Kotaro Fukuma Biography


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Born in Tokyo, Kotaro Fukuma began learning piano at the age of five and has received many high awards in international competitions, including the Arthur Rubinstein, Tel Aviv; Paloma O’Shea, Santander; Maj Lind, Helsinki; BNDES, Rio De Janeiro; and Gina Bachauer, Salt Lake City. In 2003, at the age of 20, Kotaro won both First Prize and the Chopin Prize at the 15th Cleveland International Piano Competition. Since then his concert career has developed in over 35 countries on five continents (North and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia).

Mr.Fukuma has performed in major concert venues, including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, New York City; Wigmore Hall, London; Philharmonie and Konzerthaus, Berlin; Gewandhaus, Leipzig; Salle Gaveau, Paris; Victoria Hall, Geneva; Auditorio Nacional, Madrid; Forbidden City Concert Hall, Beijing; and Suntory Hall and Opera City, Tokyo.

His performances with orchestras include the Cleveland Orchestra, Moscow Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, Finnish Radio Symphony, Dresden Philharmonic, Lille National Orchestra, Galicia Royal Philharmonic and NHK Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of such conductors as Yuri Simonov, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, François-Xavier Roth, Asher Fisch, Hannu Lintu, Juanjo Mena, Jahja Ling, Mihhail Gerts and Kazuki Yamada. Beginning of July 2016, with 24h-notice he stepped in for Nelson Freire to perform Brahms’ Piano Concerto No.2 with the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, conducted by Tugan Sokhiev.

Passionate about contemporary music, Kotaro has performed world and national premieres of works by Toru Takemitsu, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Renaud Gagneux, Thierry Escaich, Thierry Huillet, Peter Klatzow, Mutsuo Shishido, Minako Tokuyama and Yuka Takechi,

Kotaro Fukuma has released nineteen commercial CDs by the following labels; Naxos, DENON, ARS produktion, Editions Hortus, Orpheus Classical, Accustika, Esprit du Piano, and has received critical acclaim in such music magazines as Gramophone, Diapason, American Music Records, Monde de la Musique, Classica, BR Klassik and Classic Today. His album “Fantasy – Scriabin & Rachmaninoff” (Naxos) was nominated for the International Classical Music Award 2023.

Kotaro studied music at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris with Bruno Rigutto and Marie-Françoise Bucquet, then at the Universität der Künste Berlin with Klaus Hellwig and at the International Piano Academy Lake Como in Italy. He also has studied with several great masters of the piano, including Leon Fleisher, Mitsuko Uchida, Richard Goode, Alicia de Larrocha, Maria Joao Pires, Leslie Howard and Aldo Ciccolini.

Since July 2020 he has also been producing a concert series “Rare Piano Music”, in which he presents colleague pianists and rare piano repertoire.

Kotaro Fukuma currently lives between Berlin, Leiden and Tokyo.

(update: January 2024)

Kotaro Fukuma - Pianist