University of Massachusetts - Amherst
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 is currently Associate Professor of Percussion at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and 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 three-season residency program for emerging artists offering high-profile performance opportunities in collaboration with The Chamber Music Society. She gave a world premiere of Bruce Adolphe’s Self Comes to Mind for cello and two percussionists with cellist Yo-Yo Ma at the American Museum of Natural History in 2009. She presented a solo recital at Tokyo Opera City Recital Hall which was broadcast on NHK, the national public station of Japan. Other highlights of her performances include 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 a performance of Bartok’s Sonata for Two Pianos and percussion at Alice Tully Hall with pianist Emanuel Ax. Her performances can be also heard on the Deutsche Grammophon, Naxos, New World, Bridge, New Focus, and Albany 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 recording of Cuatro Corridos on the Bridge Records label has earned a 2017 Latin Grammy Nomination in the Best Contemporary Classical Composition category.
A leading proponent of contemporary repertoire, Ms. Kataoka has participated in several consortiums to commission works for solo marimba or chamber ensemble from such composers as Paul Lansky, James Wood, Alejandro Viñao, and Lukas Ligeti. 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 featuring Stuart Saunders Smith’s percussion/theatre music. 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 received her artist diploma degree from Yale School of Music, where she studied with marimba virtuoso Robert van Sice.