Mari Kodama has established an international reputation for her profound musicality and articulate virtuosity at the keyboard. She has performed throughout Europe, the United States and Japan, and her unique and personal style is evident in whatever repertoire she plays.
Ms. Kodama is featured on a new recording of Beethoven piano sonatas for Dutch label PentaTone classics [PTC 5186-023]. This new CD, the second installment in her traversal of the complete Beethoven sonatas for the Dutch label, features the “Moonlight” sonata, Sonata No.4, Op.7, and the “Pathétique” sonata.
About the first installment in the Beethoven sonatas project (“Waldstein”, “Appassionata” and “Les adieux”) [PTC 5186-024], Audiophile Audition said “...every aspect of the playing here is absolutely of the highest order”, and the San Francisco Chronicle praised her “Appassionata” as “...even more fiery than Pollini’s.”
The new release is Ms.Kodama’s third for the label, following her recording of the second piano concertos of Chopin and Loewe [PTC 5186-026], called “more than a lovely vehicle for Kodama’s dextrous, bright pianism” by San Francisco Classical Voice.
Highlights of Mari Kodama’s 2004/05 season include appearances with the Yomiuri Nippon Orchestra in Tokyo with whom she’ll play Beethoven’s second piano concerto under the direction of Ken Takazeki, with the Bamberg Symphony in Schoenberg’s Piano Concerto Op.42 under Jonathan Nott, and a cycle of Beethoven piano concerti with the Deutsches Sinfonie in Berlin.
She will play Beethoven’s fourth piano concerto with the Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra under Joseph Swenson, and Beethoven’s second concerto with the Montreal Symphony under the direction of Jacques Lacombe. She will play recitals in Nagoya, Los Angeles, and Carmel, and will continue her performance of the complete Beethoven sonatas in Tokyo with concerts in November 2004 and May 2005.
In the 2003/04 season, Mari Kodama played the Prokofiev Third Piano Concerto at the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival, which the Los Angeles Times called “commanding and electrifying.”
She presented an all-Beethoven recital at the Athenaeum in La Jolla, performed with Bernhard Klee and the Volkstheater Orchester Rostock in Germany, and played concerto and recital engagements in Madrid and Seville.
With her sister, pianist Momo Kodama, she performed Mozart's Double Piano Concerto in Portugal and Messiaen's epic Visions de l'Amen in Japan. She also continued her ongoing Beethoven sonata cycles in the United States and Japan, and celebrated her fourth season of recitals in Los Angeles and Pasadena.
Ms. Kodama is a founding member of chamber music festivals in San Francisco, Sapporo and Gmunden. The most unusual of these endeavors is Musical Days at Forest Hill, a set of four concerts presented by Ms.Kodama and her husband, conductor Kent Nagano, at their home in the Forest Hill section of San Francisco (www.foresthill-sf.com/musicaldays/).
For the last two years, Ms.Kodama has invited friends and colleagues from the Vienna Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, and prominent freelancers from France, Austria and the U.S. to play chamber music at the Forest Hill Club House - a small communal space in the exclusive Forest Hill compound - as a gift for her neighbors at Forest Hill.
The concerts are not open to the public, but writers who have come as invited guests have raved about the quality of the performances, which revivify the true spirit of chamber music. Repertoire ranges from Bach to Messiaen to Schoenberg to Schumann to Schubert, with newer music by such composers as Jacob Druckman and Kurt Rohde.
Mari Kodama was born in Osaka and raised in Paris. At the Conservatoire National in Paris, she studied piano with Germaine Mounier and chamber music with GeneviPve Joy-Dutilleux. She has also worked with Tatiana Nikolaeva and Alfred Brendel.
Mari Kodama has played with such orchestras as the Berlin Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Philharmonia Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra, North German Radio, Vienna Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Berkeley Symphony, the American Symphony Orchestra, and the NHK Orchestra in Japan.
The conductors with whom she has performed include Raymond Leppard, Charles Dutoit, Frans Brüggen, Kent Nagano, and Bernhard Klee.
Ms.Kodama made her New York recital debut at Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall in 1995. Her U.S. festival appearances include Mostly Mozart, Bard Music Festival, the Hollywood Bowl, California's Midsummer Mozart Festival, Ravinia, and Aspen. Outside the U.S., she has appeared at festivals in Lockenhaus, Lyon, Montpelier, Salzburg, Aix-en-Provence, Aldeburgh, Verbier and Évian.
The season 2005/2006 includes a tour to Singapore with the Singapore
Symphony orchestra with Lan Shui, appearances at Folles Journees de
Nantes in Tokyo, Gulbenkian Foundation Orchestra with John Axelrod, and
the 3 Beethoven Concerti with Deutsche Symphonie Orchester Berlin and
Kent Nagano in Baden Baden.