Yukio Yokoyama



Yukio Yokoyama was born in Tokyo in 1971. Already as a child he played pieces of his own composition and performed with orchestras both in Japan and abroad. At that time he received advice from such personalities as Karajan and Rostropovich.
At the age of 12 he started studying piano under Jun Date and composition under Masayuki Nagatomi. In 1984, he won the first prize in the piano division of the All Japan Student Music Concours sponsored by the newspaper Mainichi Shimbun.
He entered the high school associated to the Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music in 1986, and in the following year went to study at the Paris Music Conservatoire Collegium with a scholarship from the French Government. There, he studied under Jacques Rouvier, Vlado Perlmuter and others.
In 1989 he won prizes at the Busconi International Concours and the Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibeaud Concours.  
In 1990 he graduated from the Paris Conservatoire with grants of Premiere Prix in piano and chamber music and the same year won third prize(no first prize was allocated this year) from the Chopin International Piano Competition and also the Sonata prize. With this success, Yokoyama then officially began his concert activities, including recitals and performances with orchestras in cities all around the world, in addition to chamber music and radio broadcast performances.
In 1991, Yokoyama released his first two CDs, of Chopin piano concerto No. 1, and Piano Sonata Nos. 2 and 3, on Sony records. He was awarded the Cziffra Foundation Award in Paris in the same year.
In 1992 Yokoyama received the 18th Japan Chopin Association Award. The same year he began a 7 year project to perform the complete works of Chopin. In April 1994, Yokoyama's fourth CD, of works by Debussy and Ravel, was released, to high critical acclaim. In November 1995 his fifth CD, Beethoven's works, was released.
His activities in 1996 include an astonishingly successful Austrian debut with the Wiener Kammerorchester in the Wiener Konzerthausgesellschaft and the Brucknerhaus in Linz, performing Mozart's K. 271. His debut in Germany followed, with subscription concerts with the Berliner Sinfonie Orchester under Michael Schoenwandt in the Berliner Konzerthaus, performing Beethoven's piano concerto No. 5. Then he released his sixth album, Chopin: Fantaise - Impromptu. He also published the score of Chopin’s Fantaise - Impromptu, especially edited by himself. This year he toured Japan with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra under Temirkanov and Budapest Festival Orchestra under Ivan Fischer later this year, both highly acclaimed by the audience and critiques.
In 1997 Maestro Neeme Jarvi reinvited Yokoyama this time to perform with his Orchestra, the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and they toured in Japan with great success. The live recording of their concert is now released by Sony. He also toured with concertmaster of Vienna Philharmonic, Daniel Gaede this year, with much success. Mr. Gaede continues now to perform with him worldwide.
His CD release of more Chopin works, the Nocturnes, also followed this year.
Following in 1998, he performed all complete solo works of Beethoven including the 32 Sonatas, Variations and Bagatelles in a mere 10 months period in a series from the invitation of Saitama Prefectural Arts Center. He also participated in several International Music Festivals this year including the Prague Spring Festival, the Janacek May Festival, both in Czech Republic, Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival in Finland, and the Festival Semaines Musicales en Touraine in France. He also made a debut recital at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie this fall which was praised well for a newcomer.
His new CD, Liszt’s Etudes of Transcendental Techniques was also released by Sony in fall in Japan, which was produced by Grammy nominated producer, Wolf Erichson.
In 1999, this Liszt CD won the twenty-fifth International Liszt Grand Prix for a new recording. This award is unique in that the 10 judges listen to the CDs with the names of all performers covered up, insuring that judgement is based only on the recordings themselves. Some past winners of the award include such renowned pianists as Horowitz, Richter, Pollini among others.
He also won the Shinnitetsu Music Award this year granted to promising young musicians. He then released more Chopin works in the memory of the Chopin's 150th year after his death. Later this year, he overwhelmed a full house by performing three Rakhmaninov Piano Concerts in one night in Tokyo.
In 2000, the live recordings of his Beethoven concerts of 1998 were released by Sony. This highly praised Beethoven set includes not only the 32 Sonatas, but all the major piano works such as the Bagatels and all the Variations within 12 CDs, each disk containing performances of each concert. This brilliant CD set of Beethoven was acknowledged as dramatically outstanding and was awarded by the Agency of Cultural Affairs. He has also won the Mobil Music Prize this year granted to promising young artists of Japan.
In 2001, he made his successful recital debut as well as concerto debut in St. Petersburg with the St. Petersburg Philharmony under Nikolai Alexeev.
He composes his own music for piano and other instruments. A CD with all of his recent piano works was released by Sony in the fall of 2002 accompanied by a publication of the music by Yamaha Music Media.
Throughout the years 2002 - 2004, he has recorded all the Beethoven Piano Concertos with the Japan Chamber Orchestra. This chamber orchestra is very special as it is composed by the top members of the Japanese Orchestras and they engage no conductors. The CD packet released in Spring 2005, attracted much attention of the mass media.
During the years of 2005 - 2006, Yokoyama performed together with Berlin Symphony Orchestra ‘Emperor Concerto’ under the baton of Eriaf Inbal. He also performed Liszt 1st piano concerto with the NHK symphony Orchestra under the baton of Jun Merkl. He has accomplished the marathon concert of all 5 Beethoven piano concertos with the Japan Chamber Orchestra performed in one night. With much success, he performed together with the London Symphony under the baton of Myung-Whon Chung. He regularly appears as chamber musician at the Miyazaki International Music Festival.(April 2016)

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