April 6 to 13, 2020
CRR de Versailles
Born in Saitama in Japan, she spent her childhood in Abu Dhabi, and at the age of 9 was invited to Paris to play in front of Olivier Messiaen. From then on, she became the youngest disciple of Yvonne Loriod, winning several competitions for young talents. She participated in television programmes in France and Japan such as "A private lesson with Yvonne Loriod" broadcasted on FR3 or "Play Chopin" on NHK, before joining the Paris Conservatory in the class of Michel Béroff at 15 years old. Graduating three years later with her First Prizes in piano and chamber music, she left to deepen her passion for studying different European piano schools and perfected with Christine Paraschos, Lev Naumov, Vitaly Margulis, György Sebök , Pier Narciso Masi, Vincenzo Balzani and Clive Britton. She moved to Florence in 1997 and completed her training by immersing herself in the Italian piano school as well as in art history.
Growing up in a multicultural environment gave her an important open-mindedness from an early age and led her to interpret a vast repertoire, varied in eras and styles. However, 19th century romantic literature remains her favorite repertoire, especially the works of Robert Schumann and she won the Clara Schumann International Piano Competition in Düsseldorf in 1994, where she received encouragement from Martha Argerich, and the Robert Schumann International Competition in Zwickau in 1996.
Kei Saotome has so far performed in Europe, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, Central America, China and Japan, taking parts in musical seasons and festivals such as "Virtuoses of the Year 2000" where she was awarded the Prize for the best interpretation, Arabesque Festival - Alexandre III Bridge in St Petersburg, Brahms Festival in Hamburg, Schlern International Music Festival, Schlossfestspiele in Leipzig, Dragonfly International Music Festival in Tianjin (China), in recital, in chamber music or with orchestra as soloist in particular with the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra or National Chamber Orchestra of Armenia, in prestigious stages like the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Salle Gaveau, Sala Verdi in Milan, Teatro Comunale in Florence, Conservatory Tchaikovsky in Moscow, Saint Petersburg Philharmonic, Warsaw Philharmonic, Bunka Kaikan or Casals Hall in Tokyo, Kennedy Center in Washington…
She regularly gives masterclasses in piano and chamber music around the world (Academia Internacional de Música - Colima 2019 at the Colima University Institute of Fine Arts in Mexico, Dragonfly International Music Academy in China, VCU Global Summer Institute in Richmond in the United States among the most recent), and is invited as a jury to the international piano and chamber music competitions in France and Italy. In 2019, she founded "Saitama no natsu Music Academy" in Saitama, in order to offer her native city the authentic riches of European culture through a series of concerts, master classes, seminars, exhibitions and conferences.
She is currently a piano teacher at the CRR de Versailles Grand Parc.
In October 2017, she gave a gala concert for the benefit of the French Cancer Institute in Yerevan, accompanied by the National Chamber Orchestra of Armenia and focused on supporting the development of cancer treatments in Armenia.
She recorded the Chopin and Brahms Sonatas for the Italian record company Phoenix Classics.