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”Shoji emerges as a formidable musician, able to draw on huge reserves of stamina and the unflinching equal of anything thrown at her. The world is her oyster” — Gramophone
Since taking First Prize at the 1999 Paganini Competition – the first Japanese and youngest artist ever to do so – Sayaka Shoji has performed with the world’s leading conductors including Vladimir Ashkenazy, Sir Colin Davis, Charles Dutoit, Mariss Jansons, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Semyon Bychkov, Paavo Järvi and Antonio Pappano.
In the 2012/13 season, Sayaka returned to the Philharmonia Orchestra as well as the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra (both with Yuri Temirkanov), the Danish National Symphony Orchestra under Michael Schønwandt and the State Symphony Orchestra of Russia (Mikhail Jurowski). She made her debut with the Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla under Pedro Halffter, as well as the BBC National Orchestra of Wales (Tadaaki Otaka). She also returned to the Wiener Symphoniker (Kazushi Ono) for a concert at Vienna’s Konzerthaus followed by a tour to Japan. Other Japanese tours included a major recital tour with Gianluca Cascioli, as well as with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra under Yannick Nézet-Séguin. She regularly works with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra and toured Eastern Europe with them in spring 2013, including a concert at the Prague Spring Festival.
Highlights of the 2013/14 season include debut concerts with the BBC Philharmonic, the Orquesta Classica Santa Cecilia in the Teatro Real in Madrid, Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, Taipei Symphony Orchestra, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra and Philharmonisches Orchester Augsburg and a collaboration with Menahem Pressler for a tour to Japan. She has been invited to take part in her long time mentor and supporter, Yuri Temirkanov’s, 75th birthday gala concert in St Petersburg with the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, followed by a tour to Japan.
In addition to a busy schedule of concerto performances, Shoji appears regularly as a recitalist and chamber musician alongside artists such as Joshua Bell, Vadim Repin, Julian Quentin, Itamar Golan, Yefim Bronfman and Steven Isserlis. Recent festival appearances have included Verbier, Ravenna, Evian, Schleswig Holstein and Annecy festivals, Fêtes Musicales en Touraine, Accademia Musicale Chigiana and Folles Journées in Nantes, Warsaw and Tokyo. She returned to the Stavanger Chamber Music Festival in summer 2013 to work with Martin Fröst.
Sayaka Shoji has recorded multiple discs for Deutsche Grammophon. Her debut CD with Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra was released to critical acclaim. This was soon followed by a live recording of her debut recital at the Auditorium de Louvre and a further album dedicated to works by Prokofiev and Shostakovich (with Itamar Golan). Three volumes of Beethoven's Violin Sonatas with Gianluca Cascioli were released in 2010 and 2012, with a further volume due for release in 2015. The next CD release in winter 2014 will include Prokofiev’s Concertos with the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra (Yuri Temirkanov). She also recorded solo works by Bach and Reger in 2011 and Shostakovich’s Violin Concertos with the Ural Philharmonic Orchestra (Dmitri Liss) in 2012 for Mirare.
Shoji’s teachers have included Zakhar Bron, Sashko Gawriloff, Shlomo Mintz, Uto Ughi and Riccardo Brengola. She graduated from the Hochschule fur Musik Köln in 2004 and now resides in Europe. Shoji plays a 1729 Recamier Stradivarius – kindly loaned to her by Ueno Fine Chemicals Industry Ltd.