Born in Tokyo, Japan in 1978, Kaori Muraji received her first lessons on the guitar from her father Noboru Muraji at the age of three. At the age of ten, she continued her studies with the renowned guitarist Shinichi Fukuda. She won the top prize at the 1989 Junior Guitar Contest, and was the winner of the Student Guitar Competition in two consecutive years 1989 and 1991. She was the youngest ever student to win the Leo Brouwer International Guitar Concours and Tokyo International Guitar Concours in 1992.
In 1993, Ms. Muraji gave her debut recital at Tsuda Hall in Tokyo, which was soon followed by the release of her debut CD “Espressivo”. Her orchestra debut came in 1994 with the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, and in 1995 she was selected as soloist to tour with the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI on its Japan tour. In May of that year, the same orchestra invited Ms. Muraji to join them in one of their subscription concerts in Turin. The concert, which was broadcasted on TV throughout Europe, marked Ms. Muraji’s European debut.
Ms. Muraji continued her musical education, and in 1997 went to study under Albert Ponce at Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris. In 1999, she had the extraordinary opportunity to perform for the legendary Joaquin Rodrigo, playing two of his compositions, Tiento antigno and En los trigales.
With her graduation from Ecole Normale that year, she returned to Japan to pursue her solo career, yet her international reputation continued to flourish. In 2001, Ms. Muraji performed for the first time with the Orquesta de Camara Joaquin Rodrigo in Valencia, Spain. In May of the following year, she toured Japan with the same ensemble as part of the centennial celebration of Rodrigo’s birth. She again joined the Vogler Quartet on their Japan tour in February of 2003.
In the summer of 2004, Kaori Muraji toured in Japan with Jose Maria Gallardo Del Rey. In December, she performed the Japan premiere of Lorenzo Palomo’s Nocturnos de Andalucia with Maestro Rafael Fruehbbeck de Burgos conducting the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra Tokyo.
She has a serene, yet evocative style of playing that seems full of emotion and passion. A great way to start the week.
Spanish Dances: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2z2VnuzYW4
Fantasia para un Gentilhombre: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTrNs9HOIwU
Notturno No. 2, Chopin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foul5rTtRpE
Here there and everywhere: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5eHLAACzcs
Tears in heaven: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ry23Xm1WNH4
Recuerdos De La Alhambra: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXRFm1AZIkA
Medley from - New Cinema Paradise: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAaIiQeh9iU
Concerto De Aranjuez: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7_GzPsguzk
Etude No. 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=js6YF25ISOo
Over the rainbow: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mKn2M99sRY
The fool on the hill: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Y3T5wB0UAM
Tango en skai: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJONmetWr8c
Because one of her favorite guitarist/composers is Joaquin Rodrigo, I suggest a Spanish wine. I uncorked just the ticket this weekend, namely a bottle of the 2007 Vall Llach Embriux (pronounced “Embroosh”; $24.00) from Spain’s Priorat region. This is my favorite Spanish wine, witnessed by the fact that I buy it by the case. This deep ruby red wine is primarily Garnacha accented by touches of Cariñena grapes and opens with aromas of blueberries, black raspberries, and exotic spices. It’s taste is complex following aroma, but adding flavors of chocolate, plum, and boysenberries with soft tannins. It’s a wonderful wine to enjoy with the music of a stellar guitarist.