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Chihiro Saito (Cello)

Chihiro SAITO, cellist of the Lotus String Quartet founded in Japan and long since based in Germany with ongoing concert activities throughout Europe, has been performing not only with her string quartet, but in recent years has also become active as an increasingly noteworthy soloist who plays on both the modern cello as well the Baroque cello. With her performance of solo cello recitals in Tokyo and Osaka called the 'The Evolution of Violoncello' to popular acclaim in February 2011, Ms Saito has been gaining increased attention as a Japanese cellist active in Europe.

Chihiro Saito graduated from the high school and college of the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. As a student, she received the Ataka Award. She was also awarded at the Music Competition of Japan, the Takarazuka Vega Music Competition as well as the Japan Chamber Music Competition. Having been awarded a scholarship from the Yasuda Quality of Life Cultural Foundation, she studied for a master of arts degree (KA) as well as soloist and chamber music courses at the Staatliche Hochschule fr Musik und Darstellende Kunst Stuttgart, and also studied baroque cello at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Frankfurt am Main under Kristin von der Golz.

As a member of the Lotus String Quartet founded in 1992, Ms Saito participated in the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition, the Gian Battista Viotti International Music Competition, the Association of Arts and Culture of the German Economy at the Federation of German Industries in Munich (Der Kulturkreis der deutschen Wirtschaft im BDI), the Premio Paolo Borciani International String Quartet Competition as well as the London International String Quartet Competition, where the quartet received awards including the Menuhin Prize and a special prize for best interpretation of a new composition by Luciano Berio.

CD recordings by the Lotus String Quartet include the string quartet works by Mozart as well as Japanese composers released world-wide on the Warner/Teldec label, and the complete Schumann quartets released on the LIVE NOTES Nami Records label, which won a top award at the 2006 arts festival of the Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan.

In addition to an extensive programme of concerts in major cities throughout Germany including Berlin, Hamburg, Düsseldorf and Köln, Ms Saito has also performed throughout Europe including England, France, Holland, Ireland, Finland, Switzerland and Spain, as well as at various festivals including the Festival Luzern, the Rheingau Musik Festival, the Davos Festival, the Schleswig-Holstein-Musikfestival, the Braunschweig Kammermusikpodium, the Schwetzinger Festspiele, Mozart-Fest Wrzburg, and other well-known music festivals throughout Europe. Her performances have had numerous radio and television broadcasts on SWR and ZDF of Germany, ORF of Austria, DSR of Switzerland and the BBC of the United Kingdom.

Ms Saito received additional exposure with her appearance in a documentary film of composer Helmut Lachenmann, which was filmed at the 2005 Festival Luzern and broadcast worldwide. Among those who have performed with Chihiro Saito include members of the Melos Quartet, Wolfgang Boettcher, Paul Meyer, Martin Frost, Eduard Brunner. As a soloist, Ms Saito has performed with the Orchestra of Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, the Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra, the Stuttgarter Philharmoniker and the Stuttgarter Kammerorchester.

Ms Saito has studied under Reine Flachot and Peter Buck, and has attended master classes by David Geringas, Daniel Shafran, Philippe Muller. With regard to her study of string quartet performance, she has received the tutelage the Amadeus Quartet, the Melos Quartet, Rainer Schmidt of the Hagen Quartet, Walter Levin of the LaSalle Quartet and Valentin Erben of the Alban Berg Quartet.


July 2012

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