Momo Kodama's international upbringing is reflected in her musical choices, particularly marrying the music of France with that of Japan. Both Momo and her sister Mari were born in Osaka, but raised in Europe, where they studied piano with Germaine Mounier at the Paris Conservatoire. When Momo won the 1991 Munich Competition, she was its youngest winner to date. Kodama began establishing her concert career with the leading orchestra of Japan: the NHK Symphony, the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony, and the New Japan Philharmonic. She has since appeared with several well-respected European orchestras and conductors, as well as in Israel, Brazil, and the United States. Kodama's repertoire includes much of the modern French literature for piano. She frequently performs the music of Messiaen, having been encouraged by Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen, who requested that she and Isabelle Faust premiere Messiaen's 1933 Fantaisie pour violon et piano, which had never been publically performed. Kodama commissioned Toshio Hosokawa to write Stunden Blumen (2008) using the same instrumentation as Messiaen's Quatuor pour la fin du temps. She, Xavier Phillips, Carolin Widmann, and Jörg Widmann performed both at the Lucerne Festival and elsewhere. Jörg Widmann has also written music for her, as has Ichiro Nodaira. Other musicians she's performed with include violinists Christian Tetzlaff and Renaud Capuçon, cellists Steven Isserlis and Rohan de Saram, and her sister, Mari. Her first commercial recording was a Debussy program, released in 2002, followed by one of Chopin in 2003. In 2012, ECM released her recording La Vallée des Cloches, featuring the music of Ravel, Messiaen, and Takemitsu.
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Classical - Released October 28, 2013 | ECM New Series
Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Choc de Classica - Hi-Res Audio
For this 2013 release on ECM New Series, Momo Kodama has selected three works that demonstrate the piano's potential for atmosphere and scene painting, qualities dear to French and Japanese composers. Maurice Ravel's Miroirs, Toru Takemitsu's Rain-Tree Sketch, and Olivier Messiaen's La fauvette des jardins are evocative compositions that summon up extramusical images and natural sounds, depicted somewhat impressionistically through the crystalline timbres available on the piano. By titling the album after Ravel's La vallée des cloches, the fifth piece in Miroirs, a subtle connection seems to be drawn through the bell-like chords that are found in all three works. Though these pieces' styles are quite different, they share the piano's ringing sonorities as important coloristic devices. Kodama is a sensitive performer with a profound sense for nuances and shading, so it is natural for her to be drawn to these composers, whose music is well-suited to her refined artistry. In a more extroverted pianist's hands this program wouldn't be nearly as effective as it is, yet Kodama's introspective approach makes it hold together admirably. © TiVo