Avex Recital Series 2020 [CANCELLED]

Closure of Wigmore Hall ~31 July 2020
Sadly, due to Wigmore Hall’s closure until 31 July 2020, our concerts on 23 May with Yu Kosuge and on 27 June with Nobuyuki Tsujii will no longer be going ahead. As Wigmore Hall plans to reopen to the public this September we very much hope you will join us for our concerts on 28 November with Sayaka Shoji and Víkingur Ólafsson and on 19 December with Mao Fujita.
Thank you for your understanding and for your continued interest in supporting Japanese artists!
(2020/4/4 UP)

Wigmore Hall Recital

Sat 23 May 2020 1:00pm cancelled
Wigmore Hall

The Washington Post wrote of her Chopin, ‘Fleeting moments of crystalline textures and pastoral hues gave way to the bold, tempestuous waves that Kosuge created so naturally at the keyboard.’

DAQUIN: “Le coucou” & “Les vents en courroux” from Premier livre de Pièces de Clavecin
COUPERIN: “Les petites moulins à vent” from Troisieme livre de Pièces de Clavecin
RAMEAU: “Le Rappel des Oiseaux” from Deuxième livre de Pièces de Clavecin
NISHIMURA: Kalavinka (2006)
BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonata Op.31-2 “Tempest”
STRAVINSKY: excerpts from “Firebird” (Piano version by Stravinsky)


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 Symphony Orchestra Hamburg, NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover, Berliner Sinfonie Orchester, Radio-Sinfonie Orchester Frankfurt, Camerata Salzburg, St Petersburg Symphony, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Radio Symphony Orchestra Finland, 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, Osmo Vänskä, Vasili Petrenko and Dennis Russell Davies.

This season Yu Kosuge makes her debut with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande conducted by Jonathan Nott, performing Dai Fujikura’s 3rd Piano Concerto ‘Impulse’.

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’, will be released this season.

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.

Yu Kosuge lives in Berlin.


Wigmore Hall Recital

Sat 27 June 2020 1:00pm cancelled
Wigmore Hall

‘It was one of those rare performances where player and music seem one – a definition of virtuosity.’ ~The Observer

Piano Sonata No.21 Op.53 ‘Waldstein’
Piano Sonata No.29 Op.106 ‘Hammerklavier’


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.

In concert, Nobu has appeared with leading orchestras worldwide including the Mariinsky Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, NHK Symphony, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony, Tokyo Symphony and Japan Philharmonic, Seattle and Baltimore symphony orchestras, Münchner Philharmoniker, Filarmonica della Scala and Sinfonieorchester Basel under the baton of conductors such as Valery Gergiev, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Vladimir Spivakov, Juanjo Mena and Vasily Petrenko.

As a recitalist, Nobu has performed at prestigious venues across the world such as Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium and regularly appears at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris, Royal Albert Hall in London, Berlin Philharmonie, and Musikverein in Vienna.

In the 2019/20 season, Nobu debuts with Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg under Kent Nagano, NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover under Andrew Manze, and Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra under Jaap van Zweden. He also returns to play under Vasily Petrenko with Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. Other engagements this season include appearances at Enescu Festival and a number of recitals at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Wigmore Hall and Birmingham’s Town Hall. He also makes his debut in the Netherlands, playing a recital at the Riaskoff Series at Amsterdam Concertgebouw.

Last season’s highlights include two sold-out performances at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium: a concert with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and a solo piano recital, concerts with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra under Vladimir Ashkenazy, and the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra under Valery Gergiev; as well as performances at the Berlin Philharmonie and London Southbank Centre. Nobu also joined the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra Asia tour to Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan.

An exclusive recording artist for Avex Classics International, Nobu’s latest album is Chopin’s Piano Concerto No.2 with Vladimir Ashkenazy and Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. He also recorded 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 the BBC Philharmonic, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.5 with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and recital discs 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.


Sayaka Shoji violin
Víkingur Ólafsson piano

Wigmore Hall Recital

Sat 28 November 2020 1:00pm
Wigmore Hall
Tickets: £18 / £12

‘Shoji isn’t merely a superb technician, she’s a deeply engaging performer. Her richly resonant, spirited sound that is impressive and so, too, is the poetic delicacy of her phrasing.’ ~Gramophone

‘For Bach playing of a higher order, there is only one place to go: the recent album by Víkingur Ólafsson.’ ~The Times 5*

PROKOFIEV:5 Melodies, Op.35
BARTÓK: Violin Sonata No.1 BB84
BRAHMS: Violin Sonata No.2 in A major, Op.100

Sayaka Shoji

DJapanese violinist, Sayaka Shoji has become internationally recognised for her musicianship, brilliant technique and enduring strength on the concert platform. She has developed an extensive repertoire including masterworks by Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Sibelius and Shostakovich as well as newly commissioned works.

