Kawai, Noriko


Noriko Kawai studied at the Royal College of Music, London and the Academia di Santa Cecilia in Rome. She has given many recitals and broadcasts throughout the world and is well known for the extraordinary range of her repertoire from Renaissance composers to new music, and innovative programmes juxtaposing standard and contemporary works.

Kawai has recently performed at festivals in Aldeburgh, Bath, Huddersfield, Macerata, Paris, Strasbourg, Brussels, Venice, Berlin and Valencia. She has given duo recitals with the violinist Irvine Arditti and concerts with the Leopold String Trio, the Arditti Quartet and the Quatuor Diotima.

For the NMC label Kawai has recorded works by Gerald Barry, and more recently James Dillon’s The Book of Elements Volumes I–V. The latter received unanimous critical acclaim including ‘Editor’s Choice’ in Gramophone (2004). Kawai’s earlier Skryabin recital CD from Live Notes, Japan, was also hailed as a major artistic achievement. In 2006, with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Ilan Volkov, she gave the world première of Dillon’s Piano Concerto at the BBC Proms.

Recent concerto engagements include the first performances of Dillon’s Andromeda, with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Ilan Volkov, in London (BBC Proms 06) and Glasgow, and Lachenmann’s Ausklang in ‘Transcendent – the Music of Helmut Lachenmann’ presented by the Royal College of Music and the London Sinfonietta. In the autumn of 2007 Kawai also gave the French première of Andromeda, with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège/Pascal Rophé, at the festival Musica in Strasbourg, and the first performances of Dillon’s duo for cello and piano, The Hesperides, with Rohan de Saram, at the festivals Ultima in Oslo, and Sound in North-east Scotland.

Noriko Kawai was formerly a Professor of Piano at the Royal College of Music, London and is currently Associate Professor of Collaborative Piano at the University of Minnesota.

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This complete premiere recording of James Dillon's technical and intellectual tour de force, the five volumes of The Book of Elements, is performed by Noriko Kawai, for whom Volume 2 was written.


"The book teems with subtle cross-references, like the sudden reappearance in the last volume of the amamzingly Debussian gesture that launched the whole cycle. There are other echoes, too, from Schumann, Bartok, even folk music and rock. It adds up to something rich, strange and utterly riveting. The recording is beautifully fine-grained and warm, and the performances from Noriko Kawai have just the right combination of cat-like energy and delicate inwardness."

BBC Music Magazine 2004


Recording date: 9-11 December 2003

Recording venue: Potton Hall, Suffolk

Engineer: Tryggvi Tryggvason 
Producer: Colin Matthews 
Editing & mastering: Marian Tryggvason

Cover image: Francois Hall

(P) 2004 NMC Recordings Ltd

Edition Peters
Catalogue number:
NMC D091
Release Date:
5 January 2004