The Yokohama International Piano Concert is a prime example of Yokohama’s ongoing effort to promote the new and the best in culture.Every year, as part of our efforts to discover and introduce new talent, we invite winners of international piano contests to perform at Yokohama Minato Mirai Hall.
This event was started in 1982 through the unstinting efforts of pianist, educator, and judge at many international piano contests, Yamaoka Yuko, her supporters and fans.
This year, in 2017, it is being held for the 36th time.
The first in this series was organized by the Yokohama International Piano Concert Planning Committee, the City of Yokohama, and the Yokohama Board of Education and held at the Kanagawa Kenritsu Ongakudo.
Later events in the series were held at the Kanagawa Kenmin Hall or Kannai Hall.
In 1998, the Concert was moved to the newly opened Yokohama Minato Mirai Hall, where it has been held ever since, organized by the Yokohama Arts Foundation with the cooperation of the City of Yokohama.
More than 180 talented young pianists have graced the Yokohama International Piano Concert stage, playing either solo or with orchestral accompaniment.
Many have gone on to become top-ranked artists with distinguished careers.For young pianists, participation in this Concert is a mark of distinction.
Selection of the pianists is the work of a planning committee composed of individuals who are themselves top-ranked performers.To be eligible to participate, pianists must be thirty-five or younger and have won awards at two or more international competitions.
Candidates are carefully screened before final selection is made.
Since the first Concert, members of the committee have included, in addition to Yamaoka Yuko, such renowned artists as Ono Kazushi, Kato Nobuyoshi, Nomura Koichi, Miyake Yoichiro, Miyoshi Akira, and Yamada Kazuo.The current committee is composed of Ebi Akiko, whom Yamaoka Yuko designated her successor as committee chair, Hironaka Takashi, Hori Ryosuke, Itoh Kei, and Suda Mamiko.
The Yokohama International Piano Concert is notable for its long history during which, from the very start, it has received warm and generous support from numerous individuals.
Particularly noteworthy is Hirose Osamu, who, in a time when facilities for practicing music were rare in Yokohama, built studios equipped with pianos at his own expense and provided them free of charge to the performers.
Hirose was also responsible for many companies besides his own forming tie-ups with Yokohama Minato Mirai Hall and providing the financial backing without which the Concert would not be possible.Another notable patron is the Hotel New Grand’s Hara Noriyuki, who proposed the formation of the Friends of the Yokohama International Piano Concert, to which many local companies and individuals who support the Concert belong.
Musical instrument companies have also been generous with their support.
At present Yamaha Music Japan Co.,Ltd. provides both comprehensive technical support and sponsorship.
The Yokohama International Piano Concert has become a cherished nexus for the performers, guests and others from Yokohama involved with the event to engage in cultural exchange.In recent years, the Concert has expanded beyond its roots in piano to include master classes in chamber music, special lectures on tuning and baroque dance, and parties for children.The continuing expansion of its scope has made it one of the world’s leading piano festivals.
Yokohama is first and foremost a city that has always incorporated and shared new cultural phenomena.
Conceived in that spirit, the Yokohama International Piano Concert discovers promising young pianists from around the world and showcases their talent.
The first of these concerts was held in 1982, making this year’s concert the thirty-sixth in the series.
It owes its existence to renowned international pianist Yamaoka Yuko’s dedication to fostering new artistic talent worldwide.
The more than 180 talented young pianists who have performed in these concerts to date make up a distinguished group from throughout the world.
These superb artists’ active careers attest to the major role that these concerts play, and participation in these concerts is thus a goal for young pianists everywhere.
This year, four of the world’s finest young pianists will display their youth and energy in not-to-be-missed performances.
Akiko EbiYokohama International Piano Planning Committee Chair
EBI Akiko won the 41st Music Competition of Japan as a freshperson at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. After graduating from the Paris Conservatoire as the top student, she continued her studies in graduate school of the Conservatoire. EBI was the 2nd Grand Prix winner of the Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud Competition, where she was also awarded four special prizes by A. Rubinstein. She also received the 5th Prize in the 10th International Chopin Piano Competition (4th prize not awarded). She has received awards and official commendations, including the Frederic Chopin Society of Japan Award, two of the Japan Gold Disc Award, Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French Government, a medal of honorary citizen of Paris and the Exxon-Mobile Music Prize (Japan).
She has performed under the baton of Stanisław Skrowaczewski, Vassily Sinaisky, Marek Janowski, Jean Fournet, Zdeněk Košler, Theodor Guschlbauer, Lawrence Foster, Erich Bergel, Rani Calderon, Frans Bruggen, Michiyoshi Inoue, Yutaka Sado, Kenichiro Kobayashi and many other eminent conductors and with orchestras, such as the NHK Symphony Orchestra, the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, theTokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra and local symphony orchestras in Sapporo, Kansai, Hiroshima and Kyushu, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra, Slovak Philharmonic and Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra, Argentine National Symphony Orchestra as well as orchestras in Latvia, UK and other countries. In the field of chamber music, she has played a number of times with Ivry Gitlis, Augustin Dumay, Regis Pasquier, Arto Noras, Gautier Capucon, Yumino Toyoda, Angela Hewitt, Michel Dalberto, the Moragues Quintet, the Parisii Quartet and Quatuor Via Nova.
In spring 2012, EBI completed recording in Warsaw for a CD of Chopin’s complete preludes and impromptus on an Erard of 1838. She has released 11 CD albums, including works of Chopin, Ravel, Dynam-Victor Fumet (world’s first performance), Lekeu, Anton von Webern, César Franck, Gabriel Pierné’s Quartet for Piano and Strings and Hikari Oe’s works for piano etc. Her publications include sheet music, “Ravel: Complete Piano Works” (3 volumes), and a book, “Aldo Ciccolini – Je Suis Un Lirico Spinto” (Japanese translation) published by Zen-On Music Company Ltd.).
Enjoying the full confidence of pianistic circles worldwide as one of the most distinguished pianists representing Japan, EBI has been asked to teach master classes in many countries and to serve on the jury of international piano competitions in different parts of the world as Chopin in Warsaw , Hamamatsu for 8th & 9th edition as president of jury.
As a music educator, she formerly served as Visiting Professor at Department of Instrumental Music (Piano), Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music as well as Professor at Graduate School, Nihon University College of Art. She is trustee of the Frederic Chopin Society of Japan and chairperson of the Planning Committee of Yokohama International Piano Concert. She studied with Hisako Endo, Junko Kojima, Rie Okamura, Susumu Nagai, Toyoaki Matsuura, Kazuko Yasukawa, Aldo Ciccolini, Marie-Claire Laroche, Louis Kentner, Conrad Hansen, Colette Zerah and Vlado Perlemuter.
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