Sayaka Shoji has become internationally recognised for her unique artistic versatility and deep engagements with each repertoire. Her remarkable insight into musical languages comes from her mix of European and Japanese backgrounds.
Born in Tokyo, Shoji moved to Siena, Italy when she was three. She studied at Accademia Musicale Chigiana and Cologne’s Musikhochschule and made her European debut with Lucerne Festival Strings and Rudolf Baumgartner at the Lucerne Festival and then at the Musikverein, Vienna at the age of fourteen.
Since winning first prize at the Paganini Competition in 1999, Sayaka Shoji has been supported by leading conductors such as Zubin Mehta, Lorin Maazel, Semyon Bychkov, Mariss Jansons and Yuri Temirkanov to name a few. She has also worked with renowned orchestras including the Israel Philharmonic, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles and New York Philharmonics, the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Czech Philharmonic, Wiener Symphoniker, The Mariinsky Orchestra and NHK Symphony Orchestra
Recent highlights include successful debuts at the BBC Proms in 2021 with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Vasily Petrenko and the Blossom Festival with the Cleveland Orchestra, a recital tour with Víkingur Ólafsson, a UK tour with Philharmonia Orchestra/Ashkenazy, as well as Bernstein’s 100th gala at Vienna Musikverein with Tonkünstler-Orchester/Sado which was recorded and released by Tonkünstler label.
“Shoji isn’t merely a superb technician, she’s a deeply engaging performer who punches above her weight.” (Gramophone Magazine 2011)
“Shoji’s unembellished and direct, partly soft-grained, and partly determined bowing, was immaculately integrated with the Philharmonia.” (5* Bachtrack, November 2019)
In 2022/23 seasons, Sayaka will tour with the Philharmonia Orchestra (Santtu-Matias Rouvali), debut with Brussels Philharmonic (Kazushi Ono) and Atlanta Symphony (Han-Na Chang), and returns to NHK Symphony (Gianandrea Noseda). She will also be touring with Gianluca Cascioli and performing Bach&Bartok solo works in Philharmonie of Paris in collaboration with dancer/choreographer, Saburo Teshigawara. Further ahead, she will appear with the Israel Philharmonic (Lahav Shani), and joins a tour with Modigliani Quartet.
Alongside her usual concert activities, Shoji has created an experimental visual-music project, ‘Synesthesia’ in 2007, and exposed oil-paintings and video-art works. Her first video work (Shostakovich Prelude coll. with P.Frament) was chosen in a group exposition “Au-delà de mes rêves” in 2014 among the most renown artists such as Y.Kusama, S.Calle, R.Longo. Shoji has also collaborated with Tadao Ando, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and Saburo Teshigawara in numerous occasions.
A prolific recording artist, Shoji has released eleven albums on Deutsche Grammophon including Prokofiev, Sibelius and Beethoven Violin Concertos with the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Yuri Temirkanov. With Gianluca Cascioli she has recorded the complete Beethoven Sonatas for Piano and Violin and a recital album with Menahem Pressler.
Shoji won the Mainichi Art Award in 2016, one of Japan’s most prestigious awards, presented to those who have had a significant influence on the arts. In 2012, she was named one of “The 100Most Influential People for Japan in future” by Nikkei Business.
Sayaka Shoji plays a Stradivarius ‘Recamier’ c.1729 kindly loaned to her by Ueno Fine Chemicals Industry Ltd.