© Eiji Shinohara
Maho Ishino graduated from the Music Department of Toho Gakuen School of Music, majoring in Piano Course, and went on to acquire an Ensemble Diploma there. Later, as a Fondation Franco-Japonaise Sasakawa scholar, she underwent training at the Théâtre du Châtelet of Théâtre musical de Paris under Sabine Vatin to become a corépétiteur. Meanwhile, she performed at a string of concerts such as “les midi musicaux”, a series of concerts at Châtelet. After returning to Japan, she has branched out as a corépétiteur, being a part of a wide array of opera concerts at Tokyo Nikikai Opera Foundation, New National Theatre Tokyo, Biwako Hall Center for the Performing Arts, and Nissay Theatre to name a few. She also performs alongside vocals and instruments, and serves as a keyboard instrument player at various domestic orchestras. She has performed at events such as Kirishima International Music Festival, Miyazaki International Music Festival, Sendai Classical Music Festival, and La Folle Journée. Ishino is currently pianist at Nikikai Opera Institute and NNY Opera Studio.
After graduating from Showa University of Music with a special award, Eri Ishibashi completed the advanced course at the same school. She studied piano under Takahiro Sonoda and was a finalist at the 13th Clara Haskil International Piano Competition in Switzerland. Ms. Ishibashi then enrolled in the postgraduate program at the State University of Music and the Performing Arts Stuttgart, where she studied piano accompaniment for lieder works under Konrad Richter and also studied in the Piano department, earning the highest marks upon completing the program.
Ms. Ishibashi won the Outstanding Accompanist Award at the 4th International Schubert-Lied Competition for Voice and Piano and the Best Accompaniment Award at the 15th Biwako International Flute Competition.
Since she returned to Japan, Ms. Ishibashi has pursued her career mainly as an ensemble pianist and has performed with artists from Japan and abroad for recitals and concerts, while serving as an official accompanist for various competitions such as the Kobe International Flute Competition, the Asia Flute Competition, and the Japan Woodwind Competition.
Previously, Ms. Ishibashi was an assistant accompanist at Tokyo University of the Arts. She is currently a lecturer in the department of Piano and Piano Accompaniment at Showa University of Music and Showa College of Music.
Masako Eguchi graduated from the piano department of the Senzoku Gakuen Academy of Music and its graduate school. While in school, she received a scholarship to further study at the Ferenc Liszt University of Music in Hungary. Eguchi then obtained a teaching position as Korrepetitor at the same school and won prizes as the best accompanist at various wind music competitions in Hungary. She moved to Germany in 2004, where she was offered a post at the State Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Stuttgart. Because her work as Korrepetitor has earned such high praise from several different people, Eguchi not only teaches at music colleges in Stuttgart, but also in Köln, Mainz, and Basel. She has worked with distinguished professors Ingo Goritzki, Christian Wetzel, Emanuel Abbuehl and Christian Schmitt in their classes.
As a chamber music player, Eguchi has performed in a number of concerts, including a “Lunchtime Concert2” on BBC Radio (UK), chamber music concerts on SWR Radio (Germany) and Bartók Rádió (Hungary), and the Beethoven Festival Bonn (Germany). She has performed with many well-known musicians.
Eguchi often performs with Philippe Tondre (the second prize winner at the 9th International Oboe Competition in Karuizawa, Japan), one of her chamber music partners, and their chamber music concert at the Beethoven Festival Bonn won the Beethoven Ring Prize in 2012.
She is an official accompanist for the ARD Munich International Music Competition and the Markneukirchen International Instrumental Competition. She serves as an official accompanist for many orchestra auditions, as well.
© Shigeto Imura
After graduating from Musashino Academia Musicae and then completing a post-graduate course there, Mizuho Ohno completed a diploma course with highest honors at Hochschule für Musik Karlsruhe, Germany. After continually devoting himself to studies in a soloist course, he obtained the German Konzertexamen (Performer’s Diploma) with highest honors.
His awards include 3rd place in the piano solo category and 1st place in the chamber music category at the Premio Rovere d'Oro (Italy), 2nd place at the Dichler Wettbewerb (Austria), and 1st place and the Special Liszt Award at the Concours de piano de Brest (France), as well as numerous other competition awards in Japan and abroad.
He has performed as a soloist for the Musashino Academia Musicae Orchestra and for the Philharmonie Baden-Baden. In addition, he has performed at numerous concerts in Japan and abroad, including solo recitals at Tsuda Hall and Ohji Hall. He was also an accompaniment assistant at Hochschule für Musik Karlsruhe.
