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Kei Koito

Organist Kei Koito has combined performance, scholarship, and pedagogy in a career that has stretched across several decades. She is a professor of organ at the Lausanne University of Music. Koito was born in Kyoto, Japan, on January 4, 1950. From age six, she took lessons on piano, harpsichord, cello, and voice, making enough progress on the piano that she was able to play Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37, with the Yokohama City Orchestra as a teen. She played cello in the orchestra of Yokohama's Hiranuma College (a high school). At age 12, she added organ lessons to the mix, and by 16, she was convinced she wanted to make the organ a career. She attended the University of Fine Arts & Music in Tokyo (Tokyo Geijutsu Daigaku), studying musical aesthetics and general philosophy while taking organ lessons, first in Tokyo with Mitchio Akimoto and later with Pierre Segond in Geneva, Xavier Darasse in Toulouse, France, and Luigi Ferdinando Tagliavini in Freiburg, Germany. Koito earned a master's degree at the Geneva Conservatory, winning prizes at graduation, including the First Prize of Organ Virtuosity with distinction, Improvisation and Basso Continuo, and the Otto Barblan Prize for the best interpretation of J.S. Bach. Koito's career has been similarly varied. She has performed on the organ in Europe, the U.S., and Japan, and collaborated with the Musica Antiqua Köln under Reinhard Goebel (with whom she had studied earlier) in performances of Handel's organ concertos. For the first part of her career, she also performed contemporary organ music by Karlheinz Stockhausen and other composers. Koito has researched the relationship between Bach's organ music and that of his contemporaries, and in 1992, she joined the music faculty at Lausanne University in France, where she has intentionally sought out an international group of students. Koito has recorded for Claves, Harmonia Mundi, and other labels, frequently appearing on year-end best lists and winning other honors, focusing mostly on Bach. In 2019, she released the album Back to Bach, performing on the organ of the Martinikerk Groningen in the Netherlands.
© James Manheim /TiVo
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Discography

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