Mako Okamoto, piano

Mako Okamoto was born in Osaka, Japan.
Education at Toho-Gakuen High School in Tokyo.
Studied at the music academies in Cologne and Freiburg
Professor at Osaka-kyoiku university
Lives in Osaka
Chamber music partner of Dirk Altmann and the Ludwig Chamber Players

I met the Japanese musician Mako Okamoto in 2014 at a recital and masterclasses in Osaka. Her playing on the debut of Claude Debussy’s Première Rapsodie was elaborate and detailed. I was impressed by both the lightness and the color range of her piano play. In the aftermath, we played concerts in Okinawa and again 2016 in Osaka and Tokyo. Also in 2016 the CD „Hommage à PARIS“ was produced. Mako Okamoto has been a professor at Osaka-kyoiku University since 2015. The pianist received a special award at the international Olivier Messiaen Competition in Paris (2007). It is not surprising that Makos recording of the epochal piano cycle of O. Messiaen „Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jesus“ (2014), rewarded international attention



The pianist Mako Okamoto was born in Osaka (Japan). She began her studies at the Toho-Gakuen Music Highschool in Tokyo, with Prof. Naoyuki Inoue and Prof. Keiko Takeuchi. In 1996 she continued her studies with Prof. Michel Beroff at the Musikhochschule in Freiburg (Germany), where after one year she changed to the master class of Prof. Felix Gottlieb. After graduating with honors, she went to the Cologne Musikhochschule in 2000 in the class of Prof. Pavel Gililov. In 2004 she took her concert exam, also with distinction, and moved back to her home country. Since 2005 she has been teaching at Kyoto University and in April 2015 she accepted an appointment as professor at Osaka-kyoiku University.

Mako Okamoto is 1st prize winner of the International Piano Competition Epinal 1999, where she also received a prize for the best interpretation of French music. She won a 1st prize at the Chopin Competition Cologne (2001). Further awards followed at the International Long-Thibaud Competition in Paris (2001). In 2003 she was a finalist at the Concour Reine Elisabeth in Brussel. A prize at the International Olivier Messiaen Competition in Paris (2007) was of special significance for the young pianist. Here, too, she was awarded the prize for outstanding interpretation of Olivier Messiaen’s music.

Mako Okamoto gives concerts in Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, Japan, Korea, Poland, the USA and Switzerland. These include concerts with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Philharmonie de Lorainne, L’Ensemble intercontemporain, Orchestre National de Belgique, Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra and the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra. She has collaborated with Pierre Boulez, Girbert Varga, Carlos Kalmar and Tomomi Nishimoto. In 2005, her debut CD was released with the 12 Etudes by Claude Debussy, recorded in Bremen (Salycus). Another CD entitled Visionary Pianism followed in 2007 (Arshe music Studio). In her current new recording she dedicates herself again to Oliver Messiaen and his Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus (LIVENOTES Nami Records).

The Japanese Mako Okamoto interprets the Douzes Etudes tantalizingly beautifully. With great skill, she maintains a balance between what she calls “impressionistic floating” and an analytical perspective that opens up the understanding of the music.

Dr. Aron Sayeh

mpressive debut with Debussy, Klassik Heute 02/2007

Aoyama music award

2024/ March 02.

Barocksaal Kyoto, Japan

My pianist Prof. Mako Okamoto and I received the Aoyama Music Award for our concert with the programme "Traumgekrönt" on 18 March 2023. The award ceremony will also take place on 2 March 2024 in the Kyoto Baroque Hall.
Many thanks to Laura-Erika Nakamura from Josef Woodwind Manufacture, who took great care of the concert organisation.
The Aoyama Music Award is a prestigious Japanese music prize that is awarded once a year. The winners are honoured for their achievements and their potential for the further development of music.
The prize is endowed with JPY 2,000,000.

September/29 Concert Chișinău

Weber clarinet concerto no. 1

2023/ September 29. 18:00 Palatul Republicii Chișinău, Moldova
At the end of September, I will hand over an oboe as a donation from the SWR Symphony Orchestra to the Philharmonic Orchestra in Chișinău, Republic of Moldova. As a musical greeting, I will perform the Clarinet Concerto No. 1 in F minor by C. M. von Weber with the orchestra at its season opening.

Mountain City Summer 2023

Festival Bergstadtsommer

2023/ September 02. - 09.
Sankt Georgen im Schwarzwald

This year, my long-time chamber music partner Gen Yokosaka (cello) is expected at the Bergstadt Summer. In addition to works by Elgar and Dvorak at the orchestra concert, we will play some of my arrangements of Johann Strauss, Leos Weiner and Kurt Weil at the opening concert. We have invited Susanne Zagar-Swiridoff as a current composer.

Traumgekrönt in Kyoto

Recital with Mako Okamoto, Piano

2023/ March 18. 17:00 Barocksaal Kyoto, Japan
My romance journey begins in the nice Barocksaal in Kyoto

Donaueschinger Musiktage 2023

Figaro with Kyogen Theater

10.03. Osaka12.03. Tokyo


With my Swiss wind colleagues, the KlangArt Ensemble, we are part of a performance of “La nozze de figaro”, which includes four different Japanese and German art forms.