Nanae Yoshimura was born in Tokyo. From the age of three her mother began to teach her the Koto and at the age of 16 she took the teacher’s license herself. In 1972 she made her debut and won the incentive prize of the “Competition for Newcomers in Japanese Instruments”. In 1979 she won the 1st prize of the Contemporary Japanese Music Competition organized by Panmusik-Festival, and in the same year she gave the first recital with a 20-string Koto in Tokyo, which became the beginning of her recital series, Yoshimura has been continuing once in every one and a half year so far. Nanae Yoshimura’s activities are spanning the traditional 13-string Koto as well as the 20-string Koto, which she substantially established as an instrument for Japanese contemporary music. She is representing Japan as a unique player of the 20-string Koto and is going on an overseas tour almost every year, introducing the instrument to foreign countries. From 1988, she started to collaborate with Japanese composers of her time, such as Akira Nishimura, Takashi Yoshimatsu, Tokuhide Niimi, Somei Sato, Shin’ichiro Ikebe, Joji Yuasa, Minao Shibata, Maki Ishii, Satoshi Minami, Toshiro Saruya and Kiyoshi Furukawa. By establishing joint production recitals with some of today’s most important Japanese artists, she opened up a new path for the 20-string Koto in Japanese contemporary music. Due to her merits on this field she was awarded the National Arts Festival Award (1993), Japan Arts Foundation Encouragement Award(1994)and the Nakajima Kenzo Award (1999). Starting from an invitation to the Asia Pacific Festival in Wellington, New Zealand, Nanae Yoshimura has performed at numerous major festivals and concert halls all over the world, where she appeared in solo recitals as well as joint recitals with Kifu Mitsuhashi, shakuhachi player. Her trips led her to Asia, the U.S, Central Asia, and all European countries.
In 1989 she went to Pakistan; in 1994 toured the Scandinavian countries, Estonia and Germany, organized by Japan Foundation.
In 1986 she took part in the St. Louis Opera’s world premiere of ”JORURII” (composed by Minoru Miki) as 20-string Koto soloist , moreover in 1991 she performed as a soloist with Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra on the occasion of Carnegie Hall’s 100th anniversary, and at the JAPAN FESTIVAL in London. In 1994 she participated in an Avignon Festival production of the Noh Opera ”SUSANOU” (director: Hiroshi Teshigahara, composer: Maki Ishii). In 1995 she was invited by Rome Contemporary Music Association as a part of “Japan in Italy”, and gave recitals in several cities of Italy. In 1997 she participated in a China-Japan Friendship Contemporary Music Festival, which was held in Beijing on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the recovery of Sino-Japanese diplomatic relations. In 2000 she went on a recital tour to Northern Europe. In March of 2003 she was sent to Croatia, Slowenia and Serbia by the Foreign Ministry of Japan. In November of the same year she performed the German premiere as well as a CD recording of ”A Sea of Trees” by Akira Nishimura and “Within Dreams Without Dreams” by Takashi Yoshimatsu, both concerti for 20-string Koto and Orchestra and in the same year appeared in a solo recital at Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna.
In addition, from 1972 she kept organizing numerous concerts in collaboration with Promusica Nipponia and from 1997 began the series “Japanese Music ~Koto Collection Today~”, which is focusing on the younger generations of Japanese musicians and composers. She has received the 19th Asahi comtemporary music award and Arts Encouragement Prize of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs in 2010.

Nanae Yoshimura’s repertoire for 20-string Koto

Akira Nishimura

“Voices Phantasma - Flame”, for 20-string Koto and strings (1988), performance of Japanese premiere
“A Sea of Trees”, Concerto for 20-string Koto and Orchestra (2002), performance of Japanese premiere

Takashi Yoshimatsu

“Within Dreams Without Dreams” (Strings Version) (1988), performance of Japanese premiere
“Fugaku…7 scenes of the sacred Mt. Fuji” for Shakuhachi, 20-string Koto and Orchestra, performance of Japanese premiere

Minoru Miki

“Ha no Kyoku” Concerto for 20-string Koto No. 2

Tokuhide Niimi

“Cosmic Tree”

CD Release

    5 CDs released by Camerata Tokyo (Japan)
  • “Nanae” (32 CM-189) 1991

  • “TAQSIM” (32 CM-208) 1992

  • “Voices Phantasma - Flame” (32 CM-311) 1993

  • “Kozue ni te” (30CM-426) 1996

  • “Subaru - Nanae Yoshimura plays Takashi Yoshimatsu” (28 CM 578) 1999

  • “Japanese Musicians Best Take / Nanae Yoshimura” (Victor) 1997

  • “Nanae Yoshimura - The Art of Koto” CD edition in 4 parts; release by Celestial Harmonies (USA) started from 2000:
    ・ September 2000 Vol.1 (Classical)
    ・ August 2001 Vol.2 Yatsuhashi to Miyagi
    ・ January 2003 Vol.3 20-string Koto - Contemporary Music

■“KOKYO ~ Yayoi Hirabe’s works” ( Yamaha Music Media )
■”Yume Yomi” Nanae Yoshimura ( Camerata Tokyo CMCD-28246 )



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