Mari Kodama is consistently praised for her virtuosity in a wide range of repertoire, including orchestral, chamber and solo works by composers of all periods. She is also known for her natural musicality, tonal expressiveness with a clear form, and as a benchmark Beethoven interpreter.
In the 2021/22 season, Mari Kodama showcased her diverse talents with various international concert appearances, such as Tokyo Symphony Orchestra (Krzysztof Urbański), Colorado Springs Philharmonic (Josep Cabellé Domenech) performing three Beethoven concerti in one evening, and Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg (Kent Nagano). Other highlights of the season include the world premiere of Rodolphe Bruneau-Boulmier’s new piano concerto Terra Nostra, broadcast on Deutschlandfunk with Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin under the direction of Kent Nagano at the Berlin Philharmonie.
As a further demonstration of her versatility she plays a central part in the hugely successful ballet production Beethoven Projekt II (John Neumeier) which re-opened the Staatsoper Hamburg after months of COVID closure and which will be revived this season. In recital, she collaborated with Markus Hinterhäuser featuring Messiaen’s Visions de l’Amen. She also organized the Beethoven Festival ‘A life in a day’ in San Francisco, and presented all 32 of Beethoven’s piano sonatas over two days by 14 different soloists.
Beethoven’s piano works form a focal point of Mari Kodama’s recording activities. She is one of few female pianists to record the composer’s complete sonatas, with her 2014 box set from Pentatone receiving critical acclaim. In fall 2019 she released Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.0 – 5, which together with his Rondo for Piano and Orchestra and his “Eroica” Variations for solo piano complement the Beethoven CD — Box with all of Beethoven’s piano concertos as well as the Triple Concerto together with Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and Kent Nagano (Berlin Classics).
Since her New York recital debut at Carnegie Hall in 1995, Mari Kodama has performed with renowned orchestras and conductors in the world’s leading concert halls. She has played with Gothenburg Symphony, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, SWR Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal. In her native Japan, she has played with NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo and the symphony orchestras of Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Osaka, among others. Mari Kodama’s Festival appearances include the Verbier Festival, Festival International de Piano La Roque d’Antheron, Aldeburgh Festival of Music, Mostly Mozart in New York City, Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival and Kissinger Sommer.
Through her performing activities, Mari Kodama has brought infrequently heard gems of the piano repertoire to global audiences. She has performed Stenhammer’s Piano Concerto No.2 in Gothenburg and New York and has also collaborated with Viviane Hagner on Alban Berg’s Chamber Concerto for Piano and Violin, which they performed with both the Jyväskylä Sinfonia and the DSO Berlin. Additionally, in 2013 Mari Kodama premiered Jean-Pascal Beinthus’ Double Piano Concerto together with Momo Kodama and Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo. Mari Kodama also performed in the Canadian premieres of Jörg Widmann’s Valse Bavaroise and Humoresken, both at the Canadian Orford Festival in summer 2010.
In addition to her performances, Mari Kodama also plays an active role as a music festival artistic director. She co-founded the Forest Hill Musical Days Festival, a chamber music festival in San Francisco, with her husband Kent Nagano, and she has also led the chamber music series at the Orford Music Festival. In 2018 she assumed artistic directorship at the Festival Tra Luce e Sogno in Postignano, Italy, for which she secured artists such as Christian Gerhaher, Matt Haimovitz and Gerold Huber, among others. Mari Kodama is a Steinway Artist.
“Intelligently measured power and passionate conviction.”