View performance video: Rebonds A by Iannis Xenakis
Percussionist and marimbist Ayano Kataoka is known for her brilliant and dynamic technique, as well as the unique elegance and artistry she brings to her performances. She has been a season artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center since 2006 when she was chosen as the first percussionist for the society’s prestigious residency program, The Bowers Program (formerly Chamber Music Society Two). A retrospective of her early life along with interviews and performances were featured on the CMS’ live stream program Artist Series in fall 2021.
Together with cellist Yo-Yo Ma at the American Museum of Natural History, Ms. Kataoka gave a world premiere of Bruce Adolphe's Self Comes to Mind for cello and two percussionists, based on a text by neuroscientist Antonio Damasio, and featuring interactive video images of brain scans triggered by the live music performance. She presented a solo recital as part of the prestigious B to C (Bach to Contemporary) recital series at the Tokyo Opera City Recital Hall, which was broadcast nationally on NHK, Japan's national public media station.
Other highlights include a performance of Steven Mackey’s Micro-Concerto for Percussion Solo and Chamber Ensemble at Alice Tully Hall, a theatrical performance of Stravinsky's Soldier's Tale at the 92nd Street Y with violinist Jaime Laredo and actors Alan Alda and Noah Wyle, and performances of Bartok's Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion at The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center with pianists Emanuel Ax and Yoko Nozaki. Her music festival appearances include Music@Menlo, Chamber Music Northwest, Yellow Barn, Lake Champlain, Caramoor, Bridgehampton, Skaneateles, Emerald City Music, ChamberFest West, and Salt Bay Chamberfest. Her performances can also be heard on Deutsche Grammophon, Naxos, Bridge, New World, Albany and Music@ Menlo LIVE recording labels.
Since 2013, Ms. Kataoka has toured in the U.S. and Mexico extensively as a percussionist for Cuatro Corridos, a chamber opera led by Grammy Award-winning soprano Susan Narucki and noted Mexican author Jorge Volpi that addresses human trafficking across the U.S.-Mexican border. The opera was presented as a special event at 2015 FIL/Guadalajara International Book Fair, the largest Spanish language book fair in the world. The 2016 recording of Cuatro Corridos on the Bridge Records label earned a 2017 Latin Grammy Nomination in the Best Contemporary Classical Composition category.
A leading proponent of contemporary repertoire, Ms. Kataoka has commissioned and/or premiered works for percussion by such composers as George Crumb, Martin Bresnick, Alejandro Viñao, James Wood, Paul Lansky, and Andy Akiho. She is particularly drawn to compositions that involve the whole person, using standard percussion instruments and unique musical materials along with spoken voice, singing, acting, and elegant props. She has given numerous performances and master classes throughout the U.S. and Canada as a member of the Sylvia Smith Percussion Duo featuring Stuart Saunders Smith's percussion/theatre music, at such educational institutions as the Eastman School of Music, Oberlin Conservatory, University of California San Diego, New York University, Stony Brook University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of North Texas, Bowling Green State University, and the University of British Columbia, among others. She also appeared as an onstage musician with a small acting part in the Yale Repertory Theater production of Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well.
A native of Japan, Ms. Kataoka began her marimba studies at age five, and percussion at fifteen. She started her performing career as a marimbist with a tour of China at the age of nine. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from the Tokyo University of the Arts, her Master of Music degree from the Peabody Conservatory, and her Artist Diploma degree from the Yale School of Music, where she studied with world-renowned marimba virtuoso Robert van Sice. She is currently a full professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Website: ayanokataoka.com