Chitose Okashiro, pianist, arranger & producer
An artist who has gained worldwide acclaim for interpretative and expressive skills that reveal an exciting and diverse musical palette of color and inventiveness, pianist Chitose Okashiro appears in recitals, chamber and concerto performance throughout Japan, The United States, Canada, Europe and South America.
Miss Okashiro’s appeal extends broadly to the press who hail her varyingly as "…her playing here is astonishing…it's hard to believe that she doesn't have an extra hand or two …a tour de force …if you want to be wowed by some staggering piano playing, have a listen. "... "an appealing colorist" ... "The luxurious and stately chords were there to generate glistening swirls of partials, which Ms. Okashiro was able to bring forward and sculpt, as if her hands had been inside the piano...brilliant..." (New York Times); "I'm still innocent enough to sit in open-mouthed awe at something like Chitose Okashiro's consummate technical mastery"... "Stay tuned to the idiomatic performances of Richter, Neuhaus, Okashiro, Fyodorova and Sofronitsky" (American Record Guide); "Chitose Okashiro is a formidable pianist…to my utter astonishment, I was completely bowled over by it…what’s more, there’s no sense of Lisztian showmanship here, just red-raw, blood-curdling musicianship… astonishingly audacious…phenomenal talent" (Classical Music on the Web, England); "Her playing is always distinctive and quite extraordinary." "dazzling" "fabulous - how many hands does she have?- " (Fanfare); "Played with Okashiro's surprising technical acumen and tasteful use of rubato, the end is ravishing. She's so incredibly poetic, even in the terrifying fast pieces, that one can't help being bowled over...unreal...terrific"... "Yet one has to admit that they (Horowitz, and the grand Russian manner, Ashkenazy) - and most others - seem slightly unseasoned. Okashiro's distinguished readings vault to the top of current listings for their uncanny insight into the body and soul of Scriabin's complexity." (In Tune); "gems" (Billboard); "...remarkable recording...Okashiro plays with unremitting intensity and virtuosity, producing showers of prismatic notes. At the end you think, 'Wow!' ....played with subtlety and gorgeous tonal effect."..."Okashiro is a virtuoso in the best sense of the term." (Boston Patriot Ledger); "In this superb CD, I daresay I have found one of the most intelligent and stimulating piano recitals I have encountered" (Newbie's Guide To Classical CD); "a young artist of genius in the true sense of the word"... "dyed-in-the-wool Scriabin player" (Art of Record, Japan); "...splendid...they (Schumann's Symphonic Etudes op.13) receive as fine a performance as any I've heard." (Classical, London); "unusually colorful and richly varied readings...shade her sound in the manner of a Renoir pastel" (CD Review of the Week)
Miss Okashiro's discography has 12 CDs. Her seventh release, an adventurous recording of the Piano Transcription of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.6, Pathétique, eighth and ninth releases, Sakamoto Piano Works I & II, and tenth release, Mahler's Symphony No.1, Titan, were on the hit chart in Japan. Her sixth release, Wagner Piano Transcriptions, received HMV Award in Japan, her Mahler’s Titan piano transcription CD was chosen Recording of the Year on Classical Music on the Web in England, and her Scriabin's "Poem of Ecstasy" piano transcription received 5 stars on Diapason magazine in France. “The Poem of Ecstasy” was a two piano version transcribed by Conus-Okashiro. It used an “over dub multi-track recording technique allowing Miss Okashiro to play both piano parts (something never before attempted in Classical world when it was released), to achieve a more colorful piano sound throughout the entirety of the instrument’s vast harmonic register. Her 13th release is going to be Scriabin’s Prometheus Symphony transcribed by hersel for 1-6 pianos using over-dub recording. In other words, “she does not like ordinary projects.”
She is active not only as a recording and performing pianist, but also as a superlative record producer. She served as artistic director and producer at Pro Piano Records. Her focus as a producer is to recognize a performer's musical personality with care and sensitivity, then to find a way of capturing and reproducing that personality as faithfully and passionately as possible. Philosophy and possibility of recording by Glenn Gould inspired her to learn the essence of recording. Such stimulating experience lends her as an introspective opportunity to examine herself, the pianist, through the eyes of her own self, the producer. Thereby her various activities nourish themselves from the musical intellect which resides within her, doing their part to help her grow as a more complete and well-rounded artist.
After having released 9 CDs of her own and upon the experience of working with numerous international pianists as producer, she has established her own record company in 2002 in New York: "Château." Château’s purpose is to provide highly artistic products which pursue projects of pure interest revealing new aspects of music. Consistently operated and conducted based on the artist's own perspective and vision, the releases aim to provide listeners with more direct and profound musical contact.
She also has been active as piano arranger/transcriber for many years. She has ever worked with such a living composers as John Adams, Steven Mackey, David T. Little, Christopher Rouse, Micjael Daugherty and the Argentine composer Osvaldo Golijov, and arranged the works by Albert Ginastera and Elliott Carter. Her transcriptions for chorus and piano of John Adams’ chorus works drawn from his operas were premiered on March 26th, 2017 at Walter Disney Hall in Los Angels. The said chorus and piano works soon by Boosey & Hawkes in three volumes.
A native of Japan, Miss Okashiro received early musical education at Toho High School of Music, her Bachelor's Degree from Toho University in Tokyo, Master's Degree from The Juilliard School with Herbert Stessin, and Professional Studies Program at Manhattan School of Music under Karl Ulrich Schnabel, son of legendary pianist Artur Schnabel.
"...talented, courageous and intelligent, Chitose Okashiro embodies the essence of the coming generation of keyboard redeemers: a pianist who is true to her own self and her art..."
---Michel Block, Pianist