 2016 “DUO 5” withviolinist Keisuke Okazaki received the 54th Record Academy Award. Her latest album is “Beethoven Klavierwerke 2” released in May 2020. She has performed with numerous orchestras in and outside of Japan including Symphonieorchesterdes BayerischenRundfunks, SWF Sinfonieorchester Baden Baden und Freiburg, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Orkiestra FilharmoniiNarodowej w Warszawie, and Ceská filharmonie. Itoh has been invited to the music festivals, including La Folle Journée au Japon, the Saito Kinen Festival, TakefuInternational Music Festival, Obuse Music Festival Risona, Risonare Chamber Music Festival. She plays chamber music with Nobuko Imai, Antonio Meneses and Keisuke Okazaki.
Itoh was invited to a judge at Concours de GenèveInternational Music Competition in 2018. She is currently a professor at Tokyo University of the Arts and a guest professor at Toho Gakuen College Music Department.
Born in Aichi (Japan) in 1991, Tomoki Kitamura.
Since he won the 1st prize(2nd prize was not awarded) and the Grand Jury Prize at the prestigious Tokyo Music Competition at the age of 14, he started his career in Japan.
Thereafter he has got prizes at important international piano competitions including Hamamatsu, Sydney, Leeds, and Telekom-Beethoven competition in Bonn.
Today Tomoki Kitamura appears constantly in the prestigious concert halls in Europa and Japan as a recital pianist, soloist of orchestra , chamber music player, and also as a fortepianist.
His 5 solo CDs received favorable reviews on the prestigious magazines in Japan.
He has been learning Piano with Prof.Kei Itoh, Prof.Ewa Pobłocka and Prof.Rainer Becker.
After graduation his Diplom with the distinction from Universität der Künste Berlin in 2017, he continues his study with a big interest in researching historical interpretation and instruments with Prof.Jesper Christensen at Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Frankfurt am Main.
OYA Saori (Piano)
After receiving her B. A. Diploma in the Toho Gakuen School of Music, Saori Oya moved to Belgium.
After graduating summa cum laude in 2000 from the Royal Conservatory of Brussels (Flemish side), she received the Grand Distinction Award for piano, chamber music, and contemporary music. Pursued further chamber music and contemporary music study through the specialization course, she became a piano lecturer at the same conservatory in 2004.
In addition to soloist activities, she plays in a piano duo with her brother Yutaka Oya, and the Oya Piano Duo was invited to perform in many international music festivals. They ambitiously took in works from the classical period to the present, and gained a reputation for having a diverse repertoire.
She also participated in many concerts by contemporary music ensembles: “Champ d’ Action”, “Ensemble Musiques Nouvelles”, “Prometheus Ensemble”, and the Royal Flanders Opera, and after 10 years in Belgium returned to Japan.
Recently, in addition to performing chamber music concerts throughout Japan, she is regularly invited to music festivals abroad. She is also engaged in a wide variety of activities that include conducting outreach programs at schools, acting as a judge at competitions, giving advice lessons, and producing a concert series, “Sunday Morning Classics”, for the enjoyment of classical music on Sunday mornings.
Released a new CD “Saori Oya Plays Brahms” (Sound Aria Records) in 2018.
Received the Fukui Prefecture Cultural Prize, Encouragement Award 2015.
Official site: www.saorioya.net
She received the prize for the most distinguished concert of the Experimental Sound, Art & Performance Festival Tokyo, the Phoenix Evolution Award Osaka, the special prize for the best performer for spanish contemporary music with the „Xavier Montsalvatge Competition“ in Spain and the first prize in the piano concerto competition of the Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa.
Chamber music plays an important role in her artistic life, working with many of the world’s leading artists, including Mario Caroli, Jeroen Berwaerts, Pierre Morlet, Barry Snyder, Teodoro Anzelotti and Eduard Brunner. A new CD for piano and cello together with the cellist Rohan De Saram will be released next year. She is the initiator and founder of the duo “contemporary piano currents” for piano and electronics.
Junko Yamamoto is invited to perform at many international festivals, recently Strasbourg International Music Festival “Le festival musica” in France, “Bartok International Festival” in Hungary, Musicarama Festival in Hong Kong, “Takefu International Music Festival” in Japan, Festival Bienal Música Hoje Curitiba, Sinuston Festival, Festival New Music Week among others.
She gave lectures and workshops at many Universities on the world including Korean National University of Arts in Seoul, National University of Ireland in Maynooth and the University College Cork, Wits University Johannesburg, University Stellenbosch, University of Cape Town, Universidade Federal do Paraná.
