Avex Recital Series 2023-2024


Beethoven, Dai Fujikura and Felix Mendelssohn

SAT 16 DECEMBER 2023 1:00pm
Wigmore Hall
Tickets: £18 / £12

YU KOSUGE profile

“equal parts emotional and cerebral… the bold, tempestuous waves that
Kosuge created so naturally at the keyboard.”

With her superlative technique, sensitivity of touch, and profound understanding of the music she plays, Yu Kosuge continues to develop a distinguished international career as a concert pianist. Yu has been giving recitals and performing with orchestras since early childhood; at the age of nine she made her debut with the Tokyo New City Orchestra. In 1993 she moved to Europe to continue her studies in Hannover and Salzburg and received great support and inspiration from András Schiff.

Yu Kosuge has appeared at leading venues in Berlin, Hamburg, Köln, Munich, Vienna, Salzburg, London, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Zurich, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Tokyo, Washington and New York. She has performed at festivals across Europe including Salzburger Festspiele, Rheingau, Schleswig-Holstein, Bremen, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Passau, Braunschweig, Mozartwoche Salzburg, Holland Music Festival, Piano Festival Lille, La Roque d’Anthéron Piano Festival and La Folle Journée de Nantes. She also enjoys chamber music and has performed with members of the Berlin Philharmonic.

Yu Kosuge regularly performs with all the major Japanese orchestras, and with many leading European orchestras including the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, NDR Radiophilharmonie, hr-Sinfonieorchester Frankfurt, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Camerata Salzburg, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, St Petersburg Symphony, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. She has performed with conductors including Seiji Ozawa, Jun Märkl, Philippe Herreweghe, Gerd Albrecht, Lawrence Foster, Sakari Oramo, Christian Arming, Yutaka Sado, Mark Wigglesworth, Kazuki Yamada, Osmo Vänskä, Vasili Petrenko and Dennis Russell Davies.

In September 2009 Sony released Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No 1 with the Mito Chamber Orchestra and Seiji Ozawa with a selection from Songs Without Words. Yu Kosuge’s other recordings on Sony include Liszt’s 12 Études d´exécution transcendante, Chopin’s Préludes and Nocturne, and Mozart’s Piano Concertos Nos 20 and 22. In 2015 Yu Kosuge completed recording all 32 Beethoven Sonatas, which were released as a box set in the autumn of 2016. In November 2018 Orchid Classics released ‘Water’, the first CD in her ‘Four Elements’ cycle. The second volume, ‘Fire’, was released in 2019 and the third volume was released in March 2021. The 4th volume, “Earth’ was released in January 2022. In May 2022 Sony released her CD that includes Dai Fujikura’s Impulse Piano Concerto No. 3 and Ravel‘s Piano Concerto with BBC Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Ryan Wigglesworth. In March 2017 Yu Kosuge won the Suntory Music Award, presented to individuals or organizations who have made an outstanding contribution to the development of Western music in Japan.


Beethoven, Mozart and R Schumann

SAT 27 JANUARY 2024 1:00pm
Wigmore Hall
Tickets: £18 / £12


‘Shoji isn’t merely a superb technician, she’s a
deeply engaging performer”

Sayaka Shoji has become internationally recognised for her unique artistic versatility and detailed approach to her chosen repertoire.. Her remarkable insight into musical languages comes from her mix of European and Japanese backgrounds. Born in Tokyo, Shoji moved to Siena, Italy when she was three. She studied at Accademia Musicale Chigiana and Cologne’s Musikhochschule and made her European debut with Lucerne Festival Strings and Rudolf Baumgartner at the Lucerne Festival and then at the Musikverein, Vienna at the age of fourteen.

Since winning first prize at the Paganini Competition in 1999, Sayaka Shoji has been supported by leading conductors such as Zubin Mehta, Lorin Maazel, Semyon Bychkov, Mariss Jansons and Yuri Temirkanov to name a few. She has also worked with renowned orchestras including the Israel Philharmonic, Philharmonia Orchestra, Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, Los Angeles and New York Philharmonics, the Orchestra dell​’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Czech Philharmonic, Wiener Symphoniker, The Mariinsky Orchestra and NHK Symphony Orchestra.

Recent highlights include successful debuts at the BBC Proms with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/​Vasily Petrenko and the Blossom Festival with the Cleveland Orchestra, an exciting jump-in of five concerts for the opening of the 22/23 season with the Israel Philharmonic/​Lahav Shani, a recital tour with Víkingur Ólafsson, a UK tour with Philharmonia Orchestra/​Ashkenazy, as well as Bernstein’s 100th gala at Vienna Musikverein with Tonkünstler-Orchester/Sado which was recorded and released by Tonkünstler label.

