Sayaka Shoji has become internationally recognised for her unique artistic versatility and detailed approach to her chosen 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 Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker, Los Angeles and New York philharmonics, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Wiener Symphoniker, The Mariinsky Orchestra and NHK Symphony Orchestra.
Recent highlights include five concerts for the opening of the 2022/23 season with Israel Philharmonic Orchestra/Shani, an Italian tour with Philharmonia Orchestra/Matias-Rouvali, and a collaboration with dancer/choreographer Saburo Teshigawara performing Bach and Bartok’s solo works at the Philharmonie de Paris. She also had a return to NHK Symphony Orchestra/Noseda, Brussells Philharmonic/Ono, and an extensive recital tour in Japan with Gianluca Cascioli.
“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 the upcoming season, Shoji will return to Israel for concerts with Israel Philharmonic Orchestra/Shani and they will collaborate again for the Japan tour. She will also make debut concerts with hr-Sinfonieorchester/Carydis, Hamburger Symphoniker/Sloane, BBC Symphony Orchestra/Wong and Orchestre de chambre de Genève/Waldman. In autumn, she will tour Japan with Modigliani Quartet and Benjamin Grosvenor for a unique chamber recital program which includes a play written and directed by Oriza Hiraza.
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 St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Yuri Temirkanov, and previous recordings include a recital album with Menahem Presseler. In autumn 2022, she released a new album with longtime collaborator, Gianluca Casiocli which includes Mozart’s violin sonatas, following her previous album of complete Beethoven Sonatas for Piano and Violin.
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 100 Most 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.