Japanese harpist Naoko Yoshino was born in London, and started her harp studies with Susann McDonald at the age of six in Los Angeles. In 1981, she received the Second Prize at the First International Harp Competition in Rome. In 1985, at the age of seventeen, she was the First Prize Winner at the Ninth International Harp Contest in Israel.
Naoko Yoshino’s solo engagements with the world’s top orchestras have included the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Zurich’s Tonhalle Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and Concentus Musicus Wien. Renowned conductors with whom she has shared the stage include Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Zubin Mehta, Pierre Boulez, Herbert Blomstedt, Yehudi Menuhin, Frühbeck de Burgos, and Seiji Ozawa. She has given solo recitals in New York, Vienna, London, and Tokyo, among other cities around the world.
Naoko Yoshino has been invited to numerous prestigious music festivals, such as the Lucerne, Salzburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Marlboro, and Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festivals. Through chamber music, she has worked closely with such renowned musicians as violinist Gidon Kremer, violists Veronika Hagen and Nobuko Imai, cellist Clemens Hagen, flutists Aurèle Nicolet, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Wolfgang Schulz, Emmanuel Pahud, and horn player Radek Baborák.
As an advocate of new repertoire for the harp, Naoko Yoshino has premiered many works, including Toru Takemitsu’ s “And then I knew ’twas Wind”, Toshio Hosokawa’ s Harp Concerto “Re-turning”, Yuji Takahashi’ s “Insomnia”, and Ami Maayani’ s “Sonata No.2” for solo harp.
Recordings to date include releases on the Teldec, Philips, Sony Classical, and Virgin Classics labels. In 2015, Naoko Yoshino released a Harp Concerto album from the Aparté label. The same year, she also started recording for her own private label “grazioso” . The first two albums from this new “grazioso” label: “Harp Recital – Favorite Masterpieces and more…” and “Harp Recital II – Sonata / Suite / Variations” , were met with much acclaim, and the third album “Harp Recital III – Schumann / Schubert / Mozart / Mendelssohn / Brahms / Bach” was released in February of 2018.
Prizes achieved include: 1988, Arts Festival Prize (Japan Agency for Cultural Affairs); 1989: Mobil Music Award for Brilliant Young Musicians; 1991, Avon Awards to Women (Arts division).
Born in Osaka, Japan, she began playing the piano at the age of 3 and graduated from Soai University (Faculty of Music).After studying at University,she began playing the harp.She is now a free-lance harpist and her activities incorporate solo, chamber ensemble and orchestral performances.She is a member of the violin and the harp duo‘X[iksa]’ with violinist Yasutaka Hemmi,and has performed more than 500 times including performances in South Korea,Australia,Canada and South Africa.Along with X[iksa], she is also a member of the harp duo ‘Farfalle’, with sister Eri Matsumura, and has performed in a range of contexts including the Arles International Harp Festival and the NHK-FM Recital. She has released five CDs so far;‘X[iksa]’in 2008,‘Farfalle au bois dormant’in 2009,‘Wa’in 2010,‘Casse-Noisette～Cadeau de Noel～’in 2012,‘Farfalle au pays merveilles’in 2013. She has given numerous first performances, and as an arranger, she has expanded the repertoire of harp music.
OTA Tomomi (Accordion)
Tomomi Ota started her musical studies with the piano at an early age, then took up the accordion at the age of 10 under Noboru Emori. After graduating from the Senior High School of Kunitachi College of Music in piano, she moved to Germany and studied the accordion under Mie Miki at Hochschule für Musik Detmold Abt. Dortmund (Accordion Education Department) and Folkwang Hochschule Essen (Artists Course). In February 2009, she passed the concerto exam at Folkwang Hochschule Essen with the highest honors. From October 2007, she moved to Vienna and studied at Konservatorium Wien under Grzegorz Stopa.
In 2002, she won the third prize at the Third JAA International Accordion Competition (advanced division). Since returning to Japan in the summer of 2009, she has performed widely as a soloist as well as in chamber music and with orchestras. She is also active in collaborating with the composers in creating and premiering new works, as well as perfoming in theatres.
Official site: http://www.tomomiota.net
Graduated from Kunitachi College of Music, Department of Piano and completed the research student cours of period instruments at the Toho Gakuen College under Chiyoko Arita. At the Amsterdam Conservatory, where she studied with Gustav Leonhardt and graduated with a soloist diploma. She was based in Amsterdam and has performed as a soloist and a basso continuo player in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, France, etc. and has given concerts as a member of the ensemble La tempesta and others. After returning to Japan, she has completed five cycles of the “Zyklus Complete Solo Harpsichord Works by J.S.Bach” and performed at the Fukuoka Ancient Music Festival. She presides over STUDIO CLAVECIN, where she teaches early music ensemble and harpsichord workshops for piano teachers.