Noriko Ogawa


At a glance

Noriko Ogawa


…pianism of the highest order
The Times

Noriko Ogawa has achieved considerable renown throughout the world. Appearing with all the major European, Japanese and US orchestras, as well as an extensive discography with BIS Records, Noriko’s highly acclaimed performances set her apart from her contemporaries.

Biography —

Noriko Ogawa has achieved considerable renown throughout the world since her success at the Leeds International Piano Competition.  Noriko’s “ravishingly poetic playing” (Telegraph) sets her apart from her contemporaries and acclaim for her complete Debussy series with BIS Records (“If you like your Debussy to sound like the musical equivalent of a chilled white wine, Noriko Ogawa is the pianist for you” Roger Vignoles, BBC Radio 3, CD Review), confirms her as a fine Debussy specialist. Noriko’s current recording project for BIS Records is solo piano music by Eric Satie, which is receiving high praise from the likes of Classic FM, Gramophone and BBC Music Magazine.

Noriko appears with all the major European, Japanese and US orchestras including recent and forthcoming performances with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra, Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Czech National Symphony Orchestra and the Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as the BBC Symphony Orchestra for the world premiere of Richard Dubugnon’s Piano Concerto. Noriko made her BBC Proms debut in August 2013 with the BBC Concert Orchestra (conducted by Barry Wordsworth) and appeared again in 2014 with the Endymion Ensemble. She has been appointed Vice President of the St Cecilia Orchestra in Ripon, Honorary Patron of the Ipswich Orchestral Society, Honorary Patron of the North Fylde Music Circle and, from January to June 2012, was the Artistic Director for the Reflections on Debussy Festival, hosted by BBC Philharmonic and Bridgewater Hall. In 2015 she continued her relationship with the Bridgewater Hall as Associate Artist for the Ravel and Rachmaninov Festival alongside Peter Donohoe, and in 2017 she appeared as part of the Hall’s 21st birthday concert series.

Noriko is also renowned as a recitalist and chamber musician. Chamber projects include a tour of Japan with the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Ensemble and the leader of the Vienna Philharmonic. With her piano duet partner Kathryn Stott, Noriko has performed Malcolm Arnold’s Concerto for Two Pianos (Three Hands) at the 2013 BBC Proms, toured in Japan and given premieres of Graham Fitkin’s double piano concerto Circuit.  Noriko has also collaborated with Steven Isserlis, Martin Roscoe, Michael Collins and Peter Donohoe.

As an advocate of commissioning, Noriko has been involved in numerous premieres including works by Richard Dubugnon, Takemitsu, Graham Fitkin and Dai Fujikura, as well as Le Tombeau de Rachmaninov, specially written for Noriko by six composers and premiered at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall. In addition to recording and performing, Noriko is a sought-after presenter, both on the radio and on television, appearing as a piano expert on the BBC3 coverage of the Leeds Piano Competition in 2016, and on BBC Worldwide in Visionaries as an advocate for Takemitsu. As an adjudicator, she regularly judges the BBC Young Musician of the Year Competition, Munich International Piano Competition, Honens International Piano Competition, the Scottish International Piano Competition, and the International Edvard Grieg Competition in Norway. Noriko was appointed as Chairperson of the Jury for Japan’s prestigious 10th Hamamatsu International Piano Competition in 2018, and was also elected to the board of the World Federation of International Music Competitions this same year. In addition to her busy concert and competition schedule, Noriko is also a teacher and is a Fellow at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and regularly teaches masterclasses at Tokyo College of Music and Moscow Conservatoire.

In Japan, Noriko acts as artistic advisor to the MUZA Kawasaki Symphony Hall in her hometown. In 1999, the Japanese Ministry of Education awarded her their Art Prize in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the cultural profile of Japan throughout the world and she has also been awarded the Okura Prize for her outstanding contribution to music in Japan.  As a writer, Noriko has completed her first book (published in Japan), and her Japanese translation of Susan Tomes’s book Out of Silence – a pianist’s yearbook has been reprinted due to popular demand, with the Japanese music magazine Ongaku no tomo saying “Ogawa translates Tomes’ elegant composition into very beautiful Japanese with deep empathy and affection” (August 2012).

