5 reasons to love pianist Noriko Ogawa

27 September 2018
By Ellie Palmer
Pianist will be releasing six unique piano lessons taught by Noriko over the next twelve months.

Japanese pianist Noriko Ogawa has been a mainstay in the classical music industry for the last 30+ years. Incidentally, it was her third prize attainment at the 1987 Leeds International Piano Competition that propelled her into the spotlight. As well as her fantastic achievements in music, Noriko has notably been involved in a number of other inspirational projects.

How much do you know about her? Test yourself below...


Pianist will be releasing six unique piano lessons taught by Noriko over the next twelve months. All six lessons are filmed on Yamaha’s revolutionary AvantGrand hybrid pianos.


1. 4 years at Juilliard

As well as studying at the Tokyo College of Music from 1977-80, Noriko completed 4 years at the Juilliard School of Music in New York, USA, from 1981-1985. The infamous school has been a home to the likes of legendary trumpeter Miles Davis, minimalist composer Philip Glass, 18x Grammy Award winning cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and Jazz piano great Chick Correa.


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2. Leeds, 1987

Shortly after the completion of her studies, Noriko attained third prize at the 1987 Leeds International Piano Competition, which subsequently launched her international performing career.


3. Adjudicator work

Noriko also works as an adjudicator. She regularly judges at world renowned competitions such as the BBC Young Musician of the Year Competition, the Munich International Piano Competition, the Honens International Piano Competition and the Scottish International Piano Competition. She was recently the first round Juror at the 2018 Leeds International Piano Competition, won by American Eric Lu. This November, she will be the Chairperson of the Jury at the 2018 Hamamatsu International Piano competition in Japan.


4. Working with the British Red Cross

Humanitarian work is of huge importance to the Japanese pianist. She has been involved in a number of charity projects, particularly after the earthquake and tsunami which devastated Japan in early 2011. Since the earthquake, she has raised over £40,000 for the British Red Cross Japan Tsunami Fund and is keen to keep fundraising.


5. Founding Jamie's Concerts

Noriko founded a project called Jamie’s Concerts. These concerts were devised for the parents and carers of autistic people. The project came to fruition when she first moved to London. At the time, she was living with two musician friends and their severely autistic son, whom she supported as they learned to diagnose and then cope with the disorder. Of her work, Noriko said, ‘I am not a doctor, I’m not a nurse, I’m not a teacher for someone with special needs, but I am a musician. What I realised is that I can do something – I can play concerts that give parents a break and an opportunity to meet other people who care for autistic children.’ She is also the Cultural Ambassador for the National Autistic Society.


A highly successful yet mightily inspirational pianist. Look out for the first of SIX piano lessons, taught by Noriko, on Pianist TV.