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First Prize winner at the 1999 Paganini Competition – the first Japanese and youngest artist ever to do so, Sayaka Shoji has been performing with the world’s leading conductors including Yuri Temirkanov, Zubin Mehta, Lorin Maazel, Sir Colin Davis, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Kurt Masur, Mariss Jansons, Semyon Bychkov, Myung-Whun Chung, Riccaldo Chailly, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Paavo Järvi and Sir Antonio Pappano. Born in Tokyo and spent her early childhood in Siena, Italy, Sayaka has started studying the violinat age of 5. Her teachers include Uto Ughi and Riccardo Brengola, Saschko Gawriloff and Zakhar Bron. In 1997, she made her debut at Lucerne Festival and Musikverein in Vienna with Rudolf Baumgartner.
Zubin Mehta has been her strong supporter. When Shoji auditioned for him in 2000, he immediately changed his schedule in order to make her first recording with the Israel Philharmonic possible in the following month, then invited her to perform with Bavarian State Opera and Los Angeles Philharmonic. Sayaka appears regularly as a recitalist and chamber musician at festivals such as Verbier, Annecy, Ravenna, Prague Spring, Settimane Musicale di Chigiana, Beethovenfest Bonn and Rencontres Musicales d’Evian. Sayaka plays the 1729 Recamier Stradivarius – kindly loaned to her by Ueno Fine Chemicals Industry Ltd.