Shoji works regularly with top conductors including; Yuri Temirkanov, Zubin Mehta, Gianandrea Noseda, Mariss Jansons, Paavo Järvi, Vladimir Ashkenazy and Osmo Vänska and performs with leading orchestras such as; St Petersburg Philharmonic, The Mariinsky and NHK Symphony as well as Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.

Highlights of Sayaka’s 2019/20 season include tours with the Philharmonia Orchestra to the UK and Japan under the batons of Vladimir Ashkenazy and Esa Pekka-Salonen respectively. In addition, she will make her debut with The Cleveland Orchestra and give concerts in Belfast with Ulster Orchestra, as well as returning to St Petersburg to perform Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the St Petersburg Philharmonic and Yuri Temirkanov for the closing concert of their season.

Continuing her interest in cross-arts projects, Sayaka will collaborate again with Japanese choreographer, Saburo Teshigawara, for performances of a combined music and dance project in Japan featuring works by Stravinsky, Sylvestrov, Hindemith and Pärt, amongst others. Alongside her concert activities, she has created an experimental visual arts project called ‘Synesthesia’ where she transforms music into visual forms of expression. She will give recitals with projection of her video work in Paris in April.

In recital, Sayaka has worked with Gianluca Cascioli, with whom she has recorded the complete Beethoven Sonatas for Piano and Violin. This season, she will give chamber music concerts with Nicholas Angelich and Modigliani Quartet and tour with Vikingur Ólafsson including a date at the Wigmore Hall.

Last season, Sayaka joined her supporter, Yuri Temirkanov and the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra on tour to Italy, including performances at Parco della Musica in Rome. The pair have toured extensively with Orchestras including St Petersburg Philharmonic, London Symphony, Philharmonia and Baltimore Symphony to much of Europe, Japan, Mexico, Russia and the USA.

A prolific recording artist, Sayaka has released several albums on Deutsche Grammophon including Sibelius and Beethoven Violin Concertos with the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Temirkanov. With Yutaka Sado and the Tonkünstler Orchester she recently released a live disc recorded at the Musikverein, Vienna featuring Bernstein Serenade. Other live recordings include sonatas by Mozart, Schubert and Brahms recorded with Menahem Pressler.

Sayaka was educated in Siena and Cologne and in 1999 she took first prize as the youngest and first Japanese winner of the Paganini Competition. She was awarded the Mainichi Art Award in 2016, one of Japan’s most prestigious awards, presented to those who have had a significant influence on the arts. She plays a Recamier Stradivarius c.1729 kindly loaned to her by Ueno Fine Chemicals Industry Ltd.


Víkingur Ólafsson

Pianist Víkingur Ólafsson’s remarkable originality and powerful musical conviction have seen him, in just a few years, take the music world by storm to become one of the most sought-after artists of today.

Ólafsson made an unforgettable impact with the release of his two landmark albums, Philip Glass Piano Works and Johann Sebastian Bach on Deutsche Grammophon, for whom he is an exclusive recording artist. Praised for revealing new possibilities within the music, Johann Sebastian Bach – featuring diverse original compositions and transcriptions, including Ólafsson’s own – deeply resonated with audiences and critics around the world. It appeared in multiple best albums of the year lists, was named one of the greatest ever Bach recordings in Gramophone, won the 2019 Opus Klassik Piano Recital Album of the Year award, and won Best Instrumental and overall Album of the Year at the BBC Music Magazine Awards 2019. Ólafsson was named the 2019 Gramophone Artist of the Year and Limelight magazine’s International Artist of the Year 2019.

Ólafsson’s previous album, Philip Glass Piano Works was an equal success and saw him named “Iceland’s Glenn Gould” by the New York Times and “breathtakingly brilliant pianist” by Gramophone, while Le Monde heralded the pianist’s “volcanic temperament, great virtuosity, taste for challenges”. Ólafsson’s anticipated next album on Deutsche Grammophon, Debussy Rameau, will be launched in March 2020.

