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Noriko Ogawa is a major pianist who bases her career half in her native Japan and half in Europe. Her repertory is primarily of the Romantic era and later, with an emphasis on recent classics.
After establishing a solid career in Japan, she came to international acclaim with a third place finish in the Leeds International Piano Competition of 1987. This led to her attracting a large following in the United Kingdom, resulting in her decision to spend half of her professional life in Europe. She has appeared with all the major orchestras of the British Isles, including the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Philharmonic, Philharmonia, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, the Hallé Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic, and the Orchestra of St. John's Smith Square. In Europe she has appeared with the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, the Tapiola Orchestra (Finland), and the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra. She also broadcasts regularly on the Japanese television networks NHK and Nippon Television, and has toured extensively with the NKH Symphony Orchestra. She frequently appears also on the BBC. She is a well-regarded accompanist, particularly known for frequent appearances with Korean violinist Dong-Suk Kang. She is an exclusive artist for the major independent Swedish classical label BIS. The Times of London chose her recording of the second and third Rachmaninov concertos as one of the best releases of 1997, and her account of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition won a Critics' Choice Award. She released a stunning disc of complete Takemitsu piano music, and has also recorded piano concertos of Tcherepnin, as well as music by Harald Saeverud, Johan Peterson-Berger, and selections of Japanese solo piano music and music for cello and piano. After the turn of the century she continued projects to record more Rachmaninov and music of Schumann and Debussy. There is, incidentally, a Japanese soprano of the same name, also building a significant career in Europe and Japan, who performs as Noriko Ogawa-Yatake.