Jury Member, Violin Section
Tomoko Kato started violin lessons since the age of four. In 1978, she received both first prize and the Leucadia Award in the violin division of the 47th All-Japan Music Competition. The following year, she was presented with a special award to pursue overseas study. By the time she graduated in 1980,
Ms. Kato had already made her professional debut in Japan with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra.
Other awards and scholarships she had won include the Mayor Award at the Tanglewood Festival in 1980; a fellowship to the 1981 Aspen Music Festival; and a scholarship from the Japan Agency of Cultural Affairs to study at the Juilliard School for two years. In 1982 Miss Kato won second prize at the 7th Tchaikovsky International Competition.
Since returning to Japan in 1983 to make her recital debut, she has appeared regularly with Japan’s most prominent orchestras and under the baton of leading conductors. Ms. Kato is also an active chamber musician, performing regularly in various chamber groups including the Lilia Ensemble, which she founded in 1991. Through the ensemble’s performances, Miss Kato works to introduce new artists to the public eye, and the group is frequently featured in television and radio programs on NHK, Japan’s national public broadcasting network.
International invitations have taken her throughout the world: a recital tours of Morocco, Greece, Turkey and Algeria, including performances at the Algerian Music Festival, and tours throughout Europe, China and Korea.
Tomoko Kato’s many recordings include the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, two discs of music by Fritz Kreisler, The Joy of Love, chamber music by Mendelssohn, the Fauré and Franck Violin Sonatas, the Six Sonatas for Solo Violin by Ysaÿe, Estrellita, A Night at the Opera, and Tomoko Kato Plays Elgar. Her two most recent recordings are Bach Violin Sonatas and Partitas and Grand Tango (Denon, 1999); Bach: Sonatas and Partitas (Denon, 2000).
Kato teaches a violin at Toho Gakuen School of Music, as a professor.