In 1997, Ms. Shimizu won 1st Prize at the ARD International Music Competition in Munich, becoming the first violist in 21 years to win this prize. She has been a welcome guest at international concert venues ever since. Prior to that, she won the International Competition in Geneva in 1996 as well as winning 1st Prize at the International Instrumental Competition in Markneukirchen, Germany in 1995. In 1998, she won the Young Concert Artist International Auditions in the United States.

Ms. Shimizu has performed as a soloist with such orchestras as the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, the SWR Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the Budapest Strings at the Rheingau Musik Festival, as well as with many Japanese orchestras. She has also appeared in recital on solo concert tours of the US, Italy and Japan. She was a guest chamber music artist with the Malboro Music Festival in the US from 1995 to 1998. She also took part in the “Musicians from Marlboro Tour“.

Born in Osaka, Japan, Naoko Shimizu studied viola under Nobuo Okada at the Toho Gakuen School of Music, Japan. In 1994, she began studies with Nobuko Imai at the Hochschule für Musik in Detmold, Germany, completing her degree in viola performance there. She has been the principal violist of the Berliner Philharmoniker since 2001, as well as being in high demand as a soloist and chamber musician.