Japanese pianist Tomoki Sakata “demonstrated virtuosity, considerable color and expressivity” (Dallas Morning News) during the 2013 Cliburn Competition, earning him a place among the top six finalists. He is building a reputation for a “youthful overabundance of talent” that creates “its own visceral excitement” (Theater Jones).
In 2016, Mr. Sakata won the 1st Prize along with 6 special prizes at the International Franz Liszt Piano Competition in Budapest by a unanimous vote.
He has received numerous awards in Europe, America and Japan: Ivan Moravec Prize in Prague (2011), PTNA Grand Prix & Audience Award in Tokyo (2011), Prix du Public in Geneva (2013), Mozart Prize in Cleveland (2016), Vendome Virtuosi Prize in Verbier (2017), FAZ Publikumspreis in Frankfurt (2018), and 1st Prize & Audience Award at Kissinger KlavierOlymp in Bad-Kissingen (2019).
He has made recital, chamber and concerto appearances throughout Europe, Asia, the U.S.A and Africa, in such major Concert halls as Leipzig Gewandhaus, Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, Alte Oper Frankfurt, Dvořâk Hall of Rudolfinum, Grand Hall of the Liszt Academy in Budapest, Müpa Budapest, Philharmonie de Luxembourg, RSI Auditorium Stelio Molo, Teatro Grande di Brescia, Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall and Suntory Hall, as soloist with Staatskapelle Halle, Fort Worth Symphony, Youngstown Symphony, Bakersfield Symphony, Lublin Philharmonic, Czech National Symphony, Hungarian Radio Symphony, Hungarian National Philharmonic, Hungarian State Opera Orchestra, Hungarian National Symphony Orchestra Szeged, Alba Regia Symphony, l’Orchestre Phiharmonique de Maroc, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony, Japan Philharmonic, Tokyo Philharmonic, Tokyo City Philharmonic, Sendai Philharmonic, Gunma Symphony, Kyushu Symphony Orchestra, and Kanagawa Philharmonic Orchestras, working with such conductors as Leonard Slatkin, Alexander Lazarev, Vladimír Válek, Howard Griffiths, Stanislav Kochanovsky, János Kovács, Gergely Kesselyák, Balázs Kocsár, Randall Craig Fleisher, Gergely Kesselyák and Hikotaro Yazaki, as a chamber musician, working with the members of Tokyo Quartet, Brentano Quartet, to name a few. His performances has been broadcasted on the Radio and TV in Germany (MDR Kultur), Switzerland (Radio Suisse Romande and Radio Svizzera Italiana), Russia (KulturaTV), Czech Republic, Hungary, the U.S.A., Japan and many others.
He has appeared in numerous international music festivals, including the Brussels Piano Festival, International Music Festival “Janáčkův máj” (Czech Republic), and the 12th International Festival “Musical Kremlin” (Russia) at the invitation of Nikolai Petrov.
Octavia Records released Mr. Sakata’s debut disc in spring 2015, featuring works by Liszt, Scriabin, Debussy, Chopin, and Rachmaninov. He has also recorded the soundtrack for the popular Japanese manga series “Your Lie in April.”
Born in Nagoya in 1993, Mr. Sakata began piano lessons at the age of 5 and began improvising and composing at age 6. He has received private lessons by Paul Badura-Skoda since the age of 16. In 2011, he was admitted as a youngest student of The Lake Como International Piano Academy, where he has taken masterclasses with many music prominents including Dimitri Bashkirov and Tamás Vásáry.
After study with Hideto Nishikawa and Kenji Watanabe at the Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music, he currently studies with Arie Vardi at Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien Hannover in Germany.
Selected Press Quotes in English
“…he impressed with his virtuosic skill, lyrical gift and demeanor at the piano.” –Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“Sakata displayed remarkable technique, particularly when playing the many decorative grace notes and the powerfully thick, punctuating chords ever-present in Rachmaninoff’s very personal style. The tall young pianist projected an intense energy suited to the composition, and conductor Randal Craig Fleischer and the orchestra performed with poise and élan. The audience reacted with thunderous applause.”－Cleveland Classical
“Tomoki Sakata collaborated in one of the most enjoyable chamber-music experiences thus far. Here was a Schumann Piano Quintet aptly scaled in every respect: tempo, dynamics and balances. In a nicely interactive performance, in which the musicians genuinely seemed to be enjoying themselves, nothing was hurried, nothing forced. Schumann sounded like Schumann, and that’s a high compliment.” –Dallas Morning News
“Tomoki Sakata, a formidably gifted 19-year-old, demonstrated virtuosity, considerable color and expressivity in the first book of Debussy’s Études.” –Dallas Morning News
“He is a 19-year-old who plays beyond his years. He played impeccably, with a pristine touch and elegant phrasing.” –Cincinnati Enquirer
“All of his considerable technical prowess was on display. His interpretation has a way to go before it is fully mature, but this youthful overabundance of talent lent its own visceral excitement to this performance. The audience went wild when it was over.” –Theater Jones
“Sakata displayed an awesome technique, and he made some music in the process.” –Theater Jones
“Sakata brought taste and clarity to the work. His phrasing was polished and he interacted sensitively with the orchestra.”