In the upcoming seasons, Shoji will focus on various projects with her duo partner, Gianluca Cascioli on tour in Japan, and a collaboration with dancer/​choreographer Saburo Teshigawara performing Bach and Bartok​’s solo works at the Philharmonie de Paris. She will also appear with the Philharmonia/Matias-Rouvali, on tour in Italy and the UK, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra/​Chang, Brussels Philharmonic/​Ono, and make a return to NHK Symphony Orchestra/​Noseda.


“Cascioli is a genius, and genius makes its own rules; there is never a dull moment when he’s around…”

Gianluca Cascioli’s career was launched with his victory at the 1994 Umberto Micheli International Piano Competition. He has since appeared in the major music centres of Europe, North America, and Japan.

Cascioli has performed with prestigious ensembles such as Berlin Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Camerata Salzburg, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Chicago Symphony, Philharmonia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic,, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, La Scala Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Wiener Symphoniker, Wiener Philharmoniker.

Over the years, he has been supported by leading conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Myung-Whun Chung, Daniel Harding, Riccardo Muti, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Metha, YuriTemirkanov and Mstislav Rostropovich, among others.  Cascioli has also performed chamber music with Mstislav Rostropovich, Yuri Bashmet, Maxim Vengerov, Frank Peter Zimmermann, Alban Berg Quartett, Clemens Hagen, Sabine Meyer, and Sayaka Shoji.
For his recording activity, Mr. Cascioli has released several critical acclaim recordings from Deutsche Grammophon since 1995.  His latest album from Harmonia Mundi includes Piano Concertos op. 58 and 61a by Beethoven, together with Ensemble Resonanz conducted by Riccardo Minasi.  He also recorded complete Beethoven’s sonatas for piano and violin with Sayaka Shoji.

Gianluca Cascioli studied composition at the Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi di Torino with Alessandro Ruo Rui and later with Alberto Colla. Cascioli’ s compositions have been performed in important venues such as the Musikhalle (Hamburg), Wigmore Hall (London), and Palau de la Musica (Barcellona). In 2018, Universal released 2 new digital albums with Cascioli’s compositions.

Bach, Chopin and Rachmaninov

SAT 6 APRIL 2024 1:00pm
Wigmore Hall


“It was one of those rare performances where player and music seem one – a definition of virtuosity.”

Described by The Observer as the “definition of virtuosity” Japanese pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii (Nobu), who has been blind from birth, won the joint Gold Medal at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2009 and has gone on to earn an international reputation for the passion and excitement he brings to his live performances.

Nobu has appeared in concert with leading orchestras worldwide including Mariinsky Orchestra, Philharmonia, BBC Philharmonic, NHK Symphony, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony, Tokyo Symphony and Japan Philharmonic orchestras, Seattle and Baltimore symphony orchestras, Filarmonica della Scala and the Sinfonieorchester Basel under the baton of conductors such as Valery Gergiev, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Vladimir Spivakov, Juanjo Mena and Vasily Petrenko. Nobu’s past appearances as a recitalist have seen him perform at prestigious venues across the world such as Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium, the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris, the Wigmore Hall and Royal Albert Hall in London, the Berlin Philharmonie, and Vienna’s Musikverein.

Following a summer season that included critically acclaimed appearances with Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, at the Verbier Festival, the Snape Maltings Proms, Biarritz Piano Festival, Musica Mundi Festival, and the Festival de Menton, Nobu’s 2022/23 season sees him perform recital programmes at Carnegie Hall, London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, Birmingham Town Hall, and the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall. Nobu also features as a concerto soloist with Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under Domingo Hindoyan, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Vasily Petrenko, the Seattle Symphony Orchestra under Jiri Rozen, the Sarasota Orchestra, and the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra, in addition to numerous solo and concerto appearances across his native Japan. Earlier seasons have seen Nobu work with Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg under Kent Nagano and the NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover under Andrew Manze. He received critical acclaim for his recitals at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and the Théâtre des Champs Elysées, as well as his debut with Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra.

An exclusive recording artist for Avex Classics International, Nobu’s growing album catalogue encompasses the breadth of the piano concerto repertoire. As of the start of the 2021/22 season it includes Chopin’s Piano Concerto No.2 with Vladimir Ashkenazy and Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Grieg’s Piano Concerto and Rachmaninov’s Variations on a theme of Paganini under Vasily Petrenko with Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.2 with Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No.1 with Yutaka Sado and BBC Philharmonic, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.5 with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Nobu has also recorded several recital programmes of Chopin, Mozart, Debussy, and Liszt.

A live DVD recording of Nobu’s 2011 Carnegie Hall recital was named DVD of the Month by Gramophone, as was his latest DVD release, Touching the Sound – The Improbable Journey of Nobuyuki Tsujii, a documentary film by Peter Rosen.
Nobu’s international tours are supported by All Nippon Airways (ANA) and he gratefully acknowledges their assistance.