Being one of the most outstanding harpists in the international platform today, Naoko Yoshino’s solo engagements with the world’s top orchestras have included the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Zurich's Tonhalle Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Concentus Musicus Wien, and the NHK Symphony Orchestra, among others. Renowned conductors with whom she has shared the stage include Yehudi Menuhin, Seiji Ozawa, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Zubin Mehta, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Herbert Blomstedt, Charles Dutoit, and Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos.
A frequent guest at the Lucerne, Salzburg, Lockenhaus, Schleswig-Holstein, Saito Kinen, Marlboro, and Mostly Mozart Festivals, Naoko Yoshino is also known as a recitalist and chamber musician. In 1994, she earned the honor of performing at The Vatican to commemorate the restoration of the Sistine Chapel. Through chamber music, Ms. Yoshino has come to work with such renowned musicians as violinist Gidon Kremer, violists Veronika Hagen and Nobuko Imai, cellist Clemens Hagen, horn player Radek Baborák, flutists Aurèle Nicolet, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Wolfgang Schulz, and Emmanuel Pahud.
In Japan, Naoko Yoshino is in great demand as a recitalist and chamber musician. At the JT Art Hall in Tokyo, she has been acting as one of the “planners” of their chamber music concert series, ever since the hall’s opening in 1995. Every December sees Ms. Yoshino appearing at the Philia Hall in Yokohama, in solo and various chamber combinations, also since their opening in 1993.
As an advocate of new repertoire for harp, Naoko Yoshino has premiered many works, including Toru Takemitsu’s “And then I knew 'twas Wind” for flute, viola, and harp (with Aurèle Nicolet and Nobuko Imai), Toshio Hosokawa’s Harp Concerto “Re-turning” (with Kazuyoshi Akiyama and the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra), Yuji Takahashi’s “Insomnia” for violin and ancient harp (with Gidon Kremer), and Sebastian Currier’s “Crossfade” for two harps (with Marie-Pierre Langlamet).
Recordings to date include five releases on Sony Classical, a recording with Yehudi Menuhin on Virgin Classics, four releases on Philips Classics, and one release on Teldec with Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the Concentus Musicus Wien.
Prizes achieved include: second place - First International Harp Contest (Santa Cecilia Academy, Rome), at the age of 13; first place - Ninth International Harp Contest 1985 (Israel), where she was the youngest participant; 1988, Arts Festival Prize (Japan Agency for Cultural Affairs); 1989 Mobil Music Award for Brilliant Young Musicians.
Born in London, Naoko Yoshino began to study harp at the age of six in Los Angeles, California, with the eminent Susann McDonald, current Distinguished Professor of Music at Indiana University. She started her worldwide career in 1985, after winning first prize at the Ninth International Harp Contest in Israel. A graduate of the International Christian University in Tokyo, Naoko Yoshino holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Humanities, where her major was in Western Art History. Ms. Yoshino makes her base in Tokyo, Japan, but her engagements regularly take her to various parts of the world.
Updated: February 2011