With a captivating ability to communicate both on and off-stage, Ólafsson’s coming seasons are marked by a series of high-profile international artist residencies at some of the world’s top concert halls. This begins in 2019-20 at the Konzerthaus Berlin with fourteen performances over eleven different projects, playing concertos by Thomas Adès, Schumann, Daníel Bjarnason and Mozart, two solo recitals and chamber programmes with the likes of Martin Fröst and Florian Boesch.

This season will see Ólafsson give the French première of John Adams’ Piano Concerto No.2 with Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and also perform the work with Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra – both with Adams conducting, as well as concerts with: Konzerthausorchester Berlin and Christoph Eschenbach; Hallé and Klaus Mäkelä; Hong Kong Philharmonic and Jaap van Zweden; Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra with Ed Gardner; San Diego Symphony with Rafael Payare; and Iceland Symphony Orchestra with Daníel Bjarnason. Ólafsson will also give solo recitals at Wiener Konzerthaus, Luzern Festival, Konzerthaus Berlin, Gothenburg Concert Hall and across Japan for a recital tour.

Highlights of the 2018-19 season included a return to the Los Angeles Philharmonic performing with Thomas Adès, opening Gothenburg Symphony’s season with Santtu Matias-Rouvali and performances with Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lille, Philharmonia Orchestra and Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He gave recitals across Japan, the USA and in European halls including the Berliner Philharmoniker, London’s Royal Albert Hall, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Laeiszhalle in Hamburg, Palau de la Música in Barcelona, and Flagey in Brussels.

Víkingur Ólafsson has premiered six piano concerti to date, most recently that of Haukur Tómasson, with NDR Elbphilhamonie Orchester and Los Angeles Philharmonic under Esa-Pekka Salonen.

Always pushing boundaries, Ólafsson set up his own record label prior to signing to Deutsche Grammophon, created and presented the Icelandic television series on classical music, Útúrdúr, and is founder and artistic director of the award-winning Reykjavík Midsummer Music.


Mao Fujita
Wigmore Hall Recital

Sat 19 December 2020 1:00pm
Wigmore Hall
Tickets: £18 / £12

MOZART: Piano Sonata in C major K.309
TCHAIKOVSKY: Romance in F minor Op.5
SCHUBERT: Fantasy in C major D760 ‘Wanderer’

Mao Fujita

Born in Tokyo in 1998, Mao’s first international acclaim was at age 18 when he won the 27th Concours International De Piano Clara Haskil in Switzerland, also winning three special awards the “Audience Award,” the “Prix Modern Times,” and the “Prix Coup de Coeur”. In June 2019, Mao fascinated Moscow, winning the second prize at the 16th International Tchaikovsky Competition. He was welcomed by ovation at each round and was watched on internet from all around the globe. He appeared to perform the 3rd movement of Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No.1 with Valery Gergiev at the final Gala in St. Petersburg where a special recognition was made by Maestro Gergiev that Mao was ”the surprising new discovery” of the pianists. He made a worthy London debut, performing Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto with Maestro Gergiev and Mariinsky Orchestra in October 2019. He also performed the same work at his debut in Seoul and fascinated many. This season he is invited to perform in Germany, Moscow, Latvia and Switzerland among many others.

His recent highlight performances include the Andre Jolivet Piano Concerto with Mo. Kazuyoshi Akiyama & Tokyo Symphony Orchestra in 2019, Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 3 with Mo.Kachun Wong & Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra in 2019, and Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No.1 with Mo. Oleg Caetani & Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra in 2018. He was invited to perform at festivals such as Klavier-Festival Ruhr and Verbier Festival as Academy Musician and to perform at the “New Generation Series” at Louis Vuitton Foundation in 2018.

Mao’s Concerto repertoire includes but not limited to works such as Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Schumann among many others. Recital. He also has a wide variety of recital repertoire; from Bach, Scarlatti to Stravinsky and Rigetti
Mao has also won other numerous awards inside and outside Japan such as 1st Prize in the Junior Section of “The World Classic” in Taiwan in 2010, 1st Prize in the Elementary School Division of the National Competition of the Student Music Concours of Japan, 1st Prize at the International Rosario Marciano Piano Competition in Austria in 2013, 1st Prize at the Zhuhai International Mozart Competition for Young Musicians in 2015, 1st Prize at the Hamamatsu International Piano Academy Competition, and 3rd Prize at the Gina Bachauer International Young Artists Piano Competition in the United States in 2016.

Recordings are released from Naxos.