The Japanese violinist, Sayaka Shoji, was born into an artistic family (her mother is a painter, grandmother is a poet) and spent her childhood in Siena, Italy. She studied at Hochschule für Musik Köln under Zakhar Bron and graduated in 2004 and has since made Europe her permanent base. Her other teachers have included Sashko Gawrillow, Uto Ughi, Shlomo Mintz and Riccardo Brengola (for chamber music).. She is the first Japanese and youngest winner at the Paganini Competition in Genoa in 1999.
Zubin Mehta has been her strong supporter. When Sayaka Shoji auditioned for him in 2000, he immediately changed his schedule in order to make her first recording with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra possible in the following month, then invited her to perform with Bavarian State Opera and Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.Since then she has performed with many prominent orchestras, including the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker, London Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, the world's leading conductors including Vladimir Ashkenazy, Semyon Bychkov, Sir Colin Davis, Charles Dutoit, Mariss Jansons, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Sir Roger Norrington and Antonio Pappano, Yuri Temirkanov. Recent highlights included concerts with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France.
In addition to a busy schedule of concerto performances, Sayaka Shoji appears regularly as a recitalist and chamber musician alongside colleagues such as Vadim Repin, Lang Lang, Itamar Golan, Yefim Bronfman and Steven Isserlis. Festival appearances have included Verbier, Schleswig-Holstein, Evian, Annecy, the Estate Musicale del Garda, Fêtes Musicales en Touraine, and Folles Journées in Nantes and Tokyo.
Sayaka Shoji looks forward to substantial Beethoven-focused recital tours in Europe and Japan with Gianluca Cascioli in the 2010-2011 season. Upcoming orchestral appearances include concerts with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Vladimir Ashkenazy, a return visit to the Philharmonia Orchestra with Susanna Mälkki, a tour of Japan with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra with Myung-Whun Chung, as well as a return visit to the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra with Eliahu Inbal.
Sayaka Shoji records for Deutsche Grammophon. Her debut CD with Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra featuring works by Paganini, Chausson and Waxman, was quickly followed by a live recording of her debut recital at the Auditorium de Louvre and a further album dedicated to works by Prokofiev and Dmitri Shostakovich (accompanied on both occasions by Itamar Golan). Sayaka’s most recent release featured the Felix Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky Violin Concertos with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and Myung-Whun Chung. Her next release will include a selection of Beethoven’s Sonatas for Violin and Piano with Gianluca Cascioli.
Sayaka Shoji performs on the 1729 Recamier Stradivarius – kindly loaned by Dr. Ryuzo Ueno, Honorary Chairman, Ueno Fine Chemicals Industry, Ltd.