Ferocious and frantic, Schumann’s G minor Sonata Op 22 is a real showpiece . . . it was thrillingly all of a piece, a sustained burst of pianistic energy that would have been the natural climax of most recitals . . . Uchida at her imaginative, poetic best.”
The Guardian (London), 7 March 2013 (concert review)
Mitsuko Uchida – Biography
Mitsuko Uchida is a performer who brings deep insight into the music she plays through her own search for truth and beauty. She is renowned for her interpretations of Mozart, Schubert and Beethoven, both in the concert hall and on recordings, but she has also illuminated the music of Berg, Schoenberg, Webern and Boulez for a new generation of listeners.
Mitsuko Uchida was born in Atami, near Tokyo and moved to Vienna when she was twelve years old. She studied with Richard Hauser at the Vienna Academy of Music, and later with Wilhelm Kempff and Stefan Askenase. She gave her first Viennese recital at the Vienna Musikverein at the age of only 14. In 1969 she won first prize at the Beethoven Competition in Vienna, in 1970 the second prize at the International Frédéric Chopin Piano Competition, and in 1975 the second prize at the Leeds Piano Competition.
Mitsuko Uchida performs throughout the world with many different artistic partners. Highlights of 2011 included a two-week residency with the Chicago Symphony (playing the Schumann concerto under Riccardo Muti and directing Mozart from the keyboard), a European tour with Mariss Jansons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the conclusion of a Beethoven Piano Concerto cycle with Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony, and numerous solo (in Schubert’s last three sonatas) and chamber (with such partners as Ian Bostridge and the Hagen Quartet) appearances throughout Europe, in Japan and the USA.
2012 featured further Mozart concertos in Chicago and Cleveland, the Schoenberg concerto with the Vienna Philharmonic (Boulez) and the Philharmonia (Salonen), and the late Schubert sonatas in Luxembourg, Vienna, Paris, Berlin, Chicago, New York and London. This year’s chamber collaborations include Magdalena Kožená (Wigmore Hall, Prague Spring Festival and Perugia) and the Quatuor Ébène (the Franck Piano Quintet in Heidelberg and at the Salzburg Mozart Week). 2013 includes Beethoven’s Fourth Concerto with Jansons and the Bavarian Radio Orchestra at the BBC Proms and the Edinburgh and Lucerne festivals; more Mozart with the Cleveland and Chicago Symphony orchestras as well as with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in Spain and Portugal; Beethoven Concertos 2 and 3 with the Cleveland Orchestra under Leon Fleisher; Mozart and Messiaen’s Oiseaux exotiques with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (Andris Nelsons); Schoenberg/Schumann recitals throughout Europe, the USA and Japan; recitals with soprano Dorothea Röschmann and chamber music “with friends” at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall and with members of the Berliner Philharmoniker.
Mitsuko Uchida records exclusively for Decca. Her recording of the Schoenberg Piano Concerto with Pierre Boulez and The Cleveland Orchestra won four awards, including the Gramophone Award for “Best Concerto”, while her recording of Beethoven’s Sonatas opp. 101 and 106 won two BBC Music Magazine Awards 2008 in the categories “Disc of the Year” and “Instrumentalist of the Year”. For her album with Mozart’s Piano Concertos nos. 23 and 24 she was awarded a GrammyÒ for “Best Instrumental Soloist Performance with Orchestra”. Her discography includes the complete Mozart Piano Sonatas and Piano Concertos, the complete Schubert Piano Sonatas, the five Beethoven Piano Concertos with Kurt Sanderling, and the last five Beethoven Piano Sonatas. In 2008 she released Berg’s Chamber Concerto with the Ensemble Intercontemporain, Pierre Boulez and Christian Tetzlaff and in 2010 she marked Schumann’s bicentenary with her first recording of the Davidsbündlertänze and the Fantasy in C major. In 2009, she released Mozart’s Piano Concertos nos. 23 and 24 with The Cleveland Orchestra, which she conducted from the piano, continuing that series in 2011 with Concertos nos. 20 and 27 and in 2012 with Concertos nos. 9 and 21. Her latest Decca release, to be issued in September 2013, is a Schumann recital comprising the Piano Sonata no. 2 in G minor op. 22, Waldszenen op. 82 and the late Gesänge der Frühe op. 133.
Mitsuko Uchida has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to aiding the development of young musicians and is a trustee of the Borletti-Buitoni Trust. She is also co-director, with Richard Goode, of the Marlboro Music Festival. In June 2009 she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire and in May 2012 she was awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Gold Medal.