Noriko is passionate about charity work, particularly after the earthquake and tsunami which devastated Japan in early 2011.  Since the earthquake she has raised over £40,000 for the British Red Cross Japan Tsunami Fund and is keen to keep fundraising.  Noriko also founded Jamie’s Concerts, a series for autistic children and parents, and is a Cultural Ambassador for the National Autistic Society.

Noriko lives with her partner Philip. When not practising she enjoys writing and cooking for friends.

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Reviews —

What sets her apart from other pianists is her wonderful sense of timing… [Ogawa] allows the music to breathe, while maintaining the forward momentum

The Times

…just one of myriad spell-binding moments where clarity of local detail, a broader sense of gesture and an awareness of the structural whole are in perfect alliance, supported by superb sound.

Christopher Dingle, BBC Music Magazine

The soloist, Noriko Ogawa, played with crystalline precision in striking music that alternates between percussive chords and floating melismas

The Observer

Ampere is another wicked puppet show, the string-puller the fearless Noriko Ogawa, whose jolts at the piano are virtuosically pursued by the orchestra for 25 minutes of teasing charm…

Neil Fisher, The Times

Ogawa is unfailingly beautiful, truly poetic

Christopher Howell, Music Web International

…poetic and virtuoso performance…

Waikato Times

Noriko Ogawa demonstrated exquisite tonal control and musical clarity, with some delightful bass sonorities, bright droplets of sound, and elegantly nuanced layers and textures… Noriko Ogawa performed them with obvious humour, warmth and charm, underpinned by expert and tasteful pedalling and superb technical facility.

Frances Wilson, Bachtrack

Noriko Ogawa's superb performance of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 held the audience in rapt attention, as she followed the constantly shifting emotional and stylistic contours. The virtuosity of her playing never drew attention to itself but recreated the moods with transparency.

Nottingham Evening Post

Ogawa’s playing has immense sensitivity and command – an excellent start to this cycle.


Selected Discography —

SATIE - Piano Music Vol. 1

In this utterly delightful disc she manages to convey not only Satie’s quirkiness, but his honesty… She also, as we know, has a fine technique.

BBC Music Magazine, 5*

MOZART - Mozart Piano Sonatas No. 10, 11, 12

One would hope that Ogawa has much more Mozart to offer, because this is an exquisite presentation that other pianists should envy. Highly recommended.

All Music

DEBUSSY - Piano Music, Vol. 1 – Vol.5

Her playing is never less than sensitive and beautiful, the melting texture she extracts at the end of the Suite bergamasque’s ‘Passepied’ being just one of myriad exquisite moments

BBC Music Magazine


Noriko Ogawa and Kathryn Stott … are both superb, displaying rock-solid rhythmic pulse, delicate phrasing, and beautiful tone.

Peter Burwasser, Fanfare

TCHEREPNIN - Complete Symphonies & Piano Concertos

The soloist, Noriko Ogawa, played with crystalline precision in striking music that alternates between percussive chords and floating melisma

BBC Music Magazine

RACHMANINOV - Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 4; Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini, Op. 43

The clarity of Ogawa’s fingerwork in some of the fast passagework in the Finale is a joy to behold, as is her seductive and caressing approach to the slow movement

BBC Music Magazine

TAKEMITSU - A String Around Autumn

Noriko Ogawa judges the balance sensitively...


RIMSKY-KORSAKOV - Orchestral Works

Ogawa responds to every fleeting whimsicality with such clarity and refinement that you are lost in wonder

See full discography

Related Media —

Jamie's Concerts

To launch her role as Cultural Ambassador for the National Autistic Society, Noriko talks about her Jamie's Concerts which are designed for parents and carers of chlidren with autism. Filmed at Eaton Square Concerts, April 2015 View on YouTube

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Contact —


  • Nicola Semple