Patron: Noriko Ogawa

Patron: Noriko Ogawa Patron: Noriko Ogawa

Noriko Ogawa, Honorary Patron of Ipswich Symphony Orchestra

February 2013 marked the beginning of our association with international pianist Noriko Ogawa as the orchestra’s Honorary Patron.



A former Leeds International Piano Competition prize-winner, Noriko Ogawa is in high demand at concert halls across the world, and in recent years has developed a friendship with the Ipswich Symphony Orchestra after performing several concerts with them in Ipswich.  Noriko says “I feel very honoured for the Orchestra to have chosen me for this position”.



Well known as a presenter on BBC radio and TV, Noriko is passionate about music education in both Britain and her native Japan, and has attended our Family Concerts to see for herself the mutual enthusiasm of the audience and orchestra and meet “some of the musicians of the future”.



The Family Concerts are our chance to introduce young people to the spectacle of a full orchestra in a live performance. The orchestra has performed these popular concerts each year for nearly 30-years, and they provide such an important opportunity for young people to discover classical music, the excitement of taking part in a performance, and to see the instruments at first hand. We hope that many of our audience take up an interest in music as a result of coming to these concerts.






Noriko Ogawa has achieved considerable renown throughout the world since her success at the 1987 Leeds International Piano Competition. Ogawa's ‘ravishingly poetic playing’ (Telegraph) sets her apart from her contemporaries and acclaim for her complete Debussy series with BIS Records confirms her as a fine Debussy specialist.


Ogawa appears with all the major European, Japanese and US orchestras. She has been appointed Artist in Residence to Bridgewater Hall in Manchester where she will be Artistic Director for the Reflections on Debussyfestival, hosted by BBC Philharmonic and Bridgewater Hall from January-June 2012. With the recent completion of the Debussy series, Ogawa completed recording a new Mozart disc for BIS Records in 2011. With her wonderful dynamic range and colour palate, Ogawa's particular affinities also range from the works of Takemitsu, through the larger Romantic composers such as Prokofiev and Rachmaninov, to contemporary concerti commissioned from Graham Fitkin and Dai Fujikura.


Ogawa is also renowned as a recitalist and chamber musician. Notable chamber projects include a tour of Japan with the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Ensemble and the leader of the Vienna Philharmonic, Rainer Honeck. In 2001 Ogawa and Kathryn Stott launched their piano duo and have since toured in Japan and given premieres of Graham Fitkin's double piano concerto Circuit, including the world premiere at Bridgewater Hall. She has also collaborated with Steven Isserlis, Isabelle van Keulen, Martin Roscoe, Michael Collins and Peter Donohoe.


An advocate of commissioning, Ogawa has been involved in numerous premieres. Her current commission is a ground-breaking series of recital pieces from Yoshihiro Kanno which feature the piano alongside various traditional Japanese instruments or sounds; the first for Nambu bell and piano Hikari no Ryushi (A Particle of Light), followed by Mizu no Ryushi (A Particle of Water) for metal chopsticks and piano, Niji no ryushi (A Particle of Rainbow) for piano and Kabuki Orgel and finally Sora no meiro (Sky Maze) for organ and piano.


Alongside performing and recording for BIS, Ogawa is sought-after for presenting, both on the radio and on television, recently appearing on BBC Worldwide in ‘Visionaries’ as an advocate for Takemitsu and in programmes for NHK and Nippon Television. As an adjudicator, she regularly judges the BBC Young Musician of the Year Competition, Honens International Piano Competition and the Scottish International Piano Competition.


In Japan, Ogawa 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, Ogawa has completed her first book (published in Japan) and is currently working on a Japanese translation of Susan Tomes's book Out of Silence - a pianist's yearbook.


Ogawa is passionate about charity work, particularly after the earthquake and tsunami which devastated Japan in early 2011. Since the earthquake she has raised over £20,000 for the British Red Cross Japan Tsunami Fund and is keen to keep fundraising, also working with the Japan Society through 2012. Ogawa also founded Jamie's Concerts a series for autistic children and parents.


Ogawa lives with her partner Philip and their cat, Sox. When not practising she enjoys writing and cooking for friends.


Photographs © S Mitsuta