Chihiro Yamanaka

 


Japanese musician (Pianist)

 

Born in Japan

Chihiro Yamanaka began studying piano at the age of four and, when she was 12, won the Grand Prize at a new talent competition in Gunma, Japan.

Since graduating with top honours from the Berklee College of Music, Japanese pianist Chihiro Yamanaka has been acclaimed as a most accomplished musician and composer with tremendous international potential.

While at Berklee, in 2000, she received Down Beat's Outstanding Performance Award and also won the Sisters In Jazz competition, organized by the International Association for Jazz Education. She has since won the HMV Award for the Best Jazz Album of 2004 and, in 2005, was voted Best New Artist in the poll of the Japanese jazz publication, Swing Journal.

After studying at the Royal Academy of Music in England, she moved to the United States and continued her studies at Berklee. Chihiro has performed with some highly distinguished jazzmen since graduating, including Clark Terry, Gary Burton, George Russell, Curtis Fuller, Ed Thigpen, Nancy Wilson, George Benson and Herbie Hancock.
She was resident pianist with the all-girl big band DIVA. She has performed at major venues in the United States, including the Kennedy Center in Washington and New York's Carnegie Hall and has also played in the Vienna State Opera House, in the JVC Jazz Festival in New York, the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Idaho, the Tokyo Jazz Festival and the Umbria Jazz Festival.
Her debut album, Living Without Friday, was released on the Japanese jazz piano label, Atelier Sawano, in October 2001 and achieved impressive sales. Her second Atelier Sawano CD, released in December 2002, was When October Goes, on which she was accompanied by Larry Grenadier on bass and Jeff Ballard on drums. This album made the No. 1 spot on the Japanese jazz chart. August 2003 saw the release of the DVD, Leaning Forward, recorded at a sell-out performance by Chihiro’s New York trio. The DVD made the top ten in the Japanese DVD chart. At the end of 2003, Chihiro again toured Japan with her New York Trio and drew packed houses everywhere. In February 2004 she recorded Madrigal for Atelier Sawano, with Larry Grenadier on bass and Rodney Green or Jeff Ballard on drums.
George Russell has hailed Chihiro as “a very gifted and imaginative musician” and the Japanese magazine, Jazz Life, has described her as “one of the greatest talents in jazz for decades.”
In January 2005, Chihiro signed with Universal Classics and Jazz, and has released 3 CDs, “Outside by the Swing” with Bob Hurst and Jeff “Tain” Watts in 2005 and “Lach Doch Mal” with Larry Grenadier and Jeff Ballard again in 2006. “Lach Doch Mal” is released from EmArcy in Europe in 2007, and the 3rd album “Abyss” is released on Aug. 2007. and has got Swing Journal magazine's "Jazz Disc Award 2007" and "Album of The Year 2007" of Readers' Poll. Her newest album is "After Hours" released in 2008.

Chihiro Yamanaka's official website: http://www.chihiroyamanaka.com/

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