Tomoko Mukaiyama is a Dutch-Japanese pianist, performer and visual artist based in Amsterdam. She studied piano in Tokyo, Indiana (US) and Amsterdam, after which she made her concert debut in 1990. A year later she won the prestigious Dutch Gaudeamus competition.
As a pianist, Tomoko is praised for her vivid interpretations of historical as well as modern compositions. Many prestigious orchestras and ensembles throughout the world have engaged her, including the Ensemble Modern in Frankfurt, the London Sinfonietta, the Ensemble Intercontemporain and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Tomoko’s unique approach to the piano has inspired many composers, such as Louis Andriessen, to write new work for her.
Yet Tomoko pushes on the boundaries of the classical music world. As a pianist and visual artist she has a fascination for unconventional contemporary art projects and plays with the conventions around her instrument, her profession and performance in a broader sense. She uses her experience as a concert pianist to give a new dimension to the concert space, as well as to performance and installation art.
As a multimodal artist Tomoko develops art installations and performing arts projects that combine music with contemporary dance, fashion and visual art. She has collaborated with film directors, designers, architects, dancers and photographers, such as Marina Abramovic, MERZBOW, Jiří Kylián and Michael Gordon.
Among Tomoko’s stages are the Royal Concertgebouw, Sydney Opera House and the Yokohama Triennale. The core of her work is communicating with the audience. She creates a wide variety of projects in different kinds of spaces, always striving to present her art projects in a specific and communicative form, moving between performing in more prestigious venues and creating musical experiences for the intimacy of one.
Tomoko’s work builds on the study of the absence and presence of the composer, the audience and the pianist. She gave new dimension to the concert space with her project for you (2002) which premiered at the Yokohama Triennial (2002). She performed on the piano in a concert hall for just one visitor, who won the unique ticket in an auction. The intimacy of this performance made for an intense experience for the listener, who was confronted with the music, the pianist, but most of all, himself.
In Show me your second face (2007) Tomoko transformed herself and the piano into a fashion sculpture. Her music installation Mo-Ichido (2008) included the experience of scent by integrating organic odours and video. Tomoko’s installation performance wasted (2009), made of some 12.000 silk dresses, challenged the transience of the feminine virtue of fertility. A piano concert with multi media reached out to audiences to participate or engage with this installation through a personal ritual. The work successfully toured five locations all over the world, and led to a documentary film called Water Children (2011) that was shown at International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam and movie theaters across the Netherlands.
One of Tomoko’s signature works is the Multus (2012–) concert series, an ever-extending performance of the minimalist piece Canto Ostinato that is coloured by the artist’s personal view through its visualization with other disciplines such as video and light art.
Always looking to extend her perspective on art in all possible forms, more recently Tomoko has been moving toward the performing arts. She created the dance work SHIROKURO, presented during the Holland Festival in 2013, with choreographer Nicole Beutler and light designer Jean Kalman.
Currently Tomoko is working on one of her most large-scale productions to date, La Mode to be premiered in 2016. This installation performance will investigate and deconstruct the identity of our present time, consumerism, materialism and fetishism in the fashion world. The piece will consist of various art forms including music, dance, video, lighting and theatrical images, performed in collaboration with the Spellbound Contemporary Ballet of Rome.
The Tomoko Mukaiyama Foundation operates as producer of the projects of Tomoko Mukaiyama. The foundation received a multiple year grant of governmental support by the Dutch Performing Arts Fund.
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