Member of the jury 2021
|Photo © Shumpei Ohsugi
Nation : Japan
|Kei Itoh studied piano with Kazuko Ariga since her childhood. After graduating Toho Gakuen High School, she went on to study at Universität Mozarteum Salzburg and Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hannover where she studied with Hans Leygraf.
Since 1979, she has won numerous awards at international competitions including the top prize at the Epinal International Piano Competition in 1979 and at the 32nd Internationalen Musikwettbewerbs der ARD München in 1983, for which she was the first Japanese to win the award in piano division. In the same year, she made her Munich debut with Bayerische Staatsorchester conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch.
In 1987, she began recording a CD series of Schumanniana, a collection of piano works by Robert Schumann. In May of next year, she played a concert commemorating the release of the recording.
In October 1993, she played in a season concert of Radio-Sinfonie-Orchester Frankfurt conducted by Dimitri Kitaenko, after which she joined the orchestra’s concert tour in Japan to play the Brahms concerto. In the same year, she received the annual award from the Frederic Chopin Society of Japan.
In June 2001, Itoh played the second Brahms concerto with Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony conducted by Jean Fournet. In September she played the Emperor Concerto with Takashi Asahina leading Osaka Philharmonic in Sapporo, which turned out to be their last joint appearance.
In 2015, her CD “Franz Schubert Klavierwerke 6” won the 53rd Record Academy Award and the 70th time Agency for Cultural Affairs art festival prize, and in 2016 “DUO 5” with violinist Keisuke Okazaki received the 54th Record Academy Award. Her latest album is Beethoven Klavierwerke 2 released in May 2020.
She has performed with numerous orchestras in and outside of Japan including?Symphonieorchesterdes Bayerischen Rundfunks, SWF Sinfonieorchester Baden Baden und Freiburg, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Orkiestra Filharmonii Narodowej w Warszawie, and Ceská filharmonie.
She plays chamber music with Nobuko Imai, Antonio Meneses and Keisuke Okazaki.