Educated in Sienna at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana and Cologne at the Hochschule für Musik Köln under Zakhar Bron, the Japanese violinist Sayaka Shoji has been described by Gramophone magazine as “a formidable musician, able to draw on huge reserves of stamina and the unflinching equal of anything thrown at her.”
Shoji was the youngest and first Japanese violinist to win the Paganini Competition in Genoa in 1999 and since then has established strong connections with world renowned conductors including; Zubin Mehta, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Mariss Jansons, Paavo Järvi, Osmo Vänska and Sir Antonio Pappano. Highlights last season included tours to Japan with The Mariinsky Orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev and concerts with Noseda and Accademia di Santa Cecilia. Other highlights include a tour with the NHK Symphony Orchestra for Mendelssohn’s Double concerto with Vikingur Olafsson conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy, the Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich with Yutaka Sado and the new Würth Philharmoniker with Leo Hussain.
A prolific recording artist, the violinist has recorded a number of albums for Deutsche Grammophon. Her most recent release includes violin concertos by Beethoven and Sibelius recorded with the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra and Yuri Temirkanov (September 2018), both with whom she has previously recorded Prokofiev’s Violin Concertos. Other notable recordings include Beethoven’s complete violin sonatas with Gianluca Cascioli and a live recording with Menahem Pressler with sonatas from Mozart, Schubert and Brahms recorded live in April 2014.
Sayaka performs regularly with her long-time mentor and supporter, Yuri Temirkanov and most recently appeared as the only non-Russian musician to perform at his 75th birthday gala concert in St Petersburg. The pair have toured extensively with the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra to much of Europe, Japan, Mexico, Russia and the USA.
The 18/19 season will again see Sayaka join the SPPO and Temirkanov for concerts in Rome, Udine, Bari and Milan playing Brahms’ Violin Concerto as well as a tour in Japan. She will make debuts with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and Klaus Makkela and the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn with Dirk Kaftan. Sayaka will work with Krzysztof Penderecki performing his concerto with Orchestra Metropolitana de Lisboa.
In a change to her usual performance practice, Sayaka has also created an experimental visual art project, ‘Synesthesia’ where she mixes music and colours with the aim to transform her musical perception into different forms.
In January 2016, Sayaka received the Mainichi Art Award, one of Japan’s most prestigious awards presented to those who have had a significant influence on the arts.
Sayaka plays a 1729 Recamier Stradivarius which is kindly loaned to her by Ueno Fine Chemicals Industry Ltd.click to download images