More about Tomoko Mukaiyama

Tomoko studied piano in Tokyo, Indiana (US) and Amsterdam, after which she made her debut in 1990. A short year later Mukaiyama won the prestigious Dutch Gaudeamus competition. As a pianist, Tomoko is praised for her vivid interpretations of classical as well as modern compositions.  Mukaiyama’s art installations and performing arts projects aim to combine music with contemporary dance, fashion, and visual art.

In the past, Tomoko has collaborated with an array of international orchestras and ensembles, 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 composers, such as Louis Andriessen, to write new work for her.

Tomoko’s work builds on the study of the absence and presence of the composer, the audience, and the pianist. She gave a new dimension to the concert space with her project For you (2002) which premiered at the Yokohama Triennial (2002). In this piece, Mukaiyama performed on the piano, in a concert hall for just one visitor, who had won a 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 odors 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 colored 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.
In her latest work, Tomoko created one her biggest productions to date: La Mode (2016). This installation performance investigates and deconstructs the identity of our present time, consumerism, materialism, and fetishism in the fashion world. The piece consists of various art forms including music, dance, video, lighting and theatrical images. La Mode is performed in collaboration with the Spellbound Contemporary Ballet of Rome.