NAOKO KIKUCHI

(KOTO PLAYER)

Born in Sendai, Japan. As a child, Naoko studied koto with her grandmother and mother. Starting in 1989 she took lessons from Tadao Sawai and Kazue Sawai, and for traditional Shamisen and singing from Nobuko Yokota.

At Sophia University, Tokyo, she joined the Sawai Kazue koto Ensemble world tour (Austria, Ukraine, Russia, Switzerland, Germany, France and middle and South America) and participated in recordings by d’c records.

Naoko graduated from the NHK (Japanese National Broadcasting Company) School for Performance of Traditional Japanese Instruments and passed certifying examination for master license with highest score, also she received honor prizes from several contests.  Subsequently, she was selected as a cultural internship student by the Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan.

In 2007, Naoko received a year-long fellowship from the Japanese Government’s “Overseas Study Programme for Artists” to work in in Frankfurt, Germany, where she currently is a member of IEMA (International Esemble Modern Academie). From this experience she has been expanding her skills in contemporary and ensemble music.

Her primary projects are:

  • 2009, she played at Agiago festival (Italy), “Refugium” Cross Sound festival (Alaska, U.S.A), Japanese week in Yemen (Sanaa, Yemen).
  • 2012 she played at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (Madrid, Spain), a project by Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra “Move in international Berlin”, International Fredener Music Festival, and participated in the recording for Freddie Mercury & Montserrat Caballé/ Barcelona Special Edition (Island Records) .
  • 2014 she played at Printemps des Arts de Monte-Carlo.  She joined at the dance project composed by Adriana Hoelszky in Ballet am Rhein, Dusseldorf.
  • 2016 she played at Mozart Sommer festival at National Theater Mannheim (Jul.) played for official opening HomePlace for Seamus Heaney who He received the 1995 Nobel prize in Literature at Bellaghy, Irland (Sep.). 
  • Dec. 2017 – Jan.2018, she played at Ballet am Rhein for A. Hoelszky composition, Martin Schlaepfer choreograph “Roses of Shadow”. 

Naoko has been active for new works and collaborating widely with artists in other fields (dance, drama and art). And she plays classic koto music, classic chamber music, modern and contemporary, improvisation etc. She has a large repertoire.

Now she performs and teaches regularly in a foothold in Frankfurt (Germany) and Tokyo (Japan). She is a member of AsianArt Ensemble (Belin), Eric Schaefer Jazz quartet “Kyoto mon Amor”.

website: www.naokokikuchi.com