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Michiaki Ueno

© Lydia Ramos

Michiaki Ueno

Michiaki Ueno’s eloquent performance and charisma spellbind the audience. He has been praised for his unique yet natural musicality and superlative technique. It is unsurprising that Yo-Yo Ma hailed him as a ‘fabulous cellist’.

Born in Paraguay in November 1995, Michiaki started his cello studies in Japan at the age of five. In 2001 he moved to Barcelona, where he studied with Iñaki Etxepare. After returning to Japan in 2004, he studied at the Toho Gakuen College Music Department, Soloist Diploma Course with a full scholarship under the tutelage of Hakuro Mohri. In 2015, he moved to Germany where he studied with Pieter Wispelwey at the Robert Schumann Hochschule Düsseldorf. Since 2021, he is an artist-in-residence at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in Belgium, where he studies with Gary Hoffman and Jeroen Reuling.

In 2007, at the age of eleven, he gave his first concerto performance at the prestigious Suntory Hall, playing the Lalo Cello Concerto. This later led to his success in becoming the first Japanese ever to win the International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians, in 2009 at the age of thirteen. A year later, he won First Prize in the Romanian International Music Competition along with the Romanian Embassy Prize and the Romanian Radio Culture Prize. He then received First Prize in the International Johannes Brahms Competition of 2014. His most recent title has been the first prize in the Geneva International Music Competition in 2021 along with three special awards, including the Young Audience Prize.

He has participated in several music festivals and seminars, including the Festival Pablo Casals in Prades, Verbier Festival, International Music Festival NIPPON, Takefu International Music Festival, International Musicians Seminar Prussia Cove, and Kronberg Academy. He has received masterclasses from Steven Isserlis, Frans Helmerson, Ivan Monighetti, Miklós Perényi and Jian Wang among many other great maestros.

As a soloist, he has performed with numerous orchestras, among them the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Gyeonggi Philharmonic Orchestra, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra and New Japan Philharmonic, under such leading conductors as Charles Dutoit and Sebastian Weigle. As a chamber musician, he has shared the platform with artists including Jean-Guihen Queyras, Daniel Sepec, José Gallardo, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi and Akiko Suwanai.

Michiaki has received numerous awards such as the Foundation for Youth Award (2011), the Honourable Award (2015) from the Iwatani Tokiko Foundation, and the Aoyama Music Prize (2017) as a promising rising star. He has been generously supported by the Japan Federation of Musicians, Rohm Music Foundation, Ezoe Memorial Recruit Foundation, Dr Sieghardt Rometsch Stiftung and Dr Carl Dörken Stiftung. Michiaki plays a Paolo Antonio Testore cello on loan from the Munetsugu Collection.

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