At the 85th Music Competition of Japan he received the Special Recognition Award from the Committee for his outstanding co-performance in the oboe category.
Up until now, he has studied under A. Tamura, J. Ganeva, K. Ganev, and K. Randalu. He is currently active in numerous performance-related activities as a soloist and a chamber musician. He is an instructor at Musashino Academia Musicae Senior High School and its affiliated Music School.
Junko Oka began playing piano at the age of 10. She graduated from Osaka College of Music, where she played with the College Opera House Orchestra. She then obtained a diploma in the Piano Accompaniment department at Conservatoire de Musique de Genève. While at the conservatoire, Ms. Oka served as accompanist/assistant to horn player, professor Bruno Schneider. After graduating, Ms. Oka was accompanist/assistant to master oboist, Mr. Maurice Bourgue, from 2006 though 2010.
Ms. Oka was an official accompanist at the 41st Concours International de Violon Tibor Varga, the Xi’an International Oboe Festival, and the 10th and the 11th International Oboe Competition of Japan. She also served as an assistant pianist in the violin and bassoon classes at the 36th and 37th Kusatsu International Summer Music Academy and the 23rd Hamamatsu International Wind Instrument Academy and Festival.
Currently, Ms. Oka is involved in a wide range of musical activities. She works with artists from abroad and regularly performs with orchestras in the Kansai region as an extra. She also performs on CD recordings, works with chamber groups, and serves as accompanist on an FM radio program, Recital Nova.
She studied piano under Kazumi Okada, Katsuko Kawagishi, and Mayumi Kameda, and she studied piano accompaniment and chamber music under Jean-Jacques Balet.
photo: Kiyotane Hayashi
Born in Tokyo, Akiko Kuwagata completed Music High School associated with the Faculty of Music at Tokyo University of the Arts (Composition Course). Halfway through her studies at Tokyo University of the Arts, she attended the Hochschule für Musik Detmold and the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Stuttgart (Harpsichord Course) on a DAAD scholarship granted by the German government and obtained Dimplom-Konzertexamen. She later moved to Paris and taught at Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional de Cergy-Pontoise CRR and Conservatoire de Musique de Chaumont, while concertizing throughout various cities in Europe.
As an overseas trainee of the Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan, she furthered her harpsichord and organ study in Italy and Spain. In addition to winning the second prize (no first prize) at the 8th Bruges International Harpsichord Competition Musica Antiqua, she was a runner-up at various competitions such as the FEP Paris International Harpsichord Competition and the International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition.
Kuwagata returned to Japan in 2000 after residing in Europe for 17 years, and her work in Tokyo and elsewhere has been multifaceted, giving countless seminars on early music temperament and style. She studied harpsichord under Kenneth Gilbert, Rinaldo Alessandrini, the late Waldemar Döling, and she studied organ under Odile Bailleux and Jose Luis Gonzalez Uriol. Presently, she is a part-time lecturer at Tokyo University of the Arts and a lecturer at the Harmony Hall in Matsumoto. She was a jury member at the Yamanashi Baroque Music Competition in 1997, 2003, and 2007. Solo album FROBERGER, J.J.: Partitas Nos. 1-6 (Meditation - Froberger's Vision) was released from “Tree” label under Dream Window in December 2007, which is now available worldwide digitally on high-resolution audio.
After completing studies in piano at the Royal Academy of Music, Tomoko Nozawa obtained a master’s degree from the Early Music department of Tokyo University of the Arts. She then received a Diplôme Supérieur de Concertiste from the Harpsichord department at the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional (CRR) de Paris with honors by unanimous decision. Ms. Nozawa was awarded first prize at the 17th Yamanashi Baroque Music Competition, and received a diploma award at the Bruges International Competition Musica Antiqua.
Ms. Nozawa served as an overseas trainee for the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan. She studied under Masaaki Suzuki, Noelle Spieth, and Christophe Rousset, among others. In 2005 and 2015, Ms. Nozawa was invited to perform by the Association Claveçin en France as a young and upcoming performer. She has played basso continuo with a number of European early music ensembles that play music ranging from Baroque through Mozart, including Opera Fuoco, conducted by David Stern.
