Sunday, January 1, 2023

Kei Saotomé

Teaching Session : Jul. 8 - 14 (2024)

Invited by the international stages, the pianist Kei Saotome seduces the public all over the world with her playing mixed with contrasting elements, between dynamism and sensitive sensitivity, between joy of life and infinite melancholy, or between virtuosity and depth. almost religious. 

Through her wide repertoire covering all eras, ranging from baroque writing to 21st century music, in recital, in chamber music or as a soloist with orchestra, she takes the audience on a journey out of time, through her interpretations tinged with sincerity and simplicity, faithful to the message of each work that she carefully chooses for each of her concerts. 


Winner in 1994 of the 1st Clara Schumann International Piano Competition in Düsseldorf and of the Robert Schumann International Competition in Zwickau in 1996, she received the same year the Prize for the best interpretation at the "Virtuosos of Year  2000" International Music Festival for its concert at the Saint-Petersburg Philharmonic.

In 2001, she was a soloist in Milan in the complete Bach Concertos at the two opening nights of the prestigious Sala Verdi after the renovations.


She has performed in the most prestigious halls (Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, Sala Verdi in Milan, Teatro del Maggio Fiorentino in Florence, Saint-Petersburg Philharmonic, Warsaw Philharmonic, Kennedy Center of Performing Arts in Washington, Aram Khachatryan Philharmonic Hall in Yerevan, Tokyo Bunka Kaikan…) as a soloist, in chamber music (notably in duet with the violinist Alexandre Brussilovsky) and with orchestra (Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchester Symphonique Français, National Chamber Orchestra of Armenia…).


In 2017, she performed for the first time in Yerevan, with the National Chamber Orchestra of Armenia under the direction of Vahan Mardirossian for a charity concert for the benefit of cancer research in Armenia. 


Born in Tokyo and raised in Abu Dhabi, she was 8 years old when she first met Olivier Messiaen and his wife Yvonne Loriod, a world-renowned pianist. The composer, amazed by her talent, insisted that she come to France, in order to seriously undertake her piano studies, with the great lady of the piano.

This encounter with the legendary couple changed the course of his life, and he remained close to them, receiving precious advice until the composer's death in 1991. His education was supported at the same time by the pedagogy of Patricia Thomas, heiress of the school of Yvonne Lefébure, another important figure of the French piano of the 20th century. 

At the Paris Conservatory (CNSMP), it was with Michel Béroff that she perfected her skills and obtained her First Prize in Piano at the age of 18, as well as a First Prize in chamber music. She was also influenced by her sight-reading teacher and immense pianist, Georges Pludermacher, who transmitted her passion for the symphonic repertoire. 

Fascinated by the orchestral resonance that the piano can offer, she became interested at a very young age in the sound research of the timbres of different orchestral instruments and included numerous transcriptions for solo piano in her repertoire.

Also passionate from an early age by the different schools of the piano in the world, she stayed in several countries before settling in Italy following the meeting in Florence with Pier Narciso Masi, disciple of Edwin Fischer. She will remain perfected for many years with the Italian master, who will teach her about life, through music lessons, ranging from literature to painting, of all times. It also owes two other pianists, the Englishman Clive Britton, the last disciple of Claudio Arrau, and Vincenzo Balzani from the Alberto Mozzati piano school.

These “Italy” years mark deeply in his life as an artist. 

In the 90s, she benefited from the teaching of Russian masters such as Lev Naumov, Vitaly Margulis and Igor Lazko as well as the Hungarian master György Sebök. The teaching of the American pianist, Christine Parschos, 

heiress of the Swiss master Louis Hiltbrand, was at the origin of the creation of her own piano pedagogy, which respects and reinforces the nature and personality of each musician.

And Kei Saotome happily transmits his Art of the piano to the younger generations at the Conservatoire of Versailles as well as at the Serge Rachmaninoff Conservatory in Paris, and deepens his research on the magic of teaching. She is a guest professor in masterclasses at festivals and universities and as a member of the jury in national and international competitions, across Europe, the United States, South America, Canada, Russia, China and Japan. . 


She has recorded the Piano Sonatas of Chopin and Brahms for the Phœnix Classic label and the music of Turina for the Suoni e Colori label. The DVD “A private lesson with Yvonne Loriod” has been released by Harmonia Mundi. 


In June 2022, she performed at the Grand Gala for Peace in Ukraine, at the Madeleine Church in Paris alongside illustrious artists such as Alexandre Brussilovsky, Alexeï Lubimov or Elizabeth Vidal.