Known for her musicality and expressive virtuosity, Momo Kodama is one of the most engaging pianists of her generation. She can make a big sound with little apparent effort, summon up an attractive, lyrical tone and dazzle with technical brilliance.
Born in Japan, Momo Kodama has lived in Europe from an early age. At the age of 13 she entered the class of Germaine Mounier at the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique in Paris. She continued her studies with such eminent pianists as Murray Perahia, Andras Schiff and Tatiana Nikolaeva. Ms Kodama has been awarded numerous prizes in Japan and in Europe, notably the Munich ARD Competition in 1991, of which she was the youngest-ever winner (the first prize was not awarded), thus bringing her to the attention of the international music world.
She performs regularly together with leading orchestras including the NHK, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony, Boston Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Berlin Philharmonic, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Orchestre de l’Opéra de Lyon, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and Orchestra nationale della RAI. She has worked with conductors such as Charles Dutoit, Eliahu Inbal, Valery Gergiev, Seiji Ozawa, Gary Bertini, Gunther Herbig, Lawrence Forster, Kent Nagano, Zdenek Méčal, and Sir Roger Norrington.
Momo Kodama is equally in demand as a recitalist and chamber musician. She performs at the most prestigious halls and festivals: the Wigmore Hall, Chatelet, Suntory Hall, Marlboro, Verbier, Lucerne, Davos, Tivoli, Schleswig Holstein, La Roque d’Anthéron, Settembre Musica in Torino, and Enescu festivals. As well as regularly performing with violinist Yuzuko Horigome, she has formed memorable partnerships with Steven Isserlis, Nobuko Imai, Regis Pasquier, Dmitri Makhtin and her sister Mari. Since 2004, she has been invited to perform at the Folles Journée festivals in Nantes, Lisbon and Tokyo where the subtlety and insight of her playing in Clementi and Beethoven, Bach and Mozart as well as Janacek and Mussorgsky have won over every audience. In 2008, Momo took part along with five other pianists in a Chopin Cycle, which was performed in France and Japan.
A large part of her repertoire is consecrated to music of modern times including Arvö Pärt, Toru Takemitsu and Olivier Messiaen. Having studied the Turangalila Symphony with Yvonne Loriod, Momo Kodama was asked by the composer’s widow to premiere Messiaen’s Fantaisie pour violin et piano (written in 1933 but never performed in public), which she did at La Roque d’Anthéron with Isabelle Faust.
Ms Kodama is also the dedicatee of Lichtstudie 3 by Jorg Widmann, which she premiered at the Lucerne Festival, Echo by Ichiro Nodaira, dedicated to the Momo/Mari duo and performed in Berkeley and Berlin and Lotus under the moonlight, the Piano Concerto written for her by Toshio Hosokawa, premiered with the NDR Symphony Orchestra and Jun Maerkl, and performed and recorded with Seiji Ozawa and the Mito Chamber Orchestra, with whom she performed the work during their European Tour in Spring 2008. Hosokawa has composed a quartet for her, that she played at the 2008 Lucerne Festival and in Japan.
After two remarkable debut recordings – the first a recital of Debussy in 2002 and the second a recital of Chopin in 2005 – Momo Kodama recorded the Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant Jésus by Olivier Messiaen, which met with immediate critical acclaim both in Japan and in Europe.