Mari Kodama has established an international reputation for her profound musicality and articulate virtuosity at the keyboard.
She has performed throughout Europe, the United States and Japan, and her unique and personal style is evident in whatever repertoire she plays.
Highlights of the 2003-04 season include a performance of the Prokofiev Third Piano Concerto at the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival, which the Los Angeles Times called “commanding and electrifying.” Mari continues her ongoing Beethoven sonata cycles in the United States and Japan, and celebrated her fourth season of recitals in Los Angeles and Pasadena.
She presented an all-Beethoven recital at the Athanaeum in La Jolla, and appears with Bernhard Klee and the Volkstheater Orchester Rostock in Germany. She visited Madrid and Seville for orchestra and recital engagements and, with her sister Momo Kodama, performed Mozart's Double Piano Concerto in Portugal and Messiaen's epic “Visions de l'Amen” in Japan. Joined by members of the Vienna Philharmonic, she is a founding member of chamber music festivals in San Francisco, Sapporo (Japan) and Gmunden (Austria).
Mari made her New York recital debut at Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall in 1995. She has appeared at Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival, Bard Music Festival, the Hollywood Bowl, California's Midsummer Mozart Festival, and the Ravinia and Aspen music festivals. With a repertoire as large as it is varied, she has performed Mozart with the Lockenhaus Festival Orchestra; Schönberg with the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra; and Stenhammer with the American Symphony Orchestra at Avery Fisher Hall in New York.
Appearances abroad include her Japanese orchestral debut in Tokyo, playing the Ravel G-Major Concerto conducted by Raymond Leppard; recitals in London's Wigmore Hall and Purcell Room; and festivals in Lyon, Montpelier, Salzburg, Aix-en-Provence, Aldeburgh, Verbier and Évian.
Mari has performed with major orchestras throughout the world, including the Berlin Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Philharmonia Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra, North German Radio, Vienna Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the NHK Orchestra in Japan.
Conductors she has appeared with include Charles Dutoit, Frans Brüggen, Raymond Leppard, Kent Nagano, and Bernhard Klee. She joined famed cellist Mstislav Rostropovich in concerts of chamber music, and has appeared with Vienna's Trio Plus.
Mari received rave reviews for her ASV recording of Prokofiev's First and Third Piano Concertos with Kent Nagano and the Philharmonia Orchestra. For the PentaTone label, she is continuing with recordings of the complete 32 sonatas of Beethoven, the first of which was released in the summer of 2003 to great critical acclaim and response. A recording of concertos by Chopin and Carl Loewe, with the Russian National Orchestra under the direction of Kent Nagano, was also released last year with high praise from Gramophone magazine.
Born in Osaka, Mari moved to Europe with her family at the age of six. In 1981, she was accepted at the Conservatoire National in Paris where she studied the piano with Germaine Mounier and chamber music with Genevičve Joy-Dutilleux. She has also worked with Tatiana Nikolaeva and Alfred Brendel.
Following her highly acclaimed orchestral debut in Japan, she made an equally successful London debut playing Prokofiev's Third Concerto with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. She has been a laureate at several international competitions, notably Jeunesses Musicales de Suisse, Viotti-Valsesia, Cittŕ di Senigallia, and the prestigious Busoni Competition in Bolzano, Italy.
She currently makes her home in San Francisco with her husband, conductor Kent Nagano, and their young daughter.