Mukaiyama, Tomoko International Festival of Contemporary Music Warsaw Autumn

go to content

is a Dutch-Japanese pianist, visual artist and director based in Amsterdam. She studied piano in Tokyo, Indiana, and Amsterdam, making her concert debut in 1990. A year later she won the prestigious Dutch Gaudeamus competition. 

As a pianist, Tomoko is praised for her vivid interpretations of historical as well as modern compositions. Many prestigious orchestras and ensembles throughout the world have engaged her, including the Ensemble Modern in Frankfurt, London Sinfonietta, Ensemble Intercontemporain, and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Tomoko’s unique approach to the piano has inspired many composers, such as Louis Andriessen, to write new works for her. 

Yet Tomoko pushes on the boundaries of the classical music world. As a pianist and visual artist, she has a fascination for unconventional contemporary art projects and plays with the conventions around her instrument, her profession and performance in a broader sense. She uses her experience as a concert pianist to give a new dimension to the concert space, as well as to performance and installation art. As a multimodal artist Tomoko develops art installations and performing arts projects that combine music with contemporary dance, fashion, and visual art. She has collaborated with film directors, designers, architects, dancers and photographers, such as Marina Abramović, MERZBOW, Jiří Kylián, and Michael Gordon. Among Tomoko’s stages are the Royal Concertgebouw, Sydney Opera House and the Yokohama Triennale. Tomoko’s work builds on the study of the absence and presence of the composer, the audience, and the pianist. She gave new dimension to the concert space with her project _for you_ (2002), premiered at the Yokohama Triennial (2002). She performed on the piano in a concert hall for just one visitor, who won the unique ticket in an auction. The intimacy of this performance made for an intense experience for the listener, who was confronted with the music, the pianist, but most of all, himself. In Show me your second face (2007) Tomoko transformed herself and the piano into a fashion sculpture. Her music installation _Mo-Ichido_ (2008) included the experience of scent by integrating organic odours and video. A piano concert with multimedia reached out to audiences to participate or engage with this installation through a personal ritual. The work successfully toured five locations all over the world, and led to a documentary film called Water Children (2011) that was shown at International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam and movie theaters across the Netherlands. One of Tomoko’s signature works is the Multus (2012–) concert series, an ever-extending performance of the minimalist piece Canto Ostinato that is coloured by the artist’s personal view through its visualisation with other disciplines such as video and light art. 

Always looking to extend her perspective on art in all possible forms, more recently Tomoko has been moving toward the performing arts. She created the dance work _SHIROKURO_, presented during the Holland Festival in 2013, with choreographer Nicole Beutler and light designer Jean Kalman. One of Tomoko’s most large-scale productions to date is _La Mode_ (2016). This installation performance investigates and deconstructs the identity of our present time, consumerism, materialism, and fetishism in the world of fashion. The piece consists of various art forms including music, dance, architectural installation, and fashion imagery. In collaboration with Maison Hermès Le Forum, Tomoko’s latest large-scale project has been Pianist (2019), where the artist has consecutively performed 24 times in a 24-day period concurrently exhibiting an installation made from a forest of pianos. 

Tomoko is currently working on new projects with the Saitama Gold Theatre in Japan, the National Ballet in the Netherlands, and composer Alexander Raskatov. The Tomoko Mukaiyama Foundation operates as producer of the projects of Tomoko Mukaiyama. The foundation received a multiple-year grant of governmental support by the Dutch Performing Arts Fund.