In 2014 and 2015, Ms. Nozawa was an opera production trainee of Christophe Rousset’s Les Talents Lyriques. Back in Tokyo, she conducted from the keyboard Rameau’s operas: Platée in 2012 and 2014, and Les Indes Galantes in 2015. Ms. Nozawa leads Cie du Trianon, an early music ensemble; 6 Mains 8 Pieds, a harpsichord unit; and Studio Trianon.
Yuka NISHINO (violin)
Yukiko YOSHIDA (viola)
Hajime OTOMO (cello)
The Quartet Excelsior is the most active and one of the few Japanese touring quartets performing around the world.
The Quartet gives more than seventy concerts a year. For their regular concert series in Tokyo, Kyoto and Sapporo, they perform the classic quartet repertoire centering around Beethoven. In addition, they are running currently “Challenge to Future of string quartet” concert series with 20th Century and contemporary music under their “Lab. Excelsior” project, “Traveling of String Quartet” Series with popular repertoire, and furthermore “Around Mozart” Series in “String Quartets on Weekends” (Dai-ichi Seimei Hall, Tokyo). The Quartet is also committed to widening the audience for chamber music through their concerts for children and community-based concert activities.
Quartet Excelsior was formed in 1994 at the Toho School of Music. Since, they have launched a brilliant career, winning many of the prizes for chamber music in Japan, such as the second prize at the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition in 1996. The highlight was the second prize (without first) at the renowned Paolo Borciani International String Quartet Competition in 2000 in Italy, in which they were also awarded the Salvatore Sciarrino Special Prize.
The position of Quartet Excelsior as one of the leading quartets in Japan was firmly established with the Shin-Nittetsu Fresh Artist Prize in 2009 and the Hotel Okura Music Award in 2014. They were also invited six years until 2016 to join the teaching faculty of the Suntory Hall’s Chamber Music Academy. They performed as a Japanese Group very first the complete 16 string quartets by Beethoven just in two weeks June 2016 on Suntory Hall.
As for international appearances, they have given concerts in England, Germany, Romania, South Korea, Uzbekistan, and on Hawaii.
© Satoru Mitsuta
Born in Tokyo. Since April 2015 he has been a Resident Conductor of Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. Watanabe has served as the Resident Conductor of Hiroshima Symphony Orchestra from 1995 to 2002, and the Conductor of Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra from 1996 to March 2015. He made debut with NHK Symphony Orchestra in 1998 and since then he has regularly conducted the orchestra in subscription concerts and others. Other Japanese orchestras he regularly conducts are Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, New Japan Philharmonic, from all of which he has won trust on his musicality and conducting. He is also remarkable for conducting operas and ballets. He has conducted Mascagni's L'amico Fritz at the New National Theatre, Tokyo, Swan Lake, Nutcracker, and Don Quixote for the ballet company of the same theatre. He is also making international career conducting a subscription concert of St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra in 03/04 season.
He performed a Haydn's piano concerto as a pianist with Tokyo Symphony Orchestra and Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra at the age of 8. From 1987 to 1989 he studied piano at the Music Academy of Darmstadt, and in Prof. Hans Leygraf's master class. Since returning to Japan he has performed Beethoven's piano concertos No. 3 and No. 5 "Emperor", programs of Ravel, Mozart, some of which he conducted and played the piano in subscription concerts of Tokyo Philharmonic, and with Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra and Sapporo Symphony Orchestra. Watanabe's talent as a pianist is also appreciated.
© Takafumi Ueno
In 2011, the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra celebrated its 100th anniversary as Japan’s first symphony orchestra. With about 130 musicians, TPO performs both symphonies and operas regularly. TPO is proud to have appointed Maestro Myung-Whun Chung, who has been conducting TPO since 2001, as Honorary Music Director, Maestro Andrea Battistoni as Chief Conductor and Maestro Mikhail Pletnev as Special Guest Conductor.
TPO has established its world-class reputation through its subscription concert series, regular opera and ballet assignments at the New National Theatre, and a full, ever in-demand agenda around Japan and the world, including broadcasting with NHK Broadcasting Corporation, various educational programs, and tours abroad. In March, 2014, TPO became a global sensation in its centennial world tour of six major cities: New York, Madrid, Paris, London, Singapore and Bangkok. In December 2015, TPO held Beethoven’s 9th symphony concerts in Seoul and Tokyo with Mastro Myung-Whun Chung, with Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra combined into one orchestra. TPO has partnerships with Bunkamura Orchard Hall, the Bunkyo Ward in Tokyo, Chiba City, Karuizawa Cho in Nagano and Nagaoka